Sunday, October 25, 2015

Your Novel Doesn't Sell? You Can Change That. (Part Two)

This is the second batch of ideas for things you can do to change your book into one that sells...

B) Move Life-Or-Death trouble to the first paragraph, or, better yet, the first sentence of your book. Life-or-death being defined as the life or death of all that the character really cares about. If you are writing in most genres, life or death is literal life or death. If you are writing a caper or romance or romantic comedy, life or death is the loss or likely loss of all that your protagonist cares about (i.e., the one true love they desire).

You might say, "But my favorite books in my genre don't do this." That's true for most "favorite books" in most genres. Favorite books are by known authors whose readers believe they will get a good story even if it starts slowly. But new novelists don't have the luxury of starting a book slowly. With the explosion of self publishing, there are approximately one million new novelists each year. Let's say a reader actively pursues discovering a good new novelist each week, reads their books, and post reviews of each of them. That's 50 books out of a million new titles available each year. That means your reader who is exclusively buying new work by new writers like you ends up discovering just half of one percent of one percent of the available books by new authors. What are the chances that your book will be in that group? (0.00005 times 1,000,000 books)

And how many readers out there ignore the deluge of new books by their favorite authors to exclusively search out new authors like you? Almost none. And if, against those odds, you somehow succeed with this imagined reader who doesn't need excitement at the beginning of the book, how many of your books will other readers like her buy? Will you be able to build a career out of those few readers slowly spreading the word?

If you are an unknown author who wants to get a reader to stop reading their favorite famous authors and try yours instead, you need to grab them. You need to get their blood going immediately. If readers don't know your work, they don't know if they can count on you to tell a good story. So you have to prove it by making the first few sentences of your novel gripping/thrilling/exciting.

Stay tuned for Part Three...

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