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Archived Author Help > Is 'keep writing' a sound advice?

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message 1: by Nik (last edited Mar 06, 2016 09:06AM) (new)

Nik Krasno Haunting different groups here on GR, some of which are dedicated to support and help to indie authors, I've noticed that a most popular advice is 'keep writing, pal'. The books don't get reviews, don't worry just 'keep writing'. You know nothing about marketing, don't worry about it - 'keep writing'. No sales, few sales, declining sales - the universal advice would be 'keep writing'. Feeling happy, feeling depressed, author's block, whatever - just keep writing.
What's the premise behind it, you may ask?
Supposedly, the more you write the more followship, overall visibility, goodwill/reputation you accumulate. The more you write the more you hone your craft. Each new book boosts sales of the previous ones. All sound pretty logical.
Now, I ask myself, keep writing and what exactly should I expect? Release of each book costs me around 1k USD spent on editing, cover design and ancillary expenses. I don't see myself writing over 500 titles like Isaac Asimov, not even about 70 like Agatha Christie. Yet, even 5-6 titles require a tremendous effort, time investment + considerable expenses.
What's the advice for someone who has one story and gave his/her best shot at it? After all, not everybody has to be a 'serial' author. 'Confederacy of Dunces' is a pretty cool book, even though its author hadn't written much more than that.
So what I'm asking what happens to those who followed the advice and kept writing? Are they crowding the top spots of NYT bestselling lists and we should ask them now to 'stop writing' to give us a chance?-:)
What to expect? I ran here into fellow authors that have much more titles than I do and still report abysmal sales and struggling even after 10-15 years to gain recognition and some sales.
So, keep writing sounds great, but what exactly does this advice imply and where does it suppose to lead?


message 2: by Ken (last edited Mar 06, 2016 09:12AM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I would imagine that the "keep writing" advice applies most to those who do all of their own work. I do my own covers, editing, and proof reading. I spend nothing to publish a book except for copies of the paperback and hardback versions to monitor quality. I learned editing and proofing while submitting to magazines many years ago, and I learned to create covers the hard way: by doing it.

The bottom line is that you make the choice of how much work you want to farm out to others, and how willing you are to pay for it as you continue writing. If it's too much, then you'll have to evaluate whether or not the "keep writing" advice applies to you. Do you consider it an expensive hobby, or do you consider it an investment in something that you expect to eventually go somewhere?

That's a choice only you can make, but it doesn't invalidate the advice for others.


message 3: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) You'd be amazed how many times I tell people I'm writing a fantasy series and they say, "Oh, I don't read series until they're finished."


message 4: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Well, I would say if you only wish to have one book published, that you're going to have to focus quite a bit more on the marketing and sales side than you are on the writing side.
At the end of the day though, unless your work is something that manages to catch fire from day one, you're going to have an uphill battle. Especially in today's entertainment climate. For some reason, people want more and more, with a short attention span.
I'm not saying it's impossible, and perhaps you'll find better success pouring all your efforts into one work. I just know when I put regular content out on my blog, my traffic picks up. When traffic picks up, sales pick up(Nothing major, and it could admittedly be correlation). When I ignore the blog, traffic drops, and sales drop. Content makes a difference.


message 5: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Mar 06, 2016 09:53AM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4333 comments Mod
I suppose it should be said that almost no advice for writers is "one size fits all". I do think "keep writing" is the best advice for most writers who are struggling, but it may not work for everyone.

There are some who feel they only have one book in them. There are some who only do it for a hobby. There are some who try it a while and find the whole thing frustrating and depressing and find their attention is going elsewhere. For those, "keep writing" might not be the best advice.

But, if someone is attempting to make a living at writing but they are not there, yet, "keep writing" is generally sound advice. One isn't going to make it at anything if they just give up, after all. "Keep writing" can, but not always, be effective in removing writers block, as long as the writer understands that some of what they just write will not be their best work, but it could get the juices flowing and ramp them up to being at their best again. I don't get writer's block, myself, but from what I've seen others say, it seems it's really often a case of lack of confidence in their work. If they just get back to writing, writing anything, they will hopefully jolt themselves back into remembering why they love writing in the first place or maybe they will see their writing isn't as bad as they think. For me, though, I keep writing because of my love of the art. I try not to get bogged down by sales (or lack of them), marketing and such. For me, these things can distract me from the real reason I write -- for the sheer pleasure of it.

