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Welcome to the longest-running* yet least-read** blog on the internet! Here you'll find me writing about all the things that I write about, which strikes me, just now, as somewhat recursive. In any case, enjoy :)

* not true ** probably true

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dear My Own Brain

Dear My Own Brain,

As a self-published writer who hopes one day to make a living from his writing, I find myself with the unenviable task of having to get you to believe two very nearly contradictory things at the same time:

  • Sales don't matter. Only the work at hand matters.
  • In order to reach my goals, I need to think not only 'artistically' but in business terms.
Now look: I know you can't think both ways at once. Last time I tried, you gave me a migraine. So you'll have to switch back and forth. At the moment you seem to be stuck on the business end of things. I blame it on reading Joe Konrath's blog, so no more of that for at least a week. The comments there suck you in, and you want to compose scintillating arguments rather that scintillating prose.

The unanswerable question that you can't seem to leave alone at the moment is 'when/how do I reach the tipping point?' By tipping point of course you mean the level of sales that generate more sales simply because of the sales already being generated. It's a chicken & egg thing, Brain. The answer is unknowable until it happens.

The single biggest thing a writer can do to boost sales is to release more great titles. This has been proven over and over. Part of it has to do with algorithms at the various retailers, Brain, and part because if someone likes what the read of yours, odds are they'll go looking for more stuff of yours. But there are a whole host of other factors that play in as well. Genre. Price. Cover image. Blurb. You know this. Why are you obsessing? Just. Stop.

You've got half a dozen stories that need some forward motion. Go obsess over them. 


Deborah Walker said...

Get out that dirty dozen.

Have you experimented with freebies, Michael? I know some of my writer friends have. Some see an uplift in sales after the freebie.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

words I need to listen to. Thanks

Michael McClung said...

Deborah- I've got a long-running experiment with freebies, actually. I think I'll talk about that in another post :)

Gary- I just wish I'd listen to my own advice :D

Deborah Walker said...