So, am I allowed to disagree with the eBook, Indie guru J.A. Konrath? After all, he’s made it, I haven’t. He has been prolific over many years (40 some books?), I’ve written two books. He has a long stretch of experience that has yielded extraordinary amounts of acclaim, money, and reputation. I feel as though I might be cast down into the hellfire–but here goes anyway.
Yesterday, in the excitement of tonight’s release of Darkin 2, I was perusing Lindsay Buroker’s blog for something to learn. I am always trying to learn more about self-pubbing, promotion, and making it as an Indie Author. One of her most popular posts is called 7 Reasons You’re Not Selling Many eBooks. In her post, she links to what she calls possibly the most important article by J.A. Konrath for aspiring Indie Authors. That post is found here: What Works: Promo for Ebooks.
This is what, at the end of Lindsay’s post, sent me along to J.A.’s article:
Update: JA Konrath (bazillionaire traditionally published author turned indie) wrote up What Works: Promo for Ebooks last week, and it’s the most useful post I’ve seen on his blog. It also makes me feel terribly unoriginal for mentioning Outliers. Ah, well. The post is definitely worth a read!
So, being the most useful post on his blog, I jumped on over. It was, in fact, a very insightful, and useful blog post. It only half serves the fledgling author though, in my opinion. Okay, it might even be damaging for the success of an early Indie writer such as myself, if I followed his advice. Lindsay gleans more from it as she herself is already well-established. Both of them have put in many long, hard hours to achieve the success they have (don’t get me wrong, so have we). Despite his overwhelming, god-like success, here’s where I completely disagree with J.A. Konrath:
In fact, doing that could actually harm you. In that spirit, here are some things that I don’t believe work.
1. Advertising. Joe’s First Rule of Marketing is: Only do things that work on you.
I have never bought an ebook because I saw a Facebook ad, a Google ad, a print ad, or any kind of ad.
You see, these are what J.A. Konrath calls the updated rules of the Indie Publishing Scene. I believe these are the cushioned perspectives of one who has long since been required to generate a reader-base. I think there should be a preface: “Not for Those Just Starting Out.” Konrath also goes on to point out that luck plays a big role. He admits that hard work reduces luck, but that it plays a big role in our success. I even sound similar in my post about the Three Obstacles for Indie Authors. So why do I disagree with J.A. Konrath on his point about advertising so much?
1. Advertising: We desperately need it as fledgling writers. In fact, before I advertised my epic fantasy book Darkin, in the span of a year, I sold maybe forty copies. Mind you, I wasn’t promoting the book except to friends and family–in other words, no advertising. Recently, I watched the most inspirational movie ever (for me), called Indie Game: The Movie. While it focuses upon Indie game designers, I found it very much a motivator–a huge one. I never watch documentaries twice, not in the same year anyway. I listened to this movie in the background while I worked on drawings I loved it so much. If you want to relate to the others who experience horrible emotions we go through as Indie artists, do yourself a favor and watch this movie. Anyway, before I am too far off-topic: I decided to promote my book through advertising after watching the movie and getting deeply inspired. The results? I moved nearly 2,000 copies of the first book in my saga. But more importantly than that, what I cherish most, and what will make me continue to pursue my dreams more fervently than ever, was this email I received from a fan who picked up my book, due to my advertising efforts (a reader I would have never reached otherwise):
I am very much enjoying your book, Darkin, and had hoped to find a continuation of the story in another book or two. I did find an old kickstarter and was wondering if you were considering starting this up again. I would be happy to become a supporter.
Just want to send you a quick note and let you know that you have my support and that your writing is brilliant.
Wow, what a great email to receive. The intangible effects of advertising, along with the practical, make it a no-brainer for anyone but authors who’ve “arrived” already. They’re out of touch with the early struggle. They’ve been there but they have forgetten.