The reality is, many of us probably will not end up on the New York Times best seller list. Of course it is my wish that we all will see our spot there, but it probably is not going to happen. However, the one way to guarantee it will not happen is to give up. Hence the advice of "keep writing".


message 6: by Christina (last edited Mar 06, 2016 09:56AM) (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) All of the points you make are valid, but Ken has a point. This is not a one size fits all business and just keep writing *is* good advice for those of us who have taken the DIY approach. I'm currently 12 books in and I'm just now starting to look at marketing as something more than "throw a free book out there every so often."

With one book, Riley's right, you'll want to focus more on visibility, but how you do that is going to depend on a lot of factors. What's the genre? Book clubs might help with lit fic, but action and adventure not so much.

My two cents is to set up three separate tiers of avenues to try. First tier would be free, second cheap, and third pricey. Exhaust all of your free resources before trying anything paid.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 268 comments You pose a lot of good questions, and I think the answer in all cases is "it depends".

First, the "keep writing" to get past writers block I treat with some caution. I've never found that to work for me. When I'm blocked it's usually down to some lack of clarity in my mind about the story I'm trying to write and "keep writing" feels like the brute force solution. It works better for me to unpick the source of the logjam then things start flowing again. But then again, pushing through the block does work for many people. So, it depends.

The "keep writing rather than obsess about sales and marketing" makes more sense to me, and there seems to be anecdotal evidence to back it up. The more books you have out there, the more likely one of them will be found by any given random reader, and if you hook that reader there's more chance they'll pick up your other books too. It's a multiplicative effect. The comments I've read seem to agree that you typically need at least 5 titles out there before things really start to take off.

The trouble with this is that:

(a) This is only talking statistically, and there are many individual exceptions and many other factors at play than mere numbers. Your one book might go viral, while someone else's fifteen books might still languish in obscurity.

(b) It all depends on what you want out of writing. If you write for the love of writing, then "keep writing" makes most sense. If you're hoping to make a living out of it then you need to decide your own strategy for how to make that happen because there sure as heck ain't no magic formula. Your chosen strategy might have a number of components, marketing, talks, other kinds of writing (e.g. magazine articles). It might include plain old "keep writing", but do it because you chose it as a strategy, not because "everyone says so."

As for myself, I choose to keep writing because I enjoy it, because I'm waaay better at writing than at marketing, and right now because I know a dozen or so people who would love to see a sequel to my first book.


message 8: by G.T. (new)

G.T. Trickle (goodreadscomgttrickle) | 31 comments So, keep writing sounds great, but what exactly does this advice imply and where does it suppose to lead?

I think the thrust to keep writing is tightly tied to one's personal definition of success. It would be wise to be brutal when writing down a definition of success as it applies to you. People write for different reasons but if their definition of success as an Indie Author is to land on some best seller list, then the hard cord fact is that it will be an uphill battle and may never be achieved in an Indie Author's lifetime.

What the self-publishing industry has carefully crafted is a savvy marketing message targeting a deep seated human emotion -- HOPE. Write. You Can Be Published. And Successful. Its almost like a con artist's con that pinpoints what the mark wants.. We all have the hope that our work will be recognized in a big way but the odds of this are slim. Better to accept the reality and continue to write because something inside of you drives you to. But again, be brutal in crafting a reasonable and meaningful definition of success that applies only to you.

For me, I've achieved my goal of being a published author of two novels. (I have other publishing credits.) Do I still have stories to tell? Yes. I'm just not sure I have the energy to spend the time needed to put out a quality 3rd, 4th 5th novel. I'd be pushing 80+ yrs. by the 4th.


message 9: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Mar 06, 2016 10:08AM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4333 comments Mod
Ian wrote: "First, the "keep writing" to get past writers block I treat with some caution. I've never found that to work for me. When I'm blocked it's usually down to some lack of clarity in my mind about the story I'm trying to write and "keep writing" feels like the brute force solution. It works better for me to unpick the source of the logjam then things start flowing again. But then again, pushing through the block does work for many people. So, it depends."

I see your point, so I'd like to clarify a little.

