Many writers if they are steady and can survive to write enough will through effort, work and luck capture the national psyche. This is usually an accident where something written happens to click so well in the market place at exactly the right time that it spreads easily and enjoys monumental sales.
Three examples I recall include JK Rowling (Harry Potter), Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code) and James Redfield (The Celestine Prophesy). They built a huge almost overnight readership with a great book and good luck.
are great writers and tapped into…
the national psyche.
Yet in the competitive virtual world we have today we need more than luck to build a readership. Even if you write a great book, the idea of going viral or having a million copy viral seller is warm and fuzzy but the odds are remote.
The proof of the odds can be seen in the book written by J.K. Rowling who wrote her latest book “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” under the pen name Robert Galbraith. She did so to be able to write and be “published without hype or expectation”.
Even though, as Galbraith, she and her agents knew all there was to publishing a book, she sold a modest 1,500 copies from the launch in April 2013 into July.
Then one of Rowing’s attorneys told a trusted friend who told another friend who immediately tweeted the world.
Only after it was revealed that “The Cuckoo’s Calling” was written by Rowling did most of the big publishing players who had originally failed to review the book take a second look and say they’re impressed. This week The Cuckoo’s Calling is #1 on the Best Seller List.
Other best selling authors have also proven this point. Stephen King for example was worried that his successes had more to do with his early success than his actual talent. To find out he wrote a number of books as Richard Bachman. None were major hits. Only after his pen name was uncovered did they enjoy better sales.
Were Rowling and King’s pseudonym written books good? Yep.
Did Rowling and King and their publishing team know how the publishing system works? Yep.
Yet these books were not great viral hits.
The only author I know who has been able to understand the national psyche is James Patterson. He is a great writer and has market research skills gained when he worked at J. Walter Thompson. He rose from junior copywriter to become the CEO of their North American operations.
He loved writing more than advertising guess and how his novels account for one in 17 of all hardcover novels sold in the United States!
I have lucked out twice in this way on a minor scale, yet these two publications generated more revenue than all my other publications combined.
The key though is not to try hitting the national psyche. Instead, if you love writing or the idea of writing, learn how to make a decent income from writing. This income will keep you going so that along this enjoyable path that helps you hit a viral success.
This is why we teach how to monetize publications to create an income path using the Seven Ps in our write to sell course (Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher) and Writer’s Camps.
One of the Ps is a Prospecting Path. The Kindle Direct Publishing Select system can be an excellent prospecting path.
A reader asked about this when she wrote: Hi Gary, Enjoyed your article regarding Kindle Direct Publishing. You mentioned that there is a 70% royalty return to authors. The service currently offers two royalty options: 1) author keeps 35%, no delivery costs, no compulsory book lending, may be sold in any country without altering royalty. Author may choose to price book at any price. .99 – $199; 2) 70% royalty. Author pays a delivery fee for EACH book. There is a list of countries for which author reaps 70%, while Amazon may lower royalty and book prices in other countries. With this option they require author agreement on book lending.Amazon may add restrictions or conditions to author regarding book sales. Author MUST price book between $2.99-$9.99.
I was wondering if you had considered BOTH options prior to your selection of the 70%. It would be interesting to read your analysis of these two programs offered to e-authors. BEST WISHES.
One sure and steady way to earn a growing income is to use Amazon.com and other e-reader distribution systems to collect a group of like minded souls.
My recommendation is to write a first publication as a prospecting tool rather than an income generator in a three step approach.
#1: Write the first publication as a give away. Do not worry much about the royalty. Do not expect the book to be a great income generator. See this first effort as a step in the process of getting paid a little to build a readership of like minded souls. If it goes viral… great. Just do not expect or count on such a fortuitous reaction.
#2: Price the publication a little higher rather than lower. The higher price is not for a a higher royalty, but to create a higher perceived value for the information you publish.
#3: Use the Kindle Direct Publishing Select system to offer this book free.
There are very specific rules Amazon requires, and if we do want to offer the free trial it’s a 90-day commitment.
Here’s the summary:
1. Exclusivity: While ebooks are enrolled in KDP Select, Amazon demands exclusive publishing rights. Ebooks enrolled in KDP Select must not be for sale or given away anywhere else online or offline. Amazon is really strict on this – you can’t even give away review copies.
2. A ninety-day cycle: Ebooks are enrolled to KDP Select for 90 days. After 90 days, you choose whether or not to re-enroll for another 90 days.
3. A lending library: Amazon Prime customers can borrow one ebook a month for free. If you enroll in KDP Select, your eBook is one of the titles Prime customers can borrow. You get paid when someone borrows your book. The amount varies, but it’s typically around one or two dollars.
4. Free promotions: For each 90 day cycle, you have up to five days where you can give away your eBook for free. You control which five days these are.
5. Publishing on Kindle: What does it mean to publish exclusively on Kindle?
When you choose to enroll your book in KDP Select, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP. During the period of exclusivity, you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format other than digital.
See the KDP Select Terms and Conditions for more information.
Turn your passion into profit. If your passion is writing or if you have a passion you want to write about, then you should begin building a readership of like minded souls. Feed this community… your own unique community… with a continual flow of useful and interesting information that makes their lives better.
This is a solid path to creating extra income for a better retirement.
James Patterson shared the importance of loving what you do when speaking at a dinner to celebrate him. The New York Times article James Patterson Inc. tells what Patterson said at the dinner: Patterson then proceeded to tell one of his favorite stories about his mother’s father, who drove a frozen-foods truck in Upstate New York. During the summer, Patterson said, he would occasionally get up at 4 in the morning to ride along with him. As they drove over a mountain toward his first delivery, Patterson’s grandfather, an irrepressibly joyful man, would be singing at the top of his lungs.
“One day he said to me: ‘Jim, I don’t care what you do when you grow up. I don’t care if you drive a truck like I do, or if you become the president. Just remember that when you go over the mountain to work in the morning, you’ve got to be singing,’ ” Patterson went on. “Well, I am.”
Learn how to Write to sell with our Online Course Self fulfilled How to be a Writer“.
Get the online course free now when you enroll in Writers Camp to learn how to use all seven Ps to create a revenue stream.