It seems to take an eternity to go from dream to book. I have ideas that float around in my head and never seem to navigate as far as the page, even to sketch the primary components. Others sit in loose outline form in a file on my computer, and still others, few though they are, have made it to Amazon.
For me, the hard part truly begins once the book is out there. You look at this picture, this meme, this almost-accurate graphic, and you see “Book” sitting on an iceberg, and although the reader boat is in the vicinity, it’s heading the wrong way. Smart sailing. No boat wants to collide with an iceberg. Somehow, you have to change the image to that of a welcoming tropical island. After all, islands go just as deep.
Folks who are great at marketing know how to make their books appeal to readers. They know how to have the palm tree fronds waving in the breeze, and the smell of tropical fruit and pig roasts and frosty coconut drinks with little umbrellas wafting over the ocean to entice that little boat in. And considering that there are far more writers competing for a only a handful of readers these days, that’s exactly what we need–a big ol’ continuous luau that’s bigger and better than everyone else’s.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been reading David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible and learning about Amazon’s lists and how to get on them, and about categories and key words, and all these other things that have been vaguely mentioned sometime or other in my past, while I was trying to learn how to write. I truly believe that writers conferences do their members a grave disservice when they don’t offer more comprehensive courses on marketing, promoting, and playing the game of internet distribution. Many authors will never find their books inside a physical store, so internet distribution is the only way they can go–which is hardly a bad thing, considering that only through the World Wide Web can they hope to attain world-wide sales.
But it’s so complex and complicated, it seems, and time consuming. You really have to stay on top of things. Gaughran even suggested running your key words through Google’s key word search to see if they’re popular. Well, he admitted getting the idea from Joanna Penn–and who doesn’t get ideas from her? But it’s all like turning “Hit or Miss” into a precise science. First, you must understand Amazon’s algorithms, then if you have the right category lists and if you have the right key words and if you have enough sales and if you have enough reviews, you might land on one of Amazon’s coveted lists and might even be poked up to the top of the list of other books whose authors didn’t know the correct formula to get theirs noticed. And if you are truly lucky and trade winds blow in your favor, you might get to stay on the lists for a while.
Well, I’m belly-aching. Groaning and complaining because I really do hate this part. True, most of this falls on my publisher’s shoulders. All I have to do is continue promoting my books so their manipulations of Amazon’s quirks will work in my favor. Play my role in the hit-or-miss science of marketing and promotions.
There’s another meme floating around Amazon–one I’ve seen a thousand times, but can’t find it now that I need it. It says, “All I really want is coffee and a million dollars.”
Yes. Oh, yes. I’d down the coffee and buy myself a market/promotion/publicist expert.