Category Archives: Sales

Respect the Reader

Part of a writer’s responsibility is to read. A lot, both in and outside the chosen genre.

Many have suggested that a writer should include published books similar to their own when querying agents and publishers. This helps the agent/publisher determine where the prospective book belongs on the bookstore shelf (or online category).

Along with researching agents, I’ve also been researching books in my chosen genre, so I can pick a few likely candidates similar to mine.

I found one that looked promising. Before I purchase any book, I look at the reviews, usually the negative, or more critical ones, and see if it’s worth my time and money.

The critical reviews of this particular book were few and far between, but what concerned me was one of the author’s responses:

Considering that the eight novel series has sold more than twenty million copies in 13 languages, and was praised as “Landmark Science Fiction” by Publishers Weekly and Locus Magazine, I suppose Chris and I were probably doing something a little bit right.

No one likes to be criticized, and this is especially true of writers. We are a sensitive lot. Because we pour so much of our heart and soul into our writing, it’s difficult not to bristle at harsh criticism. Lashing out at it is a near insatiable temptation.

But writers must refrain, and approach criticism with a rational and humble attitude. There is but one reason we must do so:

We write not for ourselves alone, but for the reader. Readers are the ultimate decider in an author’s success or failure. Without them, an author can’t succeed. Their opinion matters. Sure, not all criticism should carry such weight that the author must change how or what he/she writes, because not all readers share the same opinions about what’s good writing and/or storytelling.

It’s a matter of respect. The author’s response above was a figurative slap across the reader’s face. It shows both a lack of respect, and an arrogance. The author basically said the reader’s opinion wasn’t worth a fly’s poop, and worse, he accused the reader of not knowing what he was talking about; that he was stupid.

If it were me, I would have either not responded or said something like, “I’m sorry you didn’t like it as much as you expected. I hope that you’ll give my subsequent books a chance.” I would then offer them a coupon or free sample of the next book with the request for another honest review.

As a reader, I would not only gain more respect for the author, but would also take him/her up on the offer. And if I do like the next book, the author will have gained a loyal reader. Even if I don’t like the next book, I’d more likely try a third time if for no other reason than the author cared enough to appreciate my opinion, and responded positively to it (even if the author didn’t necessarily agree with it).

Because of the author’s response to the review, I didn’t purchase the book. Nor will I consider buying any of his others; I don’t care how good they are. No author who holds their readers in contempt deserves my money.

Show off

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.

Matthew 5:15

I hear a lot of talk, especially in Christian writer circles, about how a person is supposed to remain humble yet still market our work. Aren’t they mutually exclusive?

In many of the message boards and writers groups I belong to, I see a lot of writers showing off their works, whether it be adding links to a glowing review, a sales page, or contest for a newly released novel.

Honestly I find it a little tiresome. Many of the authors write it in such a way as to make it all about their accomplishments. Could my reaction be based on envy? Perhaps maybe a little, but not much. Mostly it’s because I’m also a writer who is more eager to sell than to buy.

But that’s getting a bit off-topic.

Many are truly interested in sharing God’s love, and the only way to do that is to tell people about it. To not say anything is like telling the dancer to dance only in the basement, the singer to sing only in the shower and the actor to only act out scenes in front of a mirror.

It’s a fine line when promoting the Message becomes promoting the Self. How are we to tell the difference? And equally important, how are others to tell the difference, myself included?

As a reader I count how many times the writer says “me”, “myself” and “I”. It’s not the only test, to be sure, because it simply can’t be helped. It is, after all, their story, regardless of the One who inspired it.

There’s one person who posts a lot (and I mean a lot) on a message board I frequent. This person is always informing us of recent sales — both novels and short stories. She constantly adds links to her blog and website, and informing us of her current novel’s progress.

I can’t help but wonder if she’s crossed the line from shining God’s light to shining her own. Granted it’s not for me to judge, but I can’t help but fear I will cross that line myself — by the mere act of telling people my novel won a contest or is in the hands of a publisher.

That’s not bragging, but mere stating of fact — facts I know people want to know about my writing journey.

As Rush Limbaugh often says, “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.”

I think we as Christians have taken humility to such an extreme we hide our light — our God-given talents — under a bush. In many ways we even take pride in our humility. How’s that for a contradiction? Or we’re so afraid of becoming too prideful, it’s safer to say nothing.

That being the case, then God wasted his time on giving us the drive and talent to write. Yes, we should write as if God was our only audience, but God has greater intentions than his — and our — personal satisfaction.

God loves to show off, and if anyone should, it’s him. All he’s asking in return is for us to help him do that with our talents, as in my case, through words.

But that’s enough about me 😉

December 2nd & 3rd, Mark Your Calendars!

December 2nd marks two events.

1. Contest winners will be selected and announced. I will post winners here (the first part of email addresses only), on the contest page, and the winners will also receive a private email.

2. My order of fifty books are due to arrive. If you’re a winner, or have purchased one via the products page, expect your book to be sent out on December 3rd. 

If you still would like to enter the contest, there is still time.

And if you order by December 15th, you’ll receive several other small items as an expression of my gratitude.

Speaking of gratitude!

I wish to thank my father-in-law for taking the time to read "A Reason to Hope", and relaying his thoughts to me via email. His review was quite a boost to my confidence I didn’t write a piece of crap.

You may be thinking since he’s a family member, he would not have been completely honest in his assessment.

I know he was honest, because he focused on specifics, and shared what he didn’t like about it. He would have preferred the book contained wider margins and more white space between chapters. I noticed the same after I received my proof. Changing it at that point, however, would have cost me more money, so I left it.

If I self-publish another book, or decide to resubmit a second addition of "A Reason to Hope" (how do I resubmit a second addition when only the first exists?) I’ll make those modifications.

Until then, I’ll make my readers suffer with narrow margins. 

Muahahahahahaha!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving day. I won’t recommend you don’t stuff yourselves stupid, because we all end up doing it whether we want to or not.

Don’t forget to wear elastic-waisted pants! 

Would you rather . . .?

A few people have expressed interest in purchasing my book (signed) direct through me instead of Amazon.

I researched into it, and I am capable of selling items via Paypal, and setting up a page on my website where you can purchase as many copies as you like. I can even add other items such as bookmarks, pens and magnets if, again, enough people are interested. 

What do you think? Should I go for it?

I ask only because, though I can buy copies of my book at a reduced rate, the more I purchase, the less I spend per copy. I don’t want to buy a bunch of books, and end up not selling them.