March 2, 2011
How to Sell Millions of Books
It actually started with someone else's thought, but quickly spun off into a deep, philosophical, money-hungry conversation between me and some of my fellow L.A.-based teen fiction writers. Basically, we were discussing a Huffington Post article about this nice self-published author, Amanda Hocking, and were trying to figure out her secret—you know, how she managed to go from egregiously rejected to supremely successful author (of eBooks, no less). I mean, she's buying a house…with cash…that she made writing books. That hardly ever happens! Certainly not to me.
Anyway, I thought and thought (seriously, I thought for at least five minutes), and then the secret formula dawned on me. I thought about it a little longer and (lucky you!) decided it would be greedy and selfish not to share it. I mean, publishing companies have been trying to figure out the secret book-selling formula for years. Granted, it couldn't have happened until now*, but I can't believe I actually cracked the code—and now you get to benefit. Of course you should feel free to pass this information along to whoever might be interested. It might sound too simple to be true, but I swear...this is FOR REAL. So without further ado, here it is...
1. Write a book that Stephenie Meyer fans would like. (Start with something like forbidden love with someone freakish or undead...or both!)
2. Design a creepy-looking cover. (Something with trees, branches or vines = perfect!)
3. Make your book available for download. (This is key because Stephenie Meyer writes big, fat tomes that have already taken up all available space on your target readers' bookshelves.)
4. Sell your book for 99 cents. (Yes, just 99 cents. Here's why: Have you ever gone to the 99 Cents-Only store and bought a bunch of crap you didn't really need or even want because--hello?--at 99 cents, even a piece of crap is a bargain? Or, have you downloaded a song on iTunes that you weren't even sure you really wanted and/or already had somewhere in your boxed-up old CD collection because, hey, it's only 99 cents? If someone recommended a book to you or you read about it on the Huffington Post or in a magazine or saw a segment about it on the news and it sounded even remotely intriguing, and then you found out it would only set you back 99 cents…would you buy it? I'm betting 99 cents you would.)
5. Become a unicorn enthusiast (if you aren't already).**
And there you have it!
* Because this is a P.S.M. (post-Stephenie Meyer) code.
** Sure, I'm a bitter, worst-selling author, but this rant is not intended to judge or disparage Amanda Hocking, nor her success, in any way. I'm sure she's worked damn hard--above and beyond the five steps outlined here--and I say more power to her. Go Amanda, go! Ride that million-dollar unicorn, you self-published slice of awesomeness!