Too many writing and too few writing well

Discussion in 'Writing & Publishing Discussion' started by Justin Swanton, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. Justin Swanton

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    I've always wondered about the idea that far more people work hard to produce a book of acceptable quality than there are readers to buy it. Hence only truly brilliant writers make the grade. Superlative excellence is the new 'writing well', and proportionally fewer and fewer aspiring authors can attain it.

    Also the notion that every man and his dog, thanks to the advent of the computer and ebook, is writing a book these days.

    Thoughts? Just how fiercely competitive is professional writing anyway?
     
  2. SmartrykFoster

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    The problem is that when anyone can write anything and self-publish it on Amazon or anywhere else, that adds A Lot of competition in the market and most people don't know how good (or bad) a book will be before they buy it. Great authors and amateur authors are both in the same league, then, because the consumers can't tell the difference unless an author's name or pen name is already established.

    Add to that the declining market. And I think that one of the reasons why book sales have been declining is because there's so much 'stuff' of unknown quality out there and people don't want to risk buying books that are badly written. It's their hard-earned money and they won't want to waste it while trying to find something good to read.

    I think there's also a 'free' mentality. People can play free game apps that make money by selling in-app purchases. Game makers have said that a game can still be profitable even if only 2% of their consumers spend money in the game because of the low overhead cost of running the game and the of how the games are designed.

    Books, on the other hand, are crafted works of art. It takes a lot of time, thought and energy to make a well-crafted book. But a book also needs to make money by selling a large number of copies.

    $150 million movies make money because they make more than $150 in ticket sales, have product-placement in the movies, sell tie-in merchandise, license distribution rights to sites such as NetFlix, etc. They can do all that because of advertising. It costs at least $30 million to secure distribution in movie theatres across the U.S., not to mention theatres in other countries. That does not include the amount of money spent on marketing the movie, nevermind marketing the merchandise.

    Action-orientated television episodes can cost $1 each episode and an episode can take two weeks to film. Advertising companies have become smart and technology has allowed them to determine how long viewers spend watching each commercial in a TV episode. Advertising companies pay to put their ads in front of a viewer's eyes for those 15 seconds or 2 minutes during a commercial break. That advertising revenue helps cover the episode's production cost. Now, advertising companies don't want to pay money to show an add to people who will flip channels during a commercial break.

    So it's not only book publishing. It's almost every type of media. There is so much media available for consumption, much of it free, that people can choose almost anything they want and they have little tolerance for ads.

    I've been reading Russell Brunson's book, DotCom Secrets, and in it he says that people have little tolerance nowdays for any ads that are not hyper-specific to their interests. For example, a pet owner who owns a cat may want to view an ad for cat food and may skip or ignore a dog food add even if they can buy cat food at the same store.

    So if you want to rise above the competition, you have to learn how to market your book these days. Much of your competition doesn't know how to get readers' attention through marketing.
     
  3. Justin Swanton

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    Which leads to the next question: what constitutes effective marketing? (as opposed to what are all the possible ways of marketing)
     
  4. SmartrykFoster

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    I'm trying to find out.

    I suppose that it depends on exactly what you're marketing, if consumers want advertising targeted to them that is hyper-specific to their interests, which means that the biggest job may be finding where your target audience is.

    Thankfully, there's social media where people tend to gather and use hashtags, etc. to identify their interests.

    It may be useful to explore hashtags and communities on various social media sites (like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, do an internet search for community websites, etc.).

    That's what I'm doing. After that, you find out how to market to your target market.
     
  5. Justin Swanton

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    I'm very ambivalent about promotional marketing. One the one hand if you do nothing nothing happens. On the other hand you're tempted to start thinking that if people don't notice you your life isn't worth living (well, sort of).

    Who here has done self-promotion and feels they know what works? Their advice would be invaluable (and thanks Phy for the link to Mike Duran).
     
    Phy likes this.