Please read Part 5 first
So, you toiled away writing your book, had it professionally edited, and it bombed. I don’t mean it only sold 10 copies because your marketing effort was worthless, I mean you sent it out for review and they emptied their colon on it. Your book was properly formatted, professionally edited and even had a great cover. The content simply sucked. Why? Did you put forth a Milton? Admit it, you probably did. There was some personal agenda or affinity for some subject or character which made you put that character/subject front and center for the entire book instead of giving it the bit character role it deserved.
Personally, I hate being asked to review books. During my youth I read voraciously but now, I have to really want to read something. I spend hundreds of dollars on computer books each year reading only a few pages or a single chapter at most of each. Why? Those pages had the one thing I bought the book for. I was trying to solve a problem or learn a very specific thing and those pages had the answer. The other pages were probably very fine too, but I simply don’t have the time to read them.
Assuming a book has been professionally edited (multiple rounds, not one and done) AND correctly formatted, which is an assumption of biblical proportions, what bothers me most is the vast majority will be one of two things:
1) A collection of tired formula story lines chosen either by writer preference or, more likely, they read some article stating “these are the trending book story lines.” They then use the short checklist of tools from a creative writing class in an attempt to string these things together to “capture the market.” The result has all of the feel of a Wal-mart product. Something knocked off an assembly line in a third world country rather than something which can make any claim to craftsmanship.
2) They are an Al Gore Milton. The author pushes an agenda so hard they deliberately leave out everything which contradicts what they believe. This is fine if you happen to be writing copy for Fox News since journalism doesn’t enter the picture on that channel, but if you are writing something to sell to a slightly more educated public (more educated in that they can actually read where I would believe the majority of Fox News watchers cannot) you are going to have to fund a “Star Wars” level marketing campaign. Television ads, newspaper and radio ads, even toys in kids meals at burger joints.
This is not meant to say you cannot write and market an Al Gore Milton work. Just know that it is a thin niche. An intelligent individual can make money with such a creature. (Okay, an intelligent individual wouldn’t create an Al Gore Milton, just go with this a second) There are certain things one must do though. We will cover those in the next installment.