Discoverability and Why “Just Write More” Doesn’t Work

My friend RJ from eBooksHabit contacted me offering to write a guest post, which I thought was a great idea (because clearly I don’t post enough here and could definitely use some great content for you all).

And since he’s a genius when it comes to marketing his own books, I was very interested to hear what he had to say regarding helping us to sell more books.

I hope you find it really useful!

Take it away, RJ …

~~~

just write more Discoverability and Why Just Write More Doesnt WorkYou’ve written a book and you’ve published it online.

You may have written several books and self-published them all.

Your books are not selling, yet some guru is telling you to “Just write more.”

The problem is, if no one can find your current books, what makes you think that by just writing more, people will start finding your books? Yes, by having more books out there you slightly increase the chances of readers finding your book. But, without the proper promotion of your books, your books will not be discovered.

Discoverability
The Internet has revolutionized many industries. The publishing industry has also been revolutionized, thanks to the Internet. Anyone can publish an ebook or even a print-on-demand paperback, for free or for very little up front costs.

In years past, self-publishing was an extremely expensive endeavor just to get the actual content published, yet many of these self-published books suffered the same fate that many self-published ebook authors are now facing… no one could find their book.

With an ever-increasing amount of ebooks on the market, the ability to simply be discovered lessens each day, especially for the person who does nothing about it. If you want people to find your books, then you need to make it happen.

Marketing Doesn’t Just Happen

Writers: What if I told you that I want to write a book (you know, since everyone has a book in ‘em). My first step will be to sit down at the computer. Then, I will open Word… … … … … … Why hasn’t my book been written? I opened Word. Should I open another instance of Word? Let’s try that… … … Hmmm, this book isn’t being written. Maybe I should try to open Scrivener… … … … Why isn’t this book being written?! I keep opening my writing software and nothing is happening.

Wouldn’t you think I was nuts for thinking that by just opening the software, the book would somehow write itself?

That’s just crazy talk!

Why do you think by just hitting “Publish”, your book will somehow sell itself?

That’s just crazy talk!

The Need To Promote Your Books

My friend Frasier Cain once said, “The key to being successful is to make a product and to tell people about it.” (A paraphrase, but that’s the gist of it.) If you’re an author, you have done the first step and that is to create the product. Now, you need to tell people about your product.

You need to find your future fans and tell them about your books.

Who are your fans? Who would want to read your book?

Once you have figured that out, you need to find out where they hang out online.

What blogs do they read? What forums do they chat on? What social media pages, hashtags, networks, etc. do they use?

Once you have figured that out, then you need to go to those places and you need to tell them about your book.

Just like writing a good story or a solid informational book is hard work, marketing your book is hard work as well.

Simply writing a book or writing more and more books, won’t help people to find your books. You need to find your fans and introduce them to your books. That is the essence of marketing.

But, (Insert Guru) Said I Should Just Keep Writing

The problem with gurus is that they can often become jaded and they do not always remember the work they had to put in, in the beginning of their careers, that got them to where they are today.

Their marketing plans are different these days, and once you build up a solid fan base like they have, you can begin marketing more like the gurus and less like I have described in this article. Until then, you’re going to have to do a different kind of marketing and promotion.

Once you have that strong fan base built up, they will do a lot of the work for you! They will be excited to tell people about your newest book. At that point, simply writing more is a good, solid part of an overall marketing strategy. People will already know you and want your books. These gurus are still doing marketing, they are just doing it in a different way, which requires less work than it takes in the beginning. They utilize their mailing lists, their Facebook fans, their Twitter followers, other author’s blogs (because those other authors actually know who the guru is, and they don’t mind promoting them). They are still doing marketing for their books, even if they subscribe to a “Just write more.” philosophy, they are just doing it in a different way.

No one starts at this level. If no one knows who you are, then sending out Facebook messages, some tweets or emailing your 10 fans (well, 11 if you count your Mom) just won’t cut it. People need to discover you and your books, and if your books are good then people will want more. That is the time when you “just write more”.

Until you get to that point, just writing more books will not help you to build a fan base.

You need your books to be discovered and you need to take an active role in making that happen.

That role is as a marketer.

It’s time you step into that role, so that when you do write more, your new books can enjoy much more success than they would if you kept using “just write more” as your marketing strategy.

R.J. Adams runs eBooksHabit.com, a website dedicated to helping authors promote their ebooks. If your book is going to be free or at a reduced price, please let us know and we will try to feature your book to help with your promotion.

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the opportunity Tracey!

    I hate to see people’s books just sitting there not selling… books that I know those people put a lot of work into.

  2. “Once you have figured that out, then you need to go to those places and you need to tell them about your book.” I would also add that you first should become a part of the community and after a while, when they know you, you can promote your own staff. On some forums it is counted as very bad form if your first post is some sort of self-promotion. SY

  3. ProfessionalWriter says:

    I don’t believe I have ever seen a post that I so vehemently disagree with as much as this one. Spammers are not writers. And vice-verse. I don’t do social media. I WRITE MORE. And it has paid off in droves.

    Spamming (i.e. marketing) will KILL your career before it ever takes off. It tries to make up for shoddy writing by spam and annoyance. Your reputation will be decimated if you pursue that course.

    Please leave the marketers to their spam and the writers to their prose. One group are parasites, liars and snake oil salesmen. The other group actually produce something: entertainment value (i.e. producing)

    • You’re right… spamming will kill a career.

      Spamming is not marketing… it is, well, spamming.

      Book publishers (and every single business ever) engage in marketing. This blog by Tracey is a form of marketing. It is a much more subtle act of marketing, but do not doubt for a minute that it is marketing. Almost every author that you have heard of for the past few decades, you know their name because of marketing… plain and simple. You would not know of their books, you would not know of their name, they would not exist to you, had it not been for marketing. Sure, you may have stumbled on a book in a bookstore, but how do you think the book got there? Before Amazon, it was simply impractical for a bookstore to feature every book that exists. They had to pick and choose? How do you think they learned about certain books and not others? Marketing. The publisher marketed the books to the regional merchandising reps for the books for the major book stores, and the regional merchandising reps chose the ones that appealed to them most, that they could stock, and most importantly, the ones they heard about (through marketing from the publishers).

      If a writer just wants to write, I’m all for it. If they want to be a publisher (a major part of the word self-publisher), then they need to take on the role of being a publisher, and marketing is one of those roles.

      You’ve never told anyone at all about your book? That is very hard to believe.

      If you have told someone about your book, that is marketing. You can dress it up with another fancy word, but it’s marketing. It’s not spamming, which clearly shows that marketing is NOT spamming. It is marketing.

      We have no way to verify your claims that simply writing more has paid off in droves, since you have chosen to remain anonymous. If you do some Googling of every single one of the top 100 books on Amazon, both self-published and traditionally published, every single one of those books is there because of marketing. If you make enough for yourself, that is fine. If you want to take your writing efforts to a whole other level? Then you’re going to have to tell people about your book… and that, as stated before, is marketing.

      Take care.

  4. Sorry I didn’t get around to approving your comments earlier, I only just noticed they were pending! Good points.

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