If I am having a difficult time with a story, I put it aside a while and work on another. Sometimes I might have as many as a dozen things going at once. Some I will love and will publish when finished, some may never see the light of day. I do understand that this may not work for some writers. Some prefer to focus on one project at a time. But, if you have writer's block and have not tried this, give it a go and see what happens.


message 10: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments The advice has to match the goal. If the goal is to make money, "keep writing" offers a better chance of that than any other approach. The more we write, the more material we have out there and the more we learn, both of which increase the chance our work will find a market that pays.

But that doesn't mean the chances are good. They aren't. I recall about 1990, when I first started thinking about trying to become published, I worked with guy (he was a consultant) who was a professor at Stanford. He taught literature and creative writing and he was published author. I asked him about making money in genre fiction. He told me -- seriously -- I'd have as good a chance buying a lottery ticket. What he said was [quoting as closely as I can recall]" "You pour years of your life into something, and when you're done, you basically have a lottery ticket." He thought it was better to spent the dollar, if making money was your goal.

With indie publishing, the odds of making some money are better than that (which was millions to one). But they aren't that much better. if you want a very rough number, the "odds" are that about 1 in 5,000 books on Amazon make serious money. And that's not evenly distributed. Success breeds success and quite a number of those books are by authors who hit a nerve and sold a lot of one book, which then sold their other books.

So, while it's better than it's ever been, each book we publish is still a bet. The odds of every bet paying are low and determined by what each author thinks is an acceptable payoff. The more bets, the better our chances. That's the premise behind it.

What's the advice of an author who write single book? Go and enjoy life, do whatever is meaningful and pleasurable, and leave the bet of the table. It won't expire. Just leave it. Don't market -- it's a lottery ticket. If and when that author feels like it, write another book. Or don't.

As has been said many times here, each of us sets our own goals and our own criteria for "success". If those are being met or satisfactory progress is being made, "keep writing" is the best advice. If not, do something more fulfilling.


message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 268 comments Dwayne wrote: "Ian wrote: "First, the "keep writing" to get past writers block I treat with some caution. I've never found that to work for me. When I'm blocked it's usually down to some lack of clarity in my min..."

I've done that, too. I got stuck several times on my most recent book and set it aside to focus on something else. I guess that is one interpretation of "keep writing." And I'm now back to a project that I ground to a halt on six years ago.


message 12: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Joe wrote: "You'd be amazed how many times I tell people I'm writing a fantasy series and they say, "Oh, I don't read series until they're finished.""

I hope I'm not getting off topic too badly here but that makes perfect sense. Series do not always end well -- quite the reverse. Readers are aware of this and are justifiably reluctant to get involved with something that may not be finished or may fail meet their expectation when it is.

So -- getting back on topic -- this is a another reason to keep writing, and rein in other considerations until one has a product (say, a completed series) that conforms to what readers are looking for.


message 13: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) Is 'stop writing' going to get you more success than 'keep writing'?

The definition of insanity is said to be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

So maybe 'keep writing' is an incomplete answer. Maybe we need to "write smarter" instead of just writing more. Learn about marketing and promotion. Hone your craft. Learn from your mistakes and your successes. Learn from others' mistakes and successes. Stay open and positive and learn and grow.

Apparently some people only have one book in them. They will need to work a lot harder if they want to make any kind of living out of one book than the author who has dozens of titles and hundreds of products. From the stats I see, most authors trying to make a go of it give up after two or three years. If you give up after two or three years, you are not going to have the same success as those who are still writing and promoting five years from now. Or ten years from now. Most of us aren't making a living off of our books after only two years of publishing. Those cases that you hear about are the exceptions.


message 14: by Alex (last edited Mar 06, 2016 12:26PM) (new)

Alex (asato) I see these questions pop up every so often here and so many other places on the web--and there are so many books out there claiming to tell people how to become a best-selling writer.

w/all the experience here, we should write a FAQ.

How about:

"Ten Steps to Becoming a Penny-Positive-Cash-Flow Author--or Crash and Burn Trying"

1. Don't quit your day job.
2. Write something.
3. Finish it.
4. Edit it.
5. Slap a cover w/a "hottest-something-in-your-target-market" on it.
6. Publish it.
7. Put it somewhere that someone can buy it and someone--maybe you--can get paid (commonly called "sales and distribution").
8. Tell people who you think would want to read it--or at least look at the cover--about it (commonly called "marketing").
9. Decide whether enough people like your book to write another one (commonly called "ROI").
10. Repeat 1 - 9 again with another x somethings, where x equals the point before you'd jump off a bridge.
Note: 1 somethings--like "The Martian" (and even that wasn't Weir's first writing attempt)--isn't generally enough to make a penny-positive cash flow and when it does happen, it is an anomaly that one shouldn't count on.

