Saturday, May 14, 2016

Response to an author - There are no short cuts

I made a comment over on Facebook a couple of days ago and had an author respond with something I wanted to extend on. This author noted that he was taking the self-publishing approach because no agent would consider a 200,000 word novel. When I see authors make comments like this, it further supports the need for knowing your market and the business you are working in.

This author has this belief that agents (and I am sure editors) have a personal "beef" against large projects. The reality is that it isn't those doing the work beforehand, it is the consumer. There are very few readers out there who would have a desire to pick up a 200,000 word manuscript. This is both for the time needed to invest in such a reading endeavor, but also for financial reasons. A) This WILL take time and energy to get through; and B) if you consider a normal 100,000 word manuscript will go for $7.99, then basic math says we will be looking at a $15+ expense. While that might not seem like much, readers will often go for the cheaper of the books.

Now, before I go any further, let me note that YES, there are authors out there who have been writing books of this length. How do they get away with it? They already have an audience. They have a buy in. They have a platform. For new authors, unless your story is that big of a "WOW! NOTHING LIKE THIS HAS EVER BEEN WRITTEN BEFORE" type of book, you will not find that success.

When we also consider the approach this author is taking, we see that he is doing what so many other authors are doing. Self-publishing is a "fall back" position when the book has failed taking other approaches. Instead of studying those responses and really taking a critical look at why the book failed the first time around, the author simply throws a story out there for self-publishing, only to wonder why it is now not selling.

Again, let me state that I am, in no way, saying self-publishing is not a viable option. But if you are using it because agents and editors will not take a book that doesn't fit with the market, this might not be the best approach.

In reality, the best approach is to learn the market and do it right!  

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