Book Marketing 101 – Don’t Write Crap!

The best way to sell your book…in three easy steps.

Write more books. 

Seriously. That’s the way to do it. Many experts say so. I didn’t believe them when I first read their advice, but turns out, they were right!

I’ve sold triple the number of books with two books published than I did with one, and this is BEFORE I put one of them for free to attract readers. Now – my sales figures aren’t anything to write home about, but I’m doing better than I was a few months ago. I think 3 books out will have the same effect and maybe a little snowball will form at the top of a hill.

Write more books. Sell more books. I advocate writing outside your series if you have one of those, short stories or a novella. Variety is the spice of life, and people like having choices and options. They may buy into the big series more readily if you have a short story out there that’s a good sample of your voice and style. Note I haven’t gotten around to following my own advice there, but I will soon.

Don’t write crap. 

I’m not suggesting you throw up just anything to increase the number of stories you have, because crap won’t sell the next book. In fact, it’ll have the opposite effect. Crap will get your name ruined. The buying public will see the crap, remember the crap, and will avoid it forever more. As well they should. With all the Indie publishing going on, and no quality control, the general public is having to sort through a lot of books. Fortunately, reviews are a reasonably accurate way to divide the wheat from the chaff. You need a few good reviews from readers you aren’t related to in any way to prove you haven’t written a load of it. Crap, that is.

Finish what you start. 

I despise writers who make me wait too long for the next book in a series. Hate them with a passion, I do. Okay, not really, but I did give up on George R. R. Martin for that very reason. I made a commitment to his story, knew it was going to be big, and then he made me wait years! for this last book, A Dance with Dragons. I was really looking forward to it. I went to the bookstore frequently and asked after this book pretty much the entirety of 2010, but then, finally,  I gave up. Sorry, I don’t have time for that kind of waiting game. Probably won’t go back to it, and definitely won’t until ALL the books are out. I may not go back to it ever, and that is something as a writer you probably want to avoid. Unless I’m at death’s door the way Stephen King was during the publication of the Dark Tower series, I will not be pulling that kind of years-long delay in pushing out the books of my series.

There are some important reasons why it’s a terrible idea, like forcing people to go back and reread the whole thing because it’s been so long since the last book came out. In the case of GRRM, his books are entirely too long for me to remember quite a few of the details. His books are too long to attempt re-reading. People are busy. Writers should respect that people are busy. Writers should not assume that people will remember every single detail from one book to the next, because guess what? They don’t. Making sure the series is published in a timely manner makes it easier for your readers to recall those details and they will be less likely to move on without you. If you have an awesome idea for a series and have the first few books written or planned out, make sure you can follow through to the end. The final words of my series – “Well,” she said. “Now it all makes sense.” Proof that the thing is actually written in a book called King and a promise that it will indeed come to an end in the not too distant future. I have a high level of confidence you’ll be able to remember the salient points from book #1 by the time you’re on the last story.

Follow through. Finish what you start. Write more. Don’t write crap. I’ll be able in a few short months to report on whether or not my theories are true after Telepath comes out. I hope I’m right, but if not, I’ll examine my three rules and make sure I’m not breaking them and keep at it. Oh, that’s the fourth rule.



Filed under Publishing, Reading habits, writing

15 responses to “Book Marketing 101 – Don’t Write Crap!

  1. Krysykat

    I love how you say don’t write crap and there is a picture of Snooki’s book 🙂
    Happy Holidays!! (entering for the Holiday Hopy)


  2. Nice post, Jolea! I need to add you to my RSS feeds list. I see you follow my writing mentors, Kris & Dean – any chance I’ll see you at one of their workshops in Oregon next year? (I’ve been going to them since 2002!)

    I hope you’re having a fantastic holiday season (that’s my Holiday Hop entry) and that we also see each other at a Styx show (or 10!) in the new year! (I was so bummed the new DVD wasn’t available for Xmas!)


    • Hey Dayle! Nice to see you in these parts. I do follow Kris and Dean, but the workshop is doubtful. One day when I have money. If you want to know, your advice to check them out led me on the road I’m on right now with two books published! Thanks for stopping in and Happy Holidays to you too! Oh and yes, I can’t wait for the Styx DVD. That show was too incredible and I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

  3. Shadow

    Hi! Merry Christmas! I like your post! Very honest and to the point. Nice! 🙂 Thank you for the wonderful holiday hop giveaway! Such awesome prizes. Happy holidays!

  4. Meghan Page

    Great post!! Some really logical, in your face advice that’s practical but not pushy 🙂 Thanks so much!

    meghan_L_P at hotmail dot com

    and thanks for the holiday hop, you have awesome prizes too!

  5. teressa oliver

    I wouldn’t say your writing is crap,lol. Good luck with the sales and keep the stories coming. And thanks for the Holiday hop giveaway
    mustangtollie at hotmail dot com

  6. booksaver

    I think we have all probably picked up books to read in the past where we couldn’t finish the book because it wasn’t worth reading. It’s really hard for me not to finish a book, it’s a pet peeve of mine to finish anything I start but I have made exceptions in the past and given books away to people who might enjoy them. Everyone has different tastes and what I might like, someone else might think it was crap. And vice versa.

    Linda Henderson
    seriousreader at live dot com

    • Oh I’ve definitely put books aside that I couldn’t finish, but not because they were poorly written, just that they weren’t my thing. There’s a big difference. Writing is art and art is subjective. Thanks for your comment!

  7. A good honest post Jolea, thank you and good luck. And just a thought, if your theories work out, you could write a book about them and sell that!

    • another enjoyable post full of great honest and helpful advice, I can understand you theory about more books = more sales, If you only write one book people may think “Why bother getting to know the characters if we’ll never see them again.” And I also agree with the not waiting to long to release the sequels idea – One of my pet peeves is I get invested in a book then go to read #2 and discover it isn’t available for like another 2 or 3 years if ever, I know you’ve said you’re planning on releasing the full guardians series within the next few years and I THINK I can wait it out….Maybe!

      Best of luck as always with your sales I hope they continue to increase for you.

      • Waiting for the next book in a series that doesn’t get published for years on end is a major pet peeve! If I keep putting each book out every three months, and I’m well on track to manage that, you won’t be waiting a couple years. Thanks Matt!

    • Now there’s a thought! I hope my theories work out to that degree! We shall see. Thanks for your comment!

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