Nik's question seems to hover around steps 9 - 10, but I think that step 8 underlies that question. In the self-publishing and biggest distribution network in the history of publishing--nay, any economic arena--figuring out who'd want to read it is key; that is, your something's niche. It's a great time to be a writer.

Disclaimer: I haven't published anything yet so I'm such a neophyte compared to most of you in this group--but I hope to publish something next month! I've been a tech writer in Silicon Valley for 25 years, so I have a penchant for procedures.


message 15: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Siegrist (amandasiegrist) | 190 comments I like when I see "keep writing", even though I'm not the one looking for advice. It helps boost me up. I haven't written in a week or two and it feels weird. But I've been focusing on editing, marketing, my book covers, and so on. So, even though I've taken a small break from writing, it helps to see the "keep writing".

I look at writing as a passion. I like to do it for me. I enjoy creating a story and having the pleasure of reading it myself. If others get the chance to read it as well and enjoy it...Great! But if not, well, I'll keep writing because I love to write. It's a possibility many others won't read my books right now because I'm still learning great ways to market.


message 16: by Martin (new)

Martin Wilsey | 447 comments Keep writing is the best advice there is for an Indie Author.

I have had the said to me in various ways:

"Keep writing as long as you enjoy it."

"Keep writing and you will get better."

"Keep writing if you have the balls."

All turned out to be true for me.

Plus, my wife thinks it's hot... ;)


message 17: by Mimi (new)

Mimi Marten | 54 comments I read all the comments, many made me smile. And you, Martin as usually made me laugh /say hi to your lovely wife/, my partner thinks it's sexy too. :-)))

KEEP WRITING is a great advice, but it's not enough.
The publishing world is changing...., TRADITIONAL or INDIE, you have to be more than just a WRITER. You have to build platform - internet presence, learn marketing and promotional skills. Indie have to design covers, formatting.

Unless you are Stephen King or J.K.Rowling, the days of JUST writing are long gone.

:-))


message 18: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno Thanks for your input and explanations, guys.
My own opinion is close to what Owen wrote, if I may quote: "... each book we publish is still a bet. The odds of every bet paying are low and determined by what each author thinks is an acceptable payoff."
There shouldn't be any problem whatsoever to keep writing for those who write for pleasure and/or have no expenses when releasing a book.
For those others who spend money on self-publishing, I'm not sure that spending a budget of few K on release of more books is better/ wiser than spending the same budget on marketing or not spending at all.

I'm undecided, but I'm attentive to your opinions -:)


message 19: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) I think the "just keep writing" advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt. If one is a good writer, then yes, that's good advice. It takes time and good marketing to build a writing career. But sometimes folks are told to "just keep writing" when it's not in their best interest to do so. Sometimes, that advice does a disservice. It depends on so many factors. The bottom line is, to be successful as a writer (at least commercially successful), you have to write really good books that a LOT of people will want to read and you have to know how to market them well. There are no shortcuts.

Best of luck to us all... :)


message 20: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno April wrote: "I think the "just keep writing" advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt. If one is a good writer, then yes, that's good advice. It takes time and good marketing to build a writing career. But..."

Thanks, April.
Sounds logical, but 'good' writer or 'good' books is so subjective. How can someone know? I mean as long as there are at least some people who like what you've written it might hint at existence of an audience.
I'll give you just one example. Dan Brown is an acclaimed, renowned and widely considered as terrific author, but take a look at his Digital fortress for example:
http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Fortres...
It's amazing, but on this particular book he has a pretty much equal distribution of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 stars reviews. And when we are talking of over 1500 in total, at this number the distribution already has statistical meaning


message 21: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4333 comments Mod
Nik wrote: "...but 'good' writer or 'good' books is so subjective."

