Don’t Be Oblivious

img_2351-16A lot of people are oblivious.

Occasionally I’ll see someone’s book after meeting them at an event or workshop.

The new author’s book sits idle with no sales and no reviews after six months. I immediately see: a homemade, amateur book cover that tells me nothing about the story, an uninteresting blurb, and a run of the mill new author story.

Nothing in the sample grabbed me and there is often nonstandard punctuation present.

When marketers give you input, they aren’t trying to change your vision. They are trying to help your story – through your cover and blurb, etc. – appeal to potential readers. That may mean a cover redo, a blurb redo, and fixing up the story.

But not everyone sees that.

Some, when offered help, push back, obviously thinking Dan doesn’t see their vision, or Dan wants to change their dream.

An author wants to love her cover – but doesn’t understand that the reader needs to be the one intrigued by it, not the author.

I’ll make some suggestions and even get input from a few bestselling author friends.

The new author will then do one of two things.

Metaphorically fall on their knees and thank me, or push back.

I think when your book has no sales and no reviews and is identifiable in ten seconds as having a homemade cover and a story with punctuation errors, if bestselling authors offer to help you, say yes to every idea they offer.

When people who make money off their books tell you to change the cover, do it.

And when you feel the urge to say you don’t like the new cover, remember:

what you liked has resulted in no sales and no reviews after six months.

But some new authors (and some who aren’t new) can’t see that.

They’re nice folks, often (but not always; some are real jerks) but I can’t help them.

They may eventually get it one day, and at that time they won’t go back and say oh yeah, Dan was right, because it wasn’t Dan.

It was years of learning by me and others – you , often – about what readers need to see.

I was there once. (I try hard not to be there anymore.) I try to help others not be there.

The inept (sorry, but it’s an accurate word) new author who keeps pushing back on the input from authors whose numbers he’d love to have? It makes no sense to me. It’s ego, arrogance, artistic temperament, whatever; it’s a mistake at this point in your writing career because your cover and blurb choices represent you as not only an amateur but one of low quality.

People don’t intentionally buy low quality.

We saw this egoism on display in the first scary anthology, with one particularly thorny author, and in a few other places.

Some get it, some don’t.

Can’t save them all.

It gives me no pleasure to check in on the books of those other authors a year later (or two) and see their book still sitting there doing nothing – and not much else on their shelf, if anything.

It’s sad but totally avoidable.

Thankfully, most people get it, and I learn a lot in the process, as I always do when I ask my smart friends for help. I’ll post stuff here that is really a question for a newbie, and I appreciate that you give your time and effort when I ask for it.

Because most of you get it and want to get it.

And that makes all the difference.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Be Oblivious

  1. I wear pads on my knees because I listen, because I want to be the best writer I can be and for me, listening to and receiving advice from my peers is one of the most important things I can do for my career. Take it from me, it’s worth it. Thanks, Dan for all the advice you’ve given me in the last year. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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