Discoverability – The New Author’s Problem

December 18, 2015

If you’ve read much about marketing your novel, I’m gonna throw out a guess that every article mentions the word ‘discoverability’. It’s probably the biggest buzz word in self publishing.

What bothers me about most of these articles is how they all have the same advice. ‘You should do the same thing as everybody else so that you can stand out from the crowd of everybody that’s doing the same thing as you.’ That’s how you gain ‘discoverability’.

That doesn’t make a lot of sense, right? I mean, how the hell can I stand out from a million other people doing the same damned thing as me?

Well, maybe it’s not as bad as I think. Most people don’t follow advice anyway. I recently spoke to a distant cousin at a family reunion who has done some successful internet marketing, and for $2000 will set you up with a system that will market and sell a product for you with very little work. The only thing you need to do is find a niche and go after it. According to him, 94% of the people he sets up don’t try at all. The next 5.99% give it a poor effort and disregard everything they are told, and a small percentage do it right.

So if only a small percentage of authors follow the advice, that gives me a bit more hope that my efforts aren’t completely wasted.

I know I’ve done some pretty half-arsed marketing so far – partly because it feels like bragging and partly because it takes work. And we’re all looking for that easy answer anyway. I swear that if Hugh Howey told people he drew a ten foot pentagram and sacrificed a Kindle at midnight to gain success on Amazon, there’d be a huge jump in Kindle sales the next day.

The other thing that bothers me about all the advice is that it is from people who are already successful, so they don’t have the same problem. From what I can tell, it was much easier to get discovered in 2011 than it is today – so even though these ‘experts’ are relatively new in terms of the literary world, they had a much easier time getting noticed purely because of when they started. That’s not to say that people like Amanda Hocking are bad writers. I think there are tons of great writers out there just waiting to be discovered. My opinion is that Amanda wouldn’t be nearly as successful starting today because of the way the industry has moved, even being a good or great writer.

Well, that’s enough ranting and rambling for me today. I’ve only got about an hour left to finish my pentagram.

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