First thing's first: I'm skeptical of self-help books. I read a lot of them and often find that they're filled with a lot of motivational, anecdotal fluff. I'm not sure about you, reader, but that's not what I want in a self-help book. I want advice and information that can be put to use as soon as I set the book down.
For writers looking to speed up the writing process, this is that book. And what's better? It's part of a series of helpful books on writing and the business of writing.
Why Read this Book?
Every author wants to release their book into the world. In fact, 81% of Americans believe they have a book in them. People have many reasons for not actually writing that book; illness, careers, writer's block, you name it. For those who do squeeze in the time to write, it can be hard to write as much as desired.
Imagine finishing that book and either querying agents or self-publishing only to find... Holy crap. No one wants to read my book.
Your book could be awesome! It could be well-written, follow every trope in the world, and be in an unsaturated and marketable genre.
But if you don't know what readers want, it probably won't do well.
… If you don't have an on-market book cover, it probably won't do well.
… If you publish at the wrong time of year or too infrequently, it probably won't do well.
… If you write an amazing novel but fail at writing book descriptions, it probably won't do well.
There are so many things that factor into a book's success. I know I wish I'd read Chris Fox's Write to Market before I self-published my first novel, If I Let You Go. While I got a lot of things right without knowing it, I got a lot wrong.
So what did I get wrong? (This list is not exhaustive):
This book cover is amazing, but it's not to market. Best-selling indie dystopian sci-fi have very distinct book covers. They always feature people (often without showing their faces) and burning buildings/otherwise decimated landscapes. When I asked people what genre they thought my book was, they weren't sure. Dystopian? Thriller? Are they zombies?
Writing in the dystopian or post-apocalyptic markets right now is a waste of time unless you're treating your novel as a side (passion) project. These genres are so saturated with traditional and indie books and people are buying them up like crazy. "But, Ashley," you might say, "I want to write for a marketable genre!"
Let's put this in perspective: Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven is #100 in the post-apocalyptic fiction best-seller category on Amazon. Her overall Kindle rank is #6,982. She's doing very well! According to Kindlepreneur's Best Seller Calculator, she's selling 22 E-books per day.
The second Emily slips out of the Top 100, her sales will slide. Why? Well, what's book #101? I don't even know. There's no way to tell. You lose a lot of exposure when you can't sell enough books to make the Top 100, and making that list is super crazy difficult for most. But it all depends on the genres you're in.
Chris explains this better than I do.
My description wasn't to market for a long time. It's probably still not perfect, but it's an improvement.
I truly don't know indie post-apocalyptic fiction tropes because I don't read indie post-apoc. My readers love what I've done (you guys are the best), but they tell me it's different than what's out there. I don't have a backlist and haven't published the sequels, so most indie readers aren't going to jump at the book. I'll do better as I become more prolific, but even then... Readers have expectations, and I can't stray too far from them. Right now, I'm straddling the line out of sheer luck.
A Whole Series on Writing
Chris Fox has written a whole series of useful books on writing. They're short and to the point so you can get straight to work without wasting time.
These books aren't just for indie writers. Some of the information applies to traditional writers, too. If you aren't writing a book a publisher thinks will sell well under current market conditions, you aren't going to get that book deal until the market changes. If the market changes.
Writing is an art, but most of us want our work to be seen. Understanding writing from a business perspective is so important.
The information contained in Chris' series is crucial for any writer to know, and I highly encourage reading these books! Oftentimes, what you don't know as a writer is what will hurt you.
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