We are no different than they are. As time straddled onward, more and more platforms such as CreateSpace and BookBaby made it so easy to self-publish a book that soon, more and more individuals chose to use self-published books as a means to promote their services (unlike this one, though not much different either) or their expertise.
Making A Living
When I became a Life Coach in 2010, I struggled gathering a clientele base. So, I did what most people do when trying to understand the way something works: I went online and searched for answers. What I found was utterly and pragmatically hardwired for failure. This may seem cumbersome and without threat, but the truth is that this advice unquestionably hinders self-published authors trying to make a living off of writing – not marketing themselves but rather, being creative and hoping to make a hard-earned buck off of it. This caused market saturation, as more and more of these self-published atrocities made it onto Amazon, then into Barnes & Noble’s, and the chain of pointless marketing endeavors slowly but surely coalesces into a single mainframe.
Market saturation occurs when a given industry is flooded with too much of the same thing, and in this case, self-publishing became a means to an end: to shamelessly promote oneself as a professional using a medium once reserved only for those of you who are like I am: a creative and talented writer without a clue as to why no one is buying their books. That is why these authors often succeed: they put so much out there that eventually, something gives and their other works are read. And yet, with subtlety, it has been made to sound so simple.
“1) Find your niche market…”
“2) Write a marketing plan…”
“3) Price your book and sell it…”
Too Good To Be True
Yeah, that all sounds great if you have a clear-cut demographic in mind. A cook book is a lot easier to sell than a novel based on a narrative and equally-abstract concept such as a plot. If you are working with non-fiction, you are going to find it relatively easy to market your book, and though this does not guarantee its success, it does put you at an advantage. But if you are like me and you prefer to write and self-publish stories, the words: “target demographic” or “niche market” can sound almost punitive in nature and complex in act. It is like trying to “Find Waldo” but there is no Waldo here. In other words…
How am I supposed to know who I am selling to if I feel, in all honesty, that every market would benefit from my entertaining story? Though this may sound a bit unprofessional, the reality is that there is no clear-cut marketing tactic for either non-fiction or fiction. As self-publishers, we seem to be given what is a plethora of the same falsified information over and over again (find a market, and sell to it…though there is a lot of in-between parts I am sure I am missing, you get the gist). And this information is the reason why most self-published novels make less than $100 a year in sales: it is not because it is a failing industry. It’s bad books!
In fact, Amazon reported that 40 percent of its overall eBook sales went to self-published works. Not surprisingly, most of them were categorized as self-help. So why are we struggling to make sales? It is because we are all relying on the same sinful clusterfuck of useless information that is reserved for books and novels that actually have a demographic to begin with. Sure, you can claim that a horror book’s primary demographic or “niche market” can be based on market research, but face facts: books that succeed are books that get lucky, and no amount of marketing or PPC advertising can change that.
Let’s settle it here and now before we get too far into this. You can either trust me with the truth, or fall victim to the information you have probably already come across (otherwise this would not have been located in the first place) that may work, and may make sales, but is tantamount to pulling the pin off of a grenade and then trying to guess how long the fuse time is before you throw it: it will be painful for you, and will lead to damage to oneself and others. Perhaps we need to take a lesson from the marijuana industry and realize that it is not a matter of quality anymore, but unlike them it is also not a matter of making a clean sale. It is about knowing something was accomplished here, and we need to also realize that rather than lower our prices to gain clients or customers, we need to look at things differently, and change our outlook.
So, the following is an unfortunate truth you will just have to accept.
[What do you feel about most self-published works being self-help? Does that deter you?]