Agreed. And if someone is a "bad" writer, they won't improve by quitting, so urging them to continue to write is still sound advice. None of us are "good" writers by nature, we've all had to learn. No one improves their skills by quitting.


message 22: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Owen wrote: "I hope I'm not getting off topic too badly here but that makes perfect sense. Series do not always end well -- quite the reverse. Readers are aware of this and are justifiably reluctant to get involved with something that may not be finished or may fail meet their expectation when it is. "

Absolutely. It's just a bummer to hear when your series is planned for a dozen books or more. ;)

April wrote: "If one is a good writer, then yes, that's good advice. It takes time and good marketing to build a writing career. But sometimes folks are told to "just keep writing" when it's not in their best interest to do so. Sometimes, that advice does a disservice."

Some of the best marketing is having a portfolio of work to your name that will make people more willing to get invested in your world/characters, no?


message 23: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno April wrote: "I think the "just keep writing" advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt. If one is a good writer, then yes, that's good advice. It takes time and good marketing to build a writing career. But..."

By the way, don't get me wrong, if I arrive to the conclusion that I'm a bad writer, I would most likely quit, so not to foster illusions


message 24: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 266 comments I own my own publishing company so the advice to keep writing helps me keep sane with my new day job - programming for a major video game company. I have everything done in house - editing, cover art, typesetting etc so my costs are lower than those who outsource. for others it might not be feasible. but don't quit chasing those dreams - just be reasonable about it. chop wood, carry water and hope for the best.


message 25: by Alex (last edited Mar 07, 2016 10:02AM) (new)

Alex (asato) Nik wrote: "I mean as long as there are at least some people who like what you've written it might hint at existence of an audience."

true. a hint. but how do you find out what's behind that hint? how do you tap into that hint?

#8: Marketing.

You already put it on amazon, which is the biggest single distributor in the publishing industry at the moment, so you basically have your sales and distribution pipeline set up.

as a sales and distribution company, amazon also has some marketing tools available to get your book within the view (common jargon: "get eyes on it") of the people who would want to buy it. one of the those tools is keywords. (i apologize if you know about this already.)

i did a few searches based on the synopsis of your book, Rise of an Oligarch, and its first 2 pages. i went to the following categories in bold:

Books : Mystery, Thriller & Suspense : Thrillers & Suspense : Crime : Organized Crime or Spies and Politics

but I failed to get a hit on your book in the first 5 pages.

however, when I search for "ukraine" in "Thrillers & Suspense", I get a hit on the second page for Mortal Showdown! cool. same thing for "oligarch" but I get the hit on Rise of an Oligarch on the second page (but even at the "Book" top-level category "oligarch" gets a hit on both your books on the second page.

however, "ukraine" and "oligarch" aren't the most common keyword searches. "russia" would be a more oft used search term (i realize that the Ukraine is a separate country and that it has been in the news lately but i think that most people would still not necessarily search on "ukraine" and even if they weren't particularly looking for Ukraine, they might become interested if your book popped up in their search for "russia". that's my personal and american bias (in spite of the fact that I consider myself to be fairly globally aware (I regularly talk to coworkers in India, China and Russia; I've travelled to Europe, Taiwan; my grandparents are from Japan; I took courses in Japanese, Hebrew, German, and French.))

more potential buyers would be exposed to your books if they showed up in the general category w/o having to type in a search term. So, maybe you don't have "Organized Crime" in your search keywords?

also, you might consider the free giveaways that have recently become available for the kindle in the US (if you haven't seen that thread already) or ways to put your books on sale. those are other ways to build readership.

book covers are also another marketing tool. i've been looking at published books in my genre/sub-genre to get ideas on my own book cover. if you haven't already, you might consider that too.

there's a bunch of other stuff--like social media--even flash fiction can also help get your name out there and you can even get paid for that too! .08 cents/word for science fiction/fantasy (Daily Science Fiction).


message 26: by Angel (new)

Angel | 216 comments "Keep writing" means keep believing in yourself and continue with the process that means writing more books, marketing, etc.
Motivation is the key to success. Stop worrying about what the other guy is doing and start thinking smarter for yourself.


message 27: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno Alex G wrote: "Nik wrote: "I mean as long as there are at least some people who like what you've written it might hint at existence of an audience."

true. a hint. but how do you find out what's behind that hint?..."


Hey Alex,

מה נשמע?

