“Many indie writers have one book and they promote the hell of out that thing. They give it away for free, they join Kindle Select to “maximize discoverability” (ignoring Nook & IBook readers), and they sell it for 99 cents, thinking that will increase their sales.
“So…let’s imagine that these writers are successful. Let’s imagine that they do get millions of people downloading their books. Out of those millions, at least half a million will read that book, and out of that half million, 250,000 will like it.
“Then nothing. That’s the problem. Nothing happens. Even if those successful indie writers eventually write another book, they have to start all over from scratch, because the readers who like what they did—those 250,000 readers—they will have forgotten the indie writer in six months.
“You indie writers treat your readers as badly as traditional publishers do. And you do it in the exact same way. You deny your readers the next book.”
“Most writers want to be bestsellers—a long-term bestsellers. They want the kind of superstardom that Charles Dickens or J.K. Rowling had, the kind that influences not just one culture, but several cultures. The writers want the money that goes with the bestsellerdom which they imagine to be unlimited, and they want fame—the writerly kind—where people don’t necessarily recognize the writer on the street, but they do know the writer’s name (and whisper it with reverence, since said writer is A Bestseller).
“The reality of bestsellerdom is much harsher—and I am not talking about the usual statistics of how many bestsellers there are. I’m talking about something that Tracy Hickman had on his website this week.
“For those of you who don’t know, Tracy Hickman is a New York Times bestselling authorwho has sold millions of books. He has published at least forty different novels in a variety of series, including Dragonlance. He has worked with his wife Laura Hickman and with New York Times bestseller Margaret Weis.
“The reason I added “for those of you who don’t know” isn’t because I’m being snarfy about Tracy or demeaning his work in any way. I am, in fact, reinforcing a point he made much better in a blog he posted this week.
“That point: bestselling writers—even those like Stephen King—aren’t really well known.”
Rusch’s blog has much, much more solid, practical advice about writing and publishing.