A Novelist’s Anguished Cry—Can You Help?

by | Dec 3, 2018

As regular readers know, I often promote marketing and platform-building training tools and resources.

I do this partly because I know from experience that understanding how online marketing works will make it possible for more authors to make a living from their writing.

This is also part of my own business, since I earn commissions from the providers of these tools when one of my readers makes a purchase.

But what about authors who aren’t trying to make money from their work but still have a burning design to have their books widely read?

What do you do then?

Here’s a note I received recently from David Gierke, an author who, on my recommendation, looked into both Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula (PLF) and Nick Stephenson’s Your First 10,000 Readers.

These are both excellent training programs that I’m proud to promote because I know that for the right person, they can be life-changing.

PLF is really intended for people who want to start an online business, whether it’s book publishing or something else, and it requires a pretty high level of commitment to achieve the kind of success that’s possible.

Your First 10,000 Readers is squarely aimed at indie writers, but learning how to attract and engage an audience also takes quite a commitment in time, energy, and finances to really be profitable.

The Other Authors

What about the other authors, the ones who have no interest in starting a publishing business, may not even have another book to write, and don’t have the time, money, or enthusiasm for the details?

Here’s David’s note:

Joel,

I stopped watching [Jeff Walker’s] third lesson after he trashed writing books for minuscule profit, instead suggesting that we sell some course (etc.) after the book has been published, indicating that that was where the “real money” resided.

As a first-time, one-book (biographical novel) author, who is not interested in making “real money” or furthering my career, but only that my work gets read, I’m afraid that Mr. Walker falls into the Nick Stevenson mold of selling books. Unfortunately, I don’t have a “magnet book” to give away to “prime the pump” in terms of establishing my “platform”. Even if I had an extensive list, what am I going to sell these people other than my one book?

My goal is to sell my one book, which required seven years to write and two years to edit and format, made available through Ingram Spark and the usual vendors.

I’m afraid I have wasted another four or five hours of my time.

C. David Gierke

P.S. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no answer to my dilemma. First-book indie authors, writing fiction, are screwed in terms of having their work read by the multitudes.

{If you are curious, you can find David’s books here: To Caress the Air: Augustus Herring and the Dawn of Flight (Book 1 & 2).)

I get a variation of David’s question every week. Other authors stuck in the dilemma of wanting a readership but not really fitting into the mold of the entrepreneurial author that’s so widely promoted online.

We can’t repeal the laws of marketing, either. You’ll still need to find a way to get your book in front of audiences who are most likely to be interested in it.

But we also can’t mandate that every author who wants to be read turn into a social media and marketing dynamo, either. So sending them to learn from successful authors like Stephenson or Joanna Penn or Mark Dawson isn’t going to help either.

I confess I don’t have lots of good answers to this question, so I ask you:

What can these authors do?

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