I may be a bit off-topic here, but since you've taken a great deal of care to check some things..
Thanks a lot for all the advice and for trying to play with the keywords even. All sound good. My friend and co-author Carlito manages the account for "Rise..", while I - for "Mortal...". Here is the copy-paste of current keywords for Mortal:
"Jewish oligarch, Russian oligarch, action packed thriller, political thriller, hard-boiled thriller, Russia Ukraine, Russian billionaires".
I've changed them probably 5-6 times already. I'm not sure I'm using them well and anyway each entry gives from few dozens to over 100 pages of results. Even the word 'oligarch'. I don't think I have influence where Amazon puts my books among others with the same keyword. Correct me if I'm wrong and if you know, but if let's say 200 books have the word oligarch as a keyword, I may end up 1-st or 200-th on the list of search results, right?
'Organized crime' or should I organise it for Brits -:)? sounds good and I gonna try it.
Yeah, Russia, Ukraine, Belorrusia and -stan countries are a bit confusing, especially now when territories started to change hands -:(


message 28: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments As long as it's fun, enjoyable, yes, good advice!


message 29: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Nik wrote: "I don't think I have influence where Amazon puts my books among others with the same keyword. Correct me if I'm wrong and if you know, but if let's say 200 books have the word oligarch as a keyword, I may end up 1-st or 200-th on the list of search results, right?"

unfortunately, i don't know much more than i've stated here. i'll have more to say when i actually publish something. my guess is that amazon's algorithms are looking for how relevant your book is to the keywords. they obviously analyze your title and your blurb; i wouldn't be surprised if they search the text of your book as well.

just to see what the "experts" say, I did a duck-duck-go search:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-kuk...

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/0...

Although both of these articles were written way back in 2013, I find them instructive in that they highlight opposing viewpoints.

i'm sure others in this group have better data than i.


message 30: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 727 comments My tuppence worth...

It wholly depends on why you are writing.

Did you write to make fame and fortune?
If so, stop writing as this is unlikely to ever happen (not impossible just unlikely).

Or do you write because you love it?
If it's something you love to do, then you will carry on writing regardless.

I'm 3 years into indie publishing, with 5 books.
Sales are still low (depressingly so).
But yet I am writing book 6. Why? Because writing is now part of my life, that I can't imagine giving up.

There's cheaper means of publishing.
I am lucky to have some highly skilled friends who are able to proof read. So I just pay for the cover design (and I researched that to find the best value).

And yes, I throw some shillings around trying to advertise promotions sometimes. But I keep this to a minumum (out of necessity).

There are a lot of authors who can tell you that more books = more sales.
This is certainly true for a lot, but not all.

The question you really need to ask therefore is:
do you want to write more?

xx


message 31: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) unfortunately, i don't know much more than i've stated here. i'll have more to say when i actually publish something. my guess is that amazon's algorithms are looking for how relevant your book is to the keywords. they obviously analyze your title and your blurb; i wouldn't be surprised if they search the text of your book as well.

I can confirm that Amazon does search the text of your book as well.

"With Search Inside, Amazon search results include matches based on every word inside a book, not just results that match the title or author of the book. It's like browsing a gigantic bookstore with millions of searchable pages at your fingertips. We help our customers discover and sample books to ensure that they'll be satisfied with their purchases.
...
Books enrolled in the Search Inside program can be easily identified throughout the site by a Look Inside! arrow attached to the book cover image. On the detail page, the main cover image is also labeled with a Click to Look Inside! arrow. You can also hover over the book cover image and view a search box and set of quick links to explore within the book.

Besides previewing and searching for books, you can use Search Inside to perform a number of different types of searches..."

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/custome...

I know that if I search the title of one of my books and look at the results, my other books pop up as well, because they include the titles of previous books on an "also by this author" page.


message 32: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) P.D. wrote: "I can confirm that Amazon does search the text of your book as well."

thx, P.D.! this is great!

it looks like amazon does not index a book's content by default, though, b/c of agreements w/publishers, copyright, and so forth.

also, reading about the "Look Inside" feature, this is another great marketing tool. sometimes, a reader is still on the fence after seeing the cover and reading the blurb. reading the first few pages could convert the reader into a sale. this is a good reason to keep blurbs succinct and exciting--and the first few pages blistering hot.


message 33: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) If you are publishing through KDP, then they index it. They may have different agreements with different publishers for trad publishing, but you don't get the choice with publishing through KDP. Look Inside and Search Inside are automatically enabled.


message 34: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) cool. another plus for ebooks.


message 35: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno T.L. wrote: "My tuppence worth...

