27 August, 2012

Becoming a Professional

When it comes to a mass audience, a large part of success is perception. If a potential reader perceives that your work is Professional Quality™, they're more likely to buy it.

How do you get them to think it's professional, when all the merchandise you've got is a product page on Amazon? It's a long, slow, pulling-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps process. I went into this expecting zero success, so I find myself inordinately pleased every time I sell a single copy of THE QUEEN OF MAGES. I have no marketing budget and am slowly working my way into communities where I can suggest that, hey, maybe you'll like my book!

If you can get a few good reviews, and get some buzz going, it can have a multiplier effect. Suddenly more people are exposed to your work, and they see other people recommending it—they start to think, hey, maybe it's worth something. It raises its value in their eyes.

Something else is to have a larger body of work. If someone puts out a novel and that's all they've got, readers instinctively assume they're not worth much. All you've got is the one novel? But this guy over here, he's got five novels and a dozen short stories for sale! Clearly he's more professional.

I'm on the wrong end of that so far: one novel, two short stories. But I'm working on it. My goal is to have a wide gamut of material available, so that there's something to pull in a variety of readers.

There'll be a new free short story available here soon, which I hope everyone will enjoy; and, Godzilla willing, maybe it'll convince someone that my writing is enjoyable enough to spend a few bucks on something more substantial.

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