Pushing Paperbacks

Up to now, e-books have been my Nirvana, or at least my focus. But, as mentioned in previous posts, categories on Amazon (really the only place to sell e-books) have become very crowded. In my chosen category books that had resided comfortably in the middle of the top one hundred now struggle to climb higher (lower?) than two hundred.

Hoping for a change back to what I considered normal, I have waited and pushed books with advertising. There have been peaks and valleys, but no permanent residence in the coveted territory. I see a couple of reasons for this.

First, as I mentioned in other columns, publishers have engaged in large scale “dumping” into this category (Native American) of best known authors (Craig Johnson, both Hillermans, Hager, Erdrich, Cole, Westbrook, etc.) leaving little room for lesser known authors. This genre (Native American Mystery) is hot. Which is great, if you can tap in.

Second, there are so many new authors entering the category with well hyped books, inaugaral authors entering with a cloud of newly enlisted fans. Amazon favors numbers of sales above all else, and these titles wax before they wain and other  waxing authors take their place. Even authors with a steadily growing and base and a solid series cannot match the swirl of opening sales.

So, what to do?

I have decided it is time to push paperbacks. An author needs exposure. If it can’t be obtained on virtual shelves, it is time to go out among the people. That is how I developed my local fan base in the first place. Spark interest here and there, touch off interest in the series, start scattered fires in different locations. Yes, it is a return to the old ways in the old days, except publishers are not doing it for us any more. Authors are on their own.

Is that bad? Maybe not. With publishers and established authors exerting their power and influence toward e-books, maybe there will be more room in the paperback market out in the streets. It will require travel, it will require creative thinking, it will require a lot of preparation and paperwork.

So––it’s time to put “boots on the ground” and see what can be done. I’ll keep you posted (literally).

2 thoughts on “Pushing Paperbacks

  1. Rich, this situation may be somewhat similar to the changes that I as a musician have seen in how our product (CDs) is sold. It used to be that my major market was through distributors and also directly to book stores and gift shops, until independent labels took off. Then the market flooded and even established sellers like myself could no longer thrive. Then came mp3 downloads, and CDs became considered antiques. Each time things change I’ve had to adapt. Until my recent retirement I toured to support CD sales at my workshops and concerts. I sold a TON of CDs that way. I think an author such as yourself could easily tour doing talks on the art of mystery writing and the research required for each book. Every county in every state has an Arts Council that books (and needs) interesting events. You’re a good speaker. They’d love you and they’d buy your books.

    • Hi, Laurie,

      That is good information and a provocative idea. I had something of the like in mind on a smaller scale, but more toward signings than lectures. However, I might mingle the ideas. Thanks for your helpful comment. Rich

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