Friday, April 24, 2020

Writing: Make Your Book Stand Out

What's the competition like? The figures change, depending on your source and the time frame, but the one that sticks with me is that there are something like a million new books published every year. Of course, some of these are laughably amateurish offerings. Others are from well-recognized authors or excellent debut offerings, whether they are are put out by recognized publishers or self-published. So what can you do to make the average reader want to choose your book?

If you started reading this piece with the goal of finding that bit of advice that will make your book an instant success and get it on the best-seller list immediately, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. The best advice is, and always has been, to write the best possible book. That way, when someone sees your name on an offering, they will want to see if it lives up to the reputation you've already established. If so, they'll want to read it. But what if you're a debut author?

That's more difficult, because you don't have a following already. And that's why authors are constantly encouraged to establish a social media presence, even before their first book is ever published. That way, you've got a small (but hopefully vocal and/or influential) group of people ready to see what your new book looks like. And once it's out, you can start...writing the best possible book (again). In other words, word-of-mouth is the best advertising. It always has been, always will be. Anything else--giveaways, launch parties, skywriting, or what have you--is aimed at association in the minds of the reading public of your name and a good book. You never stop those least, not if you want your public behind you.

What's your opinion?


Priscilla Bettis said...

Well, as a yet-unpublished author, I have a blog and post reviews like crazy on Amazon (and Bookbub and BandN). That's it for my social media presence. I like the skywriting idea, heehee.:-) But yeah, word-of-mouth in conjunction with a great book has got to be the best advertisement there is.

Patricia Bradley said...

Word of mouth is the best advertising you can get! Coincidentally, I had just finished a post on the subject of releasing a book! lol And what Priscilla is doing will make it easier for her to reach her readers when her book is published!

Richard Mabry said...

When I first heard from Jim Bell that word-of-mouth is the best advertising, my reaction was, "Yeah, right!" But since I've been at this for a while (longer than I should, I sometimes think), I realize it's true. BTW, notice how Jim no longer has been launches--he depends on word-of-mouth and a few well-timed posts on Twitter. Hmmm.

Priscilla Bettis said...

Thank you, Patricia.

Richard, I was wondering how I discover new books, and I can think of two ways. I visit book-reviewers' blogs (especially those in my preferred genres), and I get targeted ads from Amazon and Bookbub and Simon-n-Schuster.

Richard Mabry said...

Priscilla, those are two good ways. Others are recommendations from your friends and fellow readers, Facebook posts that sound interesting, and (shudder) giveaways on some of the sites you enjoy that promote an interesting book.