Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crabs in a barrel or is it the blind leading the blind

A lot of authors feel threatened by other authors they consider the competition. The ease of ebook publication has made some authors feel even more threatened. The truth be told no author is competition to any other author.

I first learned this on the streets of the Bronx trying to sell my books. I had a street vendor on Fordham Road and Webster who sold  a lot of my books. I would stand at his table sometimes for up to an hour just talking about the book business. But I would also talk to the customers.

I found out about two things that sold books. One was word of mouth. People bought books that they heard were good, or that they saw lots of others reading. But the other thing that sold books were other books. I saw people come back to the vendor's table after reading a good book. They would be excited and would want something else to read. Now they were willing to read whatever he recommended. This is when he would push my book, which didn't have the word of mouth recommendation yet.

What many novelist don't realize is or at least they don't act like they realize it is, readers can buy your book and another authors as well.

I had another author/vendor on 125th Street in Harlem, hide my books because he felt I was competition. When I asked him why my books were at the back of his table covered by some old books, his response was people were complaining about my book. But when I talked to other vendors they said the book was selling well.

I hand sold my book to one lady who wouldn't buy books from street vendors. But once she read my book, she started buying books from vendors. She buys about twenty books a year now off the street, but only bought one from me. My one book sale helps about twenty authors a year.

The truth is, if you book is well written and you can tell a good story, your book can sell regardless of the competition. If you book is truly well written but doesn't sell, the problem is your marketing not the competition.

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