which, as this fantastic blog post states, is the second-hottest buzz-word in the book industry today. (The hottest word is ‘metadata’, which I’ll absolutely agree with, if ‘hottest’ has a value of ‘big ol’ pain in the backside’).
While the blog is just full of fantastic titbits of advice and information, working in the context of digital-first publishing, I think the most valuable sentence is this one, right here:
Having a library matters more than any other thing. It increases your exposure. And any happy reader is likely to move on to your other works.
When it comes to digital publishing, I cannot overstate how important a backlist is. Yes, your new release is all shiny and new, and sure it may be climbing the iTunes charts and NovelRank seems to think you’re doing okay, but this is not where your money is. Your money is in the happy readers who then go looking for everything else you’ve ever written.
And now, thanks to digital publishing, they can find it.
(There’s probably a secondary lesson in here about making good decisions on which publisher you use (if you use one), and the quality of everything you publish, but that’s another blog post for another time.)
This lesson is on focusing on which marketing tool is going to best serve you as an author, and it’s this: write more (good) books.
The absolute best way to build a reader base is not with a thriving Facebook group. It’s with good books. The absolute best way to build buzz among the blogger community is not with pithy tweets. It’s with good books. The absolute best way to garner hundreds of reviews across Goodreads is not with a street team. It’s with good books.
And the absolute best way to write good books is to write books. Then write some more. Learn. Grow. Take risks. Write your own story. Find a publisher that you like and respect and that likes and respects you and build a relationship where you can learn from and grow with each other.
The more books you have out there, the greater discoverability opportunities you will have – after all, only one book means only one book to recommend. With two books, suddenly your recommendations and reviews and buzz opportunities go up 100%. With ten books, discoverability opportunities increase by 1000%. It’s pure mathematics. Having more books out there = having more discoverability opportunities.
And then, when the stars align and the moon is in Virgo and the sea breeze comes in from the east-south-east and your radio is set to exactly the right station and you happen to send a tweet at 2:54am while eating a chocolate popsicle and wearing your lucky pyjamas, and everything coincides to make you the next hottest thing in publishing, you’ll be absolutely ready to ride that wave all the way to the bank*.
*when writing good books, it’s probably best to avoid mixing metaphors
special thanks to Patrick O’Duffy for checking my math!