My Opinion on Everything

K. S. Brooks with the Washington Post NewshoundThat’s right: I have an opinion on everything. I’ve shown you what your minimal requirements should be for building your author empire here. Now I’m going to tell you some other things you need to know.

1. Backlist. Having only one published book is NOT going to cut it. You need lots of books. If you expect to sell a million books, having a million titles to sell is a phenomenally good idea. That would mean you’d only have to sell one of each title to reach your goal. Of course, you know you can easily sell one book. So, your goal should be to write a good portion of the books you intend to sell. This is such simple logic. I don’t understand why no one gets this.

2. Loss Leader. A loss leader is something that you don’t mind losing money on because it draws people to your offerings and they purchase your other stuff. It’s like the sacrificial lamb of your backlist. This is something every author should have. I’m very good at loss leaders, so take my word for it. I have 10 of them.

3. Multiple Genres. Writing and publishing across multiple genres is an excellent strategy. What if people get tired of sparkly vampires? Well then, your character-driven drama about depressed cross-dressing bagel store employees can pick up the slack. But you know, not everyone likes bagels (the nerve!), so it’s good to have something else available like the tale of a crew of construction working puppies beating the odds and deadlines to get a new dog house built, and the romantic yet poignant, angst-laden journey of an alcoholic shark whisperer who’s finally met his match. Multiple genres give your readership a broader selection from which to choose. How can you go wrong?

4. Invent Genres. Nothing is going to raise curiosity more than a genre no one’s ever heard of. How about Apocalyptic Alternative Medical Occupational Fiction? Or Contemporary Legal Zombie Erotica? What could be more interesting than undead lawyers in lust? Space Opera Literary Non-Fiction is something that just cannot be ignored. And honestly – who could resist Buddhist Noir?

5. Pricing. Lots of people have lots of opinions on this. I tend to be like Joe Konrath – with much less facial hair, of course – when it comes to this topic. Don’t under price your stuff, but make sure you have a loss leader. See Item #2 above. You can read more about Joe’s philosophies here.

6. Freebies. I’m not convinced freebies actually get an author anywhere, other than eligibility for a “non-profit” status. Yes, I’m non-profit, just not on purpose. That’s my slogan. If you use it, I’ll sue you. But in any case, freebies will gain you some exposure, and some reviews, which are both good things. I recommend doing a “local” freebie without any hoopla first – just 2 days – in order to get the minimum amount of reviews you need before you go for the big one. When you’re ready to run the big KDP Select freebie promotion, make sure to properly prepare by following Rex Jameson’s tutorial here.

7. Exposure. The right kind of exposure is important. The wrong kind can result in a night spent behind bars with some unsavory characters from whom you would probably be better off hiding your true identity. Take advantage of forums like Indies Unlimited which give authors a free place to show their stuff without risking violation of code 311. Not that I’m at all familiar with anything of the sort.

Take this advice and go yonder into the publishing world with newfound tenacity and fortitude. And remember this important lesson: Buddhists wear orange – but so do prison inmates.

Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist, photographer, and photo-journalist, author of over 30 titles, and executive director and administrator of Indies Unlimited. Brooks is currently a photo-journalist and chief copy editor for two NE Washington newspapers.  She teaches self-publishing and writing topics for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page.

30 thoughts on “My Opinion on Everything”

  1. Love what you said about genres. In the music business if you write a song that appeals to country fans and rock fans, you’ve got a “crossover HIT!” But in the book business, if you’ve got a western with gunfights AND Romance they tell you you can’t sell it!!!

    They actually think readers only buy one kind of book…Arline, who both reads and writes Some of Everything!

  2. Working on that backlist with all this time I don’t have. One of these days a couple of em’ will get put out there. Maybe they’ll turn into loss leaders as well so I can tick two items off this list :).

  3. Ha ha – lovely post, Kat, but with my sales, I take the longer-term view: hell, I might not benefit, but I can imagine the court hearing in 60 years’ time when my great grandchildren have to fight to divide up the $100 royalty check Amazon sends to my estate, when I finally sell enough copies 🙂

    And as for new genres, how about cute, adorable puppies who misbehave, make one poor guy’s life hell, and discover…. sex!

    1. Chris, since you’ve already got 5 titles in publication – you just need a few thousand more to get those sales headed where you want them. Chin up! 😉

  4. Backlist? I ain’t got no backlist? I don’t need no backlist! I don’t have to show you no steenkin’ backlist!

    Sorry. Went all Dobbs in the head there. Great post, Kat!

  5. Hmm, I just may have a million opinions. Not sure they are all book worthy. But I’m equally unable to find a reason why that would stop me. I better go get writing! I’ll give you my opinion once I’ve written all my other opinions into full length books, sold one of each and am basking in the $300,000 in ones.

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