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).