This is an Evil Cody post where my evil twin challenges conventional wisdom and tell’s you why it’s wrong.
If you’ve spent any amount of time reading about publishing, then you’ve likely heard the sentiment, “You must build your platform!” Conventional wisdom would say this is true, but conventional wisdom is wrong.
Where did this myth get started?
It’s very (very, very) easy to assume that I’m selling a crapload of ebooks because I’m a midlist author with some books in print and a fanbase.
“It’s easy to take that assumption further, and predict that an unknown wouldn’t do as well.
“Quite a few people are assuming this. They’re claiming it as truth, repeating it, agreeing with it, and accepting it.
“But it just ain’t true.” -Joe Konrath, A Newibie’s Guide to Publishing: Platform, Shmatform
Let’s look at the publishing industry today. Most major publishers will spend very little effort marketing your book unless you are already well known, or unless they are certain your book will be a success.
Because of this, traditional publishers look for writers who are already marketing themselves. They look for writers with a platform. This way the publisher can spend minimal effort marketing their writers and glean maximum reward.
Why this thought process is false…
In a recent survey I conducted on how readers find the books they purchase, random browsing accounted for nearly half of all purchases …The implication of this finding is that even if you’re not yet a name brand author, and even if your marketing is weak, if you write a great book and make it discoverable, some of these random browsers will find you.” -Mark Coker, “The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success“
First, you should know that a platform isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Actively marketing yourself and your work can potentially benefit your book sales, it just happens to not be nearly as important as it for self published authors as it is for traditionally published authors, and I’ll tell you why.
A huge percentage of writers shop for their next read by browsing bookstores and virtual shelves, according to Mark Coker, that number is over 50%.
Instead of focusing all this extra effort writing a blog, guest posting, and generally marketing your ass off, use your book retail sites algorithms to your advantage by utilizing these simple elements effectively…
Good meta data. That’s right, the way you describe your book to online market place algorithms is a major factor in book sales and should not be overlooked. Meta data is the way the book is categorized, and all those little details go a long way into influencing your sales.
A great book cover. It’s true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we all do. Especially if its really bad, like the majority of self published books. It should also look good as a thumbnail.
Editing. Word of mouth it the greatest catalyst in making an unknown book a success. Typo’s, grammar mistakes, and misspellings draw readers out of the world of the story, for many readers spoiling the book all together.
A damn good book. Just writing a good book won’t insure your success, but writing a bad one will ensure your failure. And you know what, that’s the way it should be. Write well, give people a sample chapter, and if they like it, they buy it. If they love it, they tell their friends.
Platforms have their use, and can be a great resource, but many writers have successfully self published without them. If you need to prioritize your time, focus your efforts writing the best book you can.
Agree? Disagree? Leave your comments below!