Recently on Facebook, a spokesperson for an independent bookstore said, "Small stores like ours will continue to be successful by providing something that many readers find critical--human interaction and meaningful conversation about books."

But will they continue to be successful?

I like human interaction and meaningful conversations about books as much as anyone. But then I enjoyed human interaction and meaningful conversation about records and movies, too. My preferences, however, didn't save all the record stores and video rental stores from disappearing, and it won't save most of the bookstores from disappearing either. Sad, but true.

I love paper books, and I still buy them sometimes. But, when you get down to it, e-books are a vastly superior delivery method for the written word; so, naturally, e-books will eventually take the lion's share of the total book market. We can fight it, or we can embrace it, but the end result is going to be the same.

So, we might as well embrace it, IMO. I'm 52, and I happen to love e-books, and I love my Kindle. And, when I think about the enormous amount of pollution created by producing and transporting and storing paper, I love my Kindle even more.

Trying to make the point that some people will always insist on good old fashioned paper books, the same bookseller I quoted above mentioned that the sales of vinyl records increased 40% from 2010 to 2011. But it seems to me that any sort of increase in the sales of obsolete formats is largely irrelevant. What we really have to look at is total market share, and that remains very small. Way too small to support the brick and mortar stores of yesteryear. Vinyl records are a niche market, and that's all they'll ever be from now on. Forever and ever and ever. Just like buggy whips.

And, in the not-too-distant future, dead tree books.

Thoughts?

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Well said.   And add to that, it's all so volatile what what worked last year might not work this year.

You don't have to be an expert to relate your own experience.

Well, yes. It's just that some people seem SO opinionated, so sure they know what's up. Makes me laugh.

Oh me too.

But I giggle.

I'm not convinced that any sort of marketing an author would have control over is going to make much of a difference. So, I think a writer's time is best spent writing more books, with the goal that each be better than the last. Your books are really your best advertisements, and the more you have the more likely you are to get noticed. Then it becomes a matter of word of mouth.

Well said.  Chapter Three is calling me.

That comment makes me really curious, Jude.

Maybe I don't understand what you're saying, but it seems to me there are a lot of authors doing their own marketing and getting a LOT of difference.

I've seen people who have books on Kindle Nation and that kind of tip sheet every day and they are selling huge amounts of mediocre books.  

I've seen people who have books on Kindle Nation and that kind of tip sheet every day and they are selling huge amounts of mediocre books.

Those are the ones you notice. The ones you don't notice are the thousands who are making similar efforts and selling nothing.

If there were a surefire marketing method to selling a lot of books, everyone would be selling a lot of books.

No doubt you're right about that.  But the amount of work is not the only issue, right?  Some people spend a lot of time making me wish I'd never heard of them or their book.

There's nothing sure fire.

But I think you have to admit that there are things authors can do to sell more books.    It's not as hopeless as you make it out.  Just because it doesn't work for everybody doesn't mean it doesn't work.

I do believe there are some writers who are simply writers with a (very often reluctant) marketing fringe ability, and other sales-savvy writers who'd actually rather market than write. I've always admired those right brain/left brain souls who can tell a good story and then sell the book (or sell an agent, a publisher). Let's face it, skill and luck aren't always enough. Self-promotion can be a significant factor these days.

There's a writer on Facebook named Deborah Henry (never met her, never read her)—but I admire her FB page as "the way it can be done" in terms of self-promotion. She may have a staff helping her out (it's likely) but she's accrued over 11,000 "likes" (doesn't mean sales, but doesn't hurt either). FB totally buggered its own market/sales potential for the little guy last year—long story—and it doesn't make sense advertising with them these days. (Google's better, if you save your pennies). Still, social networking can help, if one's remotely savvy about its ways and means.

There's a writer on Facebook named Deborah Henry (never met her, never read her)—but I admire her FB page as "the way it can be done" in terms of self-promotion. She may have a staff helping her out (it's likely) but she's accrued over 11,000 "likes" (doesn't mean sales, but doesn't hurt either).

She has one book, and it's currently ranked #194,957 Paid in Kindle Store. With that ranking, she's only selling a handful of books a month. She would do well to spend her time writing and getting more titles up, IMO, rather than getting liked on Facebook.

I suppose that's like saying—and I'm not disagreeing with you—but it's a bit like having a bookstore signing where an author autographs and sells 10 or 20 books. It's not a huge amount, but you never know about the ripple effect. Or how many previous book signings there might have been. FB is a horrible resource for anything even remotely professional, but as part of a social media platform, it can't be discounted (yet)... as intangible as results may be. (Personally, there's "writing time" and there's "all that other time" lumped together that comes in a distant second.) On that, I totally agree.

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