If You Build It, They Probably Won’t Come

READER -Realistic Neon Sign on Brick Wall background

I’ve written a book. A good book I think but of course I would say that wouldn’t I? I’ve explored self-publishing options. It’s definitely doable, by that I mean anyone with a book and a few thousand dollars to spare can absolutely self-publish. There are plenty of publishing platforms available (e.g. CreateSpace, Kindle Direct Publishing, AuthorHouse). But self-publishing a book really isn’t the challenge. The challenge is getting people to BUY your book. That’s where the rubber hits the road, so to speak.

For a new author, attracting an audience can be a daunting task. How does one get noticed? An agent certainly can help by securing a deal with a publishing company well versed in a specific genre, with the distribution and marketing muscle needed to attract the right customers. Sadly, it’s quite difficult to secure an agent these days and probably always has been.

Jumping into a hot genre can also help – think young adult dystopian or doomed teenage vampire romance – where the audience is already established with an insatiable appetite for new material.

Gaining positive word of mouth is another grass roots strategy. Just ask EL James of the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy. Her steamy content spread through the internet like wildfire (literally and figuratively) and established an entirely new genre I believe referred to as “Mommy Porn”. Pause and deep sigh…

My grand opus really doesn’t fit into any of these categories. In fact, a commercial agent I did speak with said while the work was good it was a “hard sell’. I took that to mean she was unsure of the audience. I thought I could try and build an audience myself by making my content available on a free platform that claims to attract the type of readers I seek. I thought they’d arrive in droves, helping to establish an audience. I thought these fantasy readers could act as those critical “Beta Readers”, providing feedback that would help me shape the work into something that would be attractive to an agent. I thought my content would get hit after hit helping to spread positive word of mouth.

None of these things have happened.

Is that really a surprise? I’m not going to name the platform just yet because to do so would be like holding it partially to blame for my lack of attention. That isn’t fair, though is it? I don’t know how to attract an audience and have done nothing to draw readers my content. The other simple explanation is that my idea/book isn’t any good. I’m starting to think this website is a golden opportunity to explore that concept more deeply. Hopefully the answer won’t prove too depressing!

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