Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Selling books

Over on Murderati J.D. Rhoades articulates very well some questions I've always had about mid-list writers promoting themselves. I don't have any answers and I haven't even figured out how I really feel about the matter but J.D. does set a person to thinking. Here's an excerpt:

"...But I think the point's still valid: you may sell some books through the kind of marketing "everybody says" you have to do. But I really don't think that the people who make blockbusters blockbusters are buying books because they saw a trailer, or even because they saw a website.

"I know this sounds like heresy. But I think we here at Murderati, and all of us folks who frequent the book blogs, are a bit of a skewed sample. Most of us are not only hard-core book geeks, we also probably spend a lot of time on the Internet.

"But here's something I've noticed. A lot of the biggest readers I know, including mystery readers, don't spend a lot of time Web-surfing, and those that do aren't hitting the book sites. My in-laws are voracious readers, and they don't even have a computer (which gives them more time to read). Several of my colleagues in the law biz read a lot, and I can't remember a single one of them telling me they bought a book because they saw a trailer for it on YouTube or stumbled across the author's website. I know I've sold some books via people I've met on Facebook, and a few due to the blogging I do, but none of those sales were enough to kick me up to the bestseller lists. And while there have been a couple of times I'd have had to take off my shoes and socks to count the number of books I've sold at bookstore events, more often than not I can just use the fingers of one hand. There have only been a couple times when the sales themselves justified the cost of the gas."

For the complete piece go here:

1 comment:

Dave Zeltserman said...

I agree with JD. Books become bestsellers because they get ordered by the Walmarts and Targets of the world, not because of anything we do on the Internet, and our time is better served trying to write books that can end up in Walmarts and targets than in worrying about making a trailer or any of the other things that us writers tend to spend time on.