If you’ve ever gotten ‘serious’ about becoming a best-selling author or making any type of substantial money off of your fictional writing endeavors, you have no doubt went to Amazon to peruse the “how-to” manuals when it comes to writing, marketing, and promoting your latest works. You probably joined no less than a few dozen “marketing” FB groups, and possibly became so overwhelmed with the sea of information and misinformation that you began to question whether or not you should even try to make a living as a fictional writer.
Looking at all the “how-to” books out there that promise everything from telling you the secrets to gaming Amazon’s algorithms and teaching you how to write books which will sell hundreds of thousands of copies to how to master Amazon product ads and Facebook ads, it all just seems to be a bit too good to be true.
Am I seriously the only one who looks at these types of books and wonders if anyone actually believes this shit? I mean, does anyone actually stop and think about what these books are promising on an intellectual level. It has to at least make a person question the validity of the promises, not to mention the sanity of one who would openly share such “top-secret” knowledge. If nothing else, these books should make a person ask two very important things – if it’s really so easy to become a best-selling author, then everyone should be able to become one, right? But in all honesty, we all know that simply isn’t true. So, of course, these books couldn’t possibly promise to make you a better author or that your books will suddenly become the next big thing. So that leaves the final question which seems to be such a no-brainer that it even makes me wonder how anyone pushing these types of books off on newbies could even rank on Amazon, much less sell actual copies – if you had really discovered the ‘secret-sauce’ to making a shit-ton of money selling fictional books, why on God’s green earth would you then write about it in a book and try to sell it to others?
This last part literally makes no sense to me. Let’s say I figure out how to completely master Amazon ads and get them to work for me no matter what pathetic piece of fiction I had just farted out. Why on earth would I then want to tell others about it? That is literally counter-productive. All I did was empower my competition thus making it even harder to make a living for myself in a market already saturated with way too many books. So exactly why would I be inclined to tell others about it? Sure, I might make a few quick bucks, but if what I was saying within the pages of that “how-to” manual actually worked, why wouldn’t I just write more fiction books and apply what I had learned to make an unending stream of income? Why would I want to tell anyone my secrets?
It’s like the whole “feed a man a fish” versus “teach a man to fish” type thing. I once had a friend who tried desperately to convince me to start a bunch of how-to videos on how to format books and then sell those videos despite the fact I also had a book formatting business on the side. My first thought was, if I teach them how to do it themselves then they won’t come to me to buy my services. It’s the same principle. If I actually knew how to make any book into a bestseller, I’d be cranking out books left and right, hire myself a huge ghostwriter team, and use that knowledge to propel my own books and name into bestseller status. I would hold on to that ‘secret sauce’ formula for as long as possible. The furthest thing from my mind would be to write a book outlining all my ‘secrets’ and then sell it. At the very least, I might start my own PR firm to put my ‘magic’ to work for others, but selling the secret? Yeah, I don’t think so.
So, I have to once again ask why on earth anyone who actually knew how to catapult any fiction novel into bestseller status or actually understood and could get Amazon ads to work for them would bother sharing that information? I honestly feel like these books are less likely to help the average author and more inclined to believe they were written solely to make the author of those books into bestsellers rather than help the people who actually bought them.
PS – if you actually manage to find someone who knows what they are talking about and is willing to share it, please, for the love of everything which is holy, buy that person a beer!