Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ads in books?

Writers are already appalled at the prospect of ads in books, but it is as inevitable as rain.

As soon as the dream of making riches as a writer fades from public consciousness (and Stephen King quits featuring bestselling writers as characters), then only a peculiar, suspect group will still be writing. For every Joe Konrath, there are 100,000 people selling a book a week or one a month. I have books ranked all up and down the scale so I have a pretty good idea of what a ranking equals in total sales. The trouble is that right now 100,000 people are reading Konrath and thinking that's going to be them.

Honestly, all those who fear the indie onslaught just need to wait a few years. 10 million slush manuscripts will be pulled from the drawer and sell nothing. Trend over.

About the same number of writers will be making a living then as now. But some of them will be different writers. Some of them will be selling ads. Some of them will do whatever it takes to be a writer and make it work. I went three years with no book deals. I lost faith in the system but never myself, and I wrote some of the best books of my life on only the dimmest of prospects. My best-selling book was never meant to be published. It was survival. I survived.

I just picture those Soviet dissidents in Siberia, scrawling classics on frozen animal skins in beet juice. Renoir, crippled with arthritis, his legacy made, but still cranking them out from his wheelchair. Socrates drinking poison instead of pleasing the crowd.

Instead of saying I will never do something, I now say "What hasn't been created yet, and how can I get to it first, and how can we share it?"

If you're interested in talking with me about promoting in books, drop me an email at hauntedcomputerbooks at Yahoo and let's brainstorm, or kick it around in the comments.


Brenda said...

Hey Scott,
My daughter and I got my husband a Kindle for his birthday. Of course, we get to share it with him. I'm enjoying reading Disintegration on it right now. This is amazing writing. Great writing like this sells once you get the word out. I'm wondering if advertisers will come around like agents do on ebooks. They might show up once an author is successful enough not to need them. I think the way to be a Konrath or a Nicholson is to write long enough that you know exactly what you're doing and to write a lot of well written books. That way you have plenty of "inventory" to sell and voracious readers have a number of wonderful "products" to choose from. I think your Kindle giveaway blog tour was a great way to promote your books. Plus, your website is always interesting and has something to offer. I'm working on a website, but need to make a lot more decisions as to what will make it worth someone's time to come to it. So many authors offer their books as prizes, that it seems like most readers ignore those offers, including me. Now we have a Kindle, I think 99 cent books are a great way to take a chance on a new author. Do you think new authors who put their first book on Kindle for free for a limited time are getting their name out there or making a huge mistake? I'm working to have at least two books ready to put out there at once. I can see that you need a marketing plan in place ahead of time. I've been studying your plan, Konrath's marketing plan, and other indie author's plans who have done well and are willing to share. I like the Kindle giveaways, and the ARCs with reviews ready to go once your books is officially released. Actually, I just stopped by to say "hi" but it's nice to brainstorm.

author Scott Nicholson said...

Hey, Brenda, glad you came by. However it takes to get books out there is the way to go. I think free books are the future but not right now--right now, free books make you look worthless (though it's fine to do a promo sampler or limited giveaway--I just have rarely seen it build audience).

By all means, copy every plan out there and also come up with your own. We each run our won industries. And thanks for the kind words on Disintegration.