Image via CrunchBaseHow on earth am I going to stand out, and bring my work to the notice of readers? The thought does occur: are there more than 68,200 readers out there ready to purchase and read my novels and short stories?
How on earth can any writer seem special, or worthy of note among this competition? There must be a number of ways.
One can have outstanding book covers. A good book cover sells itself. There is much written about colour, size, typography, illustration, layout and meaning of book covers. Reading up on that aspect is important, and should be a major consideration on the part of anyone producing a book: author or publisher.
One can devise a brilliant marketing plan. Raising awareness of one's book is a major task, which is time-consuming, sometimes baffling, and always exhausting. Before marketing, of course, a writer ought to identify the market. Isolating the people most likely to want to buy and read a book is not an easy task, but it is possible, and should be undertaken early - perhaps even before the book reaches the final production stages.
The writing must be good. No question about this - it's got to be invisible: conveying the content - whether it is fact or fiction - in a seamless error-free way. It ought to pack punch, show style, experience, knowledge. It ought to shine in form and content. Not easy at all, but some authors manage. There is a wealth of excellent writing out there, and many readers have found it. Whether we can continue to improve and achieve is a question of effort, striving for improvement and putting in the hard miles.
And then there is the question of quantity - in my mind, one of the most important factors in the life of a writer. One must keep producing material for an audience that seems to latch onto the work of a particular author, once they have liked one example of their work. 'Gee, I could not put this thriller down. I must find more by this author.' The search is on. Any writer is expected to turn out more than just one book. Being a one-book wonder is every author's fear. Publishers do not like one-book wonders, and that is the first question they ask when wooed by a new author: is there more where this came from?
Being a special writer means all this and more: but the last facet is the most important. It is much easier to market nine books than it is to publicize and promote just one. The books of any one author seem to sell each other. A reader browsing for material clicks on the author's name more often than we tend to guess. Authors' names are important, because they are like brands - readers go back for more of the same if they like what they read.
Write more: that seems to be the ticket. If you want to be a special writer, you need to be a prolific one. It is probably more useful to write the next book than to chase the publicity and promotion wagon. It all starts on the next page, doesn't it?
If you are a reader, please tell me if you seek books by writers whose one example you read was pleasing. If you are an author, let me know if you are seriously pursuing inspiration and material for that next title.