Friday, October 19, 2012

How to Sell a Billion Books and Be Queen of the World

Tip of the Day: Tired of political ads? Me too. DVR everything from now through the election and fast-forward through the commercials.

Maybe I'm crazy (which is likely), but I've decided that magic is the deciding factor in best-selling books. Yes, there are marketing techniques that can help and yes, your book better be good, but seriously, look at the bestsellers. What makes them better than you?

Typos Clearly Will Kill a Book's Success

I've seen ebook bestsellers (and, no, I'm not naming names because that's rude) that are riddled with typos. Some are so bad, I wanted to throw my precious iPad against the wall. Some indie authors clearly don't know the difference between your and you're, and they're, there, and their, much less where to place a comma or even a period. Yet sometimes those books hit BIG.

They Appeal to a Wide Audience

Where did the 50 Shades audience come from? Seriously? Where? I know there are a gajillion people who read erotica, but I've seen a lot of them bemoan 50 Shades. I was at my local park district, hanging out while my son was at his gymnastics lessons, and some gnarly old lady was sitting on the couch next to me, reading 50 Shades. Her lips were moving along. I couldn't help but wondering if she was mouthing 'ball cock.' Gross.

The Book is High Concept

How are vampiers in love considered high concept? People acted like they'd never heard of sexy vampires before Twilight came out. Am I the only one who watched The Lost Boys? Could Jason Patric and Jamie Gertz have been any hotter?

I could go on and on, but I'm sick (again, or still, depending on who you ask), so I don't wanna. I'm going to sum up.

You cannot predict a book's success. You could write the most beautiful book in the world and it might languish like a pile of overlooked dog poo in the backyard. No one noticed it, so no one cares. All you can do is continue to write what you love. Publish the books that mean something to you. If your only goal in writing is to be the most famous author in the universe, then you're clearly on the wrong path. Very few authors become mega-famous. It's the luck of the draw.

Let's go back to Twilight for a sec. I'm the first one to admit I loooooved this series. I plowed through the first three books in one week. I am also the first to admit that I threw Breaking Dawn against the wall when I finished it (hardcover, yes, but at least it wasn't my iPad). The ending drove me mad. Soooo glad they're supposedly changing the ending of the movie. ;) But there was something about the books, despite Bella's neediness, and Edward's stalker behavior, and Jacob's love for Renesmee. There are more things I despise about the books than I like. Yet, I Could. Not. Put. Them. Down.

Explain that to me. And when you do, surely we will have discovered the key to selling a billion books and becoming Queen of the World.

So to the 20-or-so people who email, FB, tweet me every week, asking what my secret is, I'm telling you right now that I don't know the secret. If I did, my name would be on the NY Times bestseller list. But I'd bet that even if you asked those authors, they don't know either. They're holding their breath, hoping it doesn't magically dry up. Because, yes, the magic goes both ways. It can propel you and it can tear you down.

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

1 comment:

DeenaML said...

You are right. It is magic. It is the only thing that makes sense for real! And I think you're right, the best-selling authors would agree with us (for the most part).