Writing a flop! - Page 3


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Thread: Writing a flop!

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    What's the point of getting up at 0400 every day to write a book when I know it'll flop like a fish?
    I have shit-canned some great stories for this reason.
    I guess the tough part of that is...how do you know?

    Hindsight is 20/20, but I do think you were a little hobbled pursuing something as niche as Ming the Merciless. I’m not sure of your target readership, but there does seem an inherent problem in writing a novel about a lesser known (at least in 2020) character from a comic strip. Sure, some comic fans would like it, but a lot of those comic fans don’t read or buy many novels — that’s why they are comic fans. It’s like trying to sell art to the chronically colorblind. I have run into this problem on a smaller scale. Writing short horror fiction and finding that the overwhelming majority of the market seems to be teenagers and young men, who tend not to be as interested in stories written from the point of view of say, an elderly woman or involving more complex emotional themes. What they tend to prefer is the imaginative, the transgressive, the aggressive, the apocalyptic and the bizarre. It is hard to sell ski equipment to desert dwellers.

    But of course the danger is remaining in the safe space. Who really knows what sells? Of course there are risks, but there are rewards, too. Where do you draw the line? What methodology do you use to figure it out? Data? Research? A hunch?
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

    "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."

    “Remember this: Dumbo didn’t need the feather; the magic was in him. ”

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  2. #22
    First, I wouldn't single out a self-published author and post their work as an example of what not to do. Perhaps that could be deleted?

    Also, while I agree mostly, I'd also say it all depends.

    For one thing, some types of nonfiction, like the book cover posted in the original post, are a whole different animal from fiction. For a simple informational guide, the author may have actually made a good decision. The effort and expense for an upgraded book cover and marketing aren't always a good bet.

    For example, say someone was looking for info. on how to repair a toaster. The book cover would likely make no difference, plus there wouldn't likely be widespread appeal for such a book, so quick and cheap may well be the best bet there for the author.

    I've written some short nonfiction guides that are more like articles than books. Someone casually scanning them might think they were flops too, but they would be wrong.

    A short focused guide can often be done quickly and will sell to people who want that specific info. Over several years time, after being put up on Amazon and not bothered with again, that "flop" could actually be a great return per hour or per page, especially if the author limits the costs and time put into it.

    As far as your book, Ralph, well we all learn by trying different things. Maybe you could just think of it as paying for a SP marketing class. I bet you know a lot more about it now, so it was educational, right?
    Last edited by Ma'am; February 5th, 2020 at 12:58 AM.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I guess the tough part of that is...how do you know?

    But of course the danger is remaining in the safe space. Who really knows what sells? Of course there are risks, but there are rewards, too. Where do you draw the line? What methodology do you use to figure it out? Data? Research? A hunch?
    Very true. Some of the books I have sidelined were because they simply lacked any thrill. Sure, they were well-written...but boring. They were safe books.
    Other books I have sidelined were because I just could not find a way to blurb their plot (and make it sound good.)
    I dropped one project because in blurb form, it sounded very derivative (even though it was nothing like the other story.)

    Safe books are boring. They die a 3-star death.

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'am View Post
    As far as your book, Ralph, well we all learn by trying different things. Maybe you could just think of it as paying for a SP marketing class. I bet you know a lot more about it now, so it was educational, right?
    Yep. It included a lot of homework.
    I had assumed that Ming would sell in the anti-hero category, and that genre was popular at the time when I wrote Ming (Deadpool was killing it at the box offices).
    But Ming is from the wrong generation. Ming is from my mom's era.

    One problem with the Ming cover was that Pinterest classified it as a comic book, so many of the hits the ad campaign sent to Amazon were actually comic-book enthusiasts.
    They were not looking for a novella, they were looking for comic books...and clicked out of the site without buying.

  5. #25
    One way I could tell this was simply not the story that anyone wanted to read was in how well it did on Ku-KOLL (the unlimited program).
    There are a lotta bad books in Kindle KOLL, so if your story is even half decent, it will get read a fair amount. KU-KOLL readers are starved for good books.
    But the Ming page count was abysmal.

    So the marketing was doing its job and getting them to the amazon BUY-page...but the cover, blurb, or topic made them not want to buy.
    Or read it for free.

    Time to write something new.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    Time to write something new.
    One could say that's always the case, though, no matter the success of the previous venture.
    We'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

  7. #27
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    Ralph. We are in a current glut of books, the likes of which we've never experienced in the industry before. This is no down cycle. Millions of books are pouring into Amazon, what? Something like 500,000 a year in indies alone? Even when You have all of your ducks in a row, and the people, readers and reviewers tell you so, sales can be static or even non-existent. You can throw ad money at it, but you'd better be sitting on KU, .99 cents or flat free. I lost $400 dollars trying to advertise a $2.99 book. I was ignorant of the consequences and not studying my competition.

    How do I know we are glutted to the max? Okay, my fess up: I sent out 1,800 book review pitch requests that were all personalized/customized, after having read the bios and guidelines of each and every reviewer. I stress, I did this manually for each and everyone. I was told I had one of the most effective and considerate pitch letters ever seen. I targeted my genre like a sniper, with little to no exceptions. I sent emails and forms. I included the book cover in the email. I did not send any free books cold. I only asked if they were interested. This was a YA Portal fantasy/thriller, a pretty popular and commercial genre. This book even took first place in a YA contest for 2019--a nice one with a little badge, but admittedly, no huge blockbuster award.

    The results, after working 9--5 for six straight months = 165 requests for the book out of those 1,800 pitch letters. (Take in mind, nearly all of them are/were back-logged for weeks if not months) I knew that.

    As of today, I've had 36 solid reviews appear on Amazon (both foreign and domestic). I pulled about 19 interviews and seven guest spots. Of course, I'll have some lagging reviews trickle in, which I expect.

    Now that's a LOT of ink for a new release, as far as I'm concerned. The pen name is knew, granted, but she is EVERYWHERE in all the groups and display sites. I've got 860 Twitter followers and 4, 975 FB friends, and God knows how many others between about 20 writing groups and display sites.

    My point: It's murder out there. Worse than I've ever seen it. Oh, and I have a paid promo manager and agent ta boot.

    Ralph, it's probably not your book at all. I feel that the tipping point of saturation has been reached, and I've been hawk-eyeing this industry and writing about it for 31 years.

    I consider my quest for reviews an absolute failure. If I could afford NetGalley I'd do it. But right now, I'm hand-picking small promo sites with the lowest prices and best exposure, with an ultimate price drop to near nothing. I cannot think of any other thing to do to boost sales. I had the big holiday give-away contests to0--signed paperbacks, dream catchers, Amazon gift cards and jewelry. I would have given up a pint of blood if they'd asked for it.

    So Ralph, do not despair and take it personally. As writers today, we are going to have to find brand new inroads into promotion and marketing---things that are wild, outside the box and have never been done before. I keep hearing rumors that Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and other visual social sites will be taking over very soon and gaining ground. They are the new "IT" place to put your book. I don't know about that.
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  8. #28
    I think self publishing is a pure waste of time. I liken it to trying to sell a carrot in the middle of a vegetable market. Lots of buyers, lots of sellers and you have but one carrot. It may be the best carrot but the buyers are too busy looking at all the other veg.

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