It wholly depends on why you are writing.

Did you write to make fame and fortune?
If so, stop writing as this is unlikely to ever happen (not impossible just unlikely).

Or d..."


I understand what you mean when you say writing became part of your life. I define it a bit differently that writing is addictive -:) and as many addictive things it's usually a pleasure.
But let's be completely honest with ourselves: I say whoever presses 'publish' button wants a little more than just enjoyment of writing per se. He/She wants people to read the book, to share comments/reviews, to sell a few or many books. It's not necessarily to make money even. The degree of those desires, may vary. One can suppress them or self-deceive about them, but they are there. Otherwise, one can write something on comp and enjoy it, no need to go through additional hassle of formatting, cover design, etc...
'Keep writing' offers some hope, but as Owen wrote - each new book is like buying another lottery ticket - you double your chances, but ultimately they remain rather low -:)
No need to be depressed about it, it's just the way it is, I think


message 36: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) I understand what you mean when you say writing became part of your life. I define it a bit differently that writing is addictive -:) and as many addictive things it's usually a pleasure.
But let's be completely honest with ourselves: I say whoever presses 'publish' button wants a little more than just enjoyment of writing per se. He/She wants people to read the book, to share comments/reviews, to sell a few or many books. It's not necessarily to make money even.


Yup. I wrote for almost thirty years just for the pleasure of it, before deciding to start publishing. It was a long time before I had the desire to share what I was writing, and decided that I would like to make a go at earning at least a partial living off of my writing.


message 37: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Nik wrote: "as Owen wrote - each new book is like buying another lottery ticket - you double your chances, but ultimately they remain rather low"

And, just like lottery tickets, if you don't buy one, you'll never win.


message 38: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno Joe wrote: "And, just like lottery tickets, if you don't buy one, you'll never win...."

I never buy lottery tickets, if that characterizes me somehow -:)


message 39: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 727 comments I do buy lottery tickets :-)

Of course it would be lovely to have lots of readers.
I'd love folks to enjoy reading my books as much as I do writing them.

In a perfect world I'd become just as successful as EL James, and then I could buy my farmhouse retreat.

But it's not why I write.

Hate something, change something.
Love something, keep doing it.
:-)


message 40: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Nik wrote: "I never buy lottery tickets, if that characterizes me somehow -:)"

I also never buy lottery tickets. But I do participate in the writer's lottery of book publication.


message 41: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno Ken wrote: "Nik wrote: "I never buy lottery tickets, if that characterizes me somehow -:)"

I also never buy lottery tickets. But I do participate in the writer's lottery of book publication."


I do too. Hope I won't need to reconsider my choice in regular lottery's favor, because of lower costs or higher chances -:)


message 42: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 344 comments I write because I think I have something worth writing about. (You are free to disagree and i concede I am biased.) This means i shall probably continue, but I run it a little like a business - my literary efforts are compartmentalised and I have to show a profit. My profits might be more towards the McCawber style, but at least i am not losing money.


message 43: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Holly wrote: "Link two was especially helpful, and I went and edited some of my keywords on Amazon as a result. =)..."

cool. part of marketing is discovery--making it easy for your audience to find you.


message 44: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 268 comments Love to see that this thread is still going. It sparked a blog post last week where I explore some of the many very different things people mean by "keep writing" :)


message 45: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4333 comments Mod
Several comments deleted. Let's stay on topic, folks.


message 46: by Rachael (new)

Rachael Eyre (rachaeleyre) | 194 comments I've been told that because I write "niche" books I'm unlikely to ever find a wide readership. I could give up, I could write more mainstream stories, but why should I? As long as I love writing and have stories to tell, I'll keep on going.


message 47: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Maguire | 35 comments I think the only reason you should write is because you love it and you should write the way you want to write. For the longest time I tried business writing thinking it was better than nothing because at least you were writing and more likely to get a job in it. It was nice to be able to write for work, but in the end it wasn't satisfying. I've been writing my own creative stuff on my own time for the past few years now and not getting paid and it's been more rewarding then any writing I got paid to do for business. My audience has been slowly growing and I think it's worth being patient and continuing to write. One thing I found though is that I can't pursue a career and my own writing. Lately I've been picking up easier jobs just to pay the bills and the lower stress of these jobs has allowed me to get a lot more done.


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