What sells a book?

cropped-the-defiance-of-bale-21.jpgWhat sells a book?

Personally, I have no idea how authors can even make enough these days to go to Starbucks and celebrate a newly finished novel. Everyday in my emails and Twitter I get lambasted with “Free E-books,” “Sign up for our daily free E-books,” “Free E-books for you,” and etc,,,simply showing that us, as Authors, are practically begging people to read our hard work; so desperate we are giving it away. I don’t see many Patterson and Grisham books given away, unless it’s a teaser to tempt us to buy one for $19.99. In fact they cost more than paper towels and toilet paper at Wal-mart, which we need; we don’t need a Patterson book to survive, but it sure gets tiresome walking around with a sore butt if we chose to sacrifice a good wiping for a branded read.
I met a person recently. He bragged how he had over 1100 E-books on his Kindle, and hadn’t paid a cent for a single one; just a hobby of his to collect as many as he could. He liked the cute little book covers that showed on his device, refusing to pay. I scornfully asked him why, and he said because they were “Free.” I asked how many reviews he had left, his answer was none. And as far as he was concerned, he was never going to leave a review.
I have 4 novels, and 5 Photography Photo books on Kindle. Last month I sold a whopping $19.97 worth of books to support my years of slaving over words to hopefully one day make a living at writing. Will I quit? No, I enjoy it too much.
Recently I surfaced my secret persona to start writing Adult Erotica Novels. Under a pen name of course. Why? For one, I enjoy it. Two, the adult genre are a hungry voracious group out there that doesn’t mind paying $.99 to $2.99 for a good sexy book, and they appreciate the material and are quite honest in their reviews, which as an author, I deeply am grateful for and appreciate. Even now, people are at home excitedly scanning Amazon for “Free Books.” Not that I hold that against them, but they could at least leave a review for the starving artist that put this thing together.
All in all, it’s still a better road than submitting to a literary agent. Personally I do not see why they are even in business, as they send out more rejection letters and a Fed-Ex delivery company. I have my share, and I’m sure the pile is even in every authors file folder. We’ve all seen the garbage books at the airport bookstore, and know we can do better, but yet, we still go ignored.
It seems to me, my opinion, that talented well crafted words with a good story are not what publishers are searching for these days, hence “50 Shades of Gray” proved that useless dribble and poorly edited books that only have laughable sex in it is what agents are searching for, and oddly, sells. I tried to read the book (with an open opinion) to see what the fuss was all about and spent the first 10 pages frowning and laughing at the poor writing skills of the book. Well, who’s laughing now? The author and publisher rolling in the millions of dollars constantly filling in. Just goes to show you how social networking creating a controversy can surface into gazillions of bucks, and sadly, the series follow up’s made just as much.
I have no idea what sells a book. After what I’ve seen happening, it baffles me. I believe Amazon has helped Authors with self pubbing but also hurt it with all the literature out there for anybody to take for free 24 hours a day. Again, will I quit? No, I have too many strange worlds and people running through my mind to just let them die off unheard of, but I sure would like to find out how to get them into the hands of readers willing to leave me a simple review or a small payment for my work.
Mark Mccarrell
The Tarnished Gentleman

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