Success with eBooks? Lightning strikes where it will.
Meteorologists will tell you that lightning bolts strike for a reason. Let me pull back the curtain of misinformation and tell you about some of those reasons.
John Locke -
Every struggling eWriter would like his success. He wrote a book on how to copy his plan for success. It cost $5 for an ebook and $10 for print -- it was 170 pages.
After the scandal, he now sells the ebook version for $3. What scandal?
He bought 300 reviews for $6000 from Todd Rutherford's now defunct review mill. Can you imagine the impact on YOUR book if within days 300 copies sold, each receiving a glowing review?
E.L. James -
Fifty Shades of Grey, which began as self-published Twilight fan fiction but wound up making 2012 so bountiful for Random House that it gave a $5,000 bonus to each employee.
She rode the coat-tails of TWILIGHT buzz with kinky sex scenes.
Fifty Shades, which some have taken to be the definitive evidence in favor of self-publishing, is more accurately a demonstration of the opposite:
The book became a massive commercial success only after Random House got involved, placing giant stacks of paperbacks in bookstores everywhere and buying huge ads in the London Underground.
Amanda Hocking -
The 26-year-old Minnesotan who worked days at an assisted-living facility, grossed about $2 million on ebooks in a little over a year with her paranormal romances and zombie novels for young adults.
She was one of the first to capitalize on twitter connections but now Twitter is a hailstorm of sad pleas for you to buy their books.
Hugh Howey -
The 36 year old college drop-out, while working at a bookstore in Boone, North Carolina, started writing a series of sci-fi novellas called Wool.
His stories were set in a postapocalyptic world where all human survivors live in an underground silo, a microsociety where resources are so scarce that one person has to die before another can be born.
He decided to put out the new books himself, selling digital downloads and print editions through Amazon. In the first six months he sold 14,000 copies. Each new installment met with immediate enthusiasm. Within hours he’d receive emails from readers hungry for more.
By January of last year, agents were calling Howey, looking to publish the books through more established channels, but he was reluctant. At that point, the Wool series was already making him close to $12,000 a month.
Nelson Literary Agency founder Kristin Nelson won Howey over when she admitted that she wasn’t sure traditional publishing could offer him anything better than what he was doing on his own.
By May, Wool was bringing in $130,000 a month, and Howey and Nelson had sold the film option to 20th Century Fox and Ridley Scott. A couple of publishers made seven-figure offers for the rights to sell the book in hardcover, paperback, and ebook, but Howey and Nelson turned them down. He’d make that much in a year of digital sales alone.
Howey had discovered the NEXT BIG THING: serials.
Amazon smelling profits began their own serial program. But now the Gatekeepers are back. Like Samuel Goldwyn, they want "the same thing -- only different." They will accept Romancerotica and Same Old Thrillers but little else.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO?
1) You position yourself for success --
You do Yeoman Work, pun intended of course. :-)
Yeoman refers chiefly to a free man owning his own farm, especially from the Elizabethan era to the 17th century.
Work requiring a great deal of effort or labour, such as would be done by a yeoman farmer, came to be described as yeoman's work. Thus yeoman work became associated with hard, dedicated toil.
Day, week, month, year out you write ... as best as you can, editing your work as best you can.
2) You submit your work
to magazines, anthologies, getting your work and name out there like Milo James Fowler.
3) You ePublish the best product you can, as many titles as you can.
The worst nightmare of a salesman is having a hot brand and no product to sell. If a reader is wowed by you -- you want him to be able to go and buy more titles of yours. FIFTY SHADES OF GREY had three titles from which to reap the profits.
4) You throw out the most alluring hook you can --
Make your title teasing. Make your cover gorgeous (both in thumbnail and full). The title and cover are what will make the eReader pause and consider your book.
5) Bring as many fellow authors with you as you can.
Alex Cavanaugh excels at this. Is there a profit in this for you? Life is not all about profit. Sometimes it's just about enjoying the journey. And good friends make for a better ride, right?
6) You look for that new way to get your eBook out there.
If a new twist to publishing your book occurs to you, try it. If it fails, then you've learned a method that doesn't work.
Keep thinking of what would startle you into buying a stranger's book. One day, you or I will come up with that magic way. Bet on it.