I have known two exceptionally astute senior editors. Back in 1991, the Crown editor gave me the word relationship that led to the publication of A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story. In 2012, the Wayman senior editor gave me the phrase Dulcy’s Companion Book that led to the final cover for A Cat’s Legacy. Both these women have been a blessing in my life.
Recently, I spoke with that same Waymen editor about A Cat’s Legacy and why it may not be selling. She believes the new cover, which I introduced to you in last Sunday’s posting, will help. As perhaps the purchase price will. However, she also believes that readers, before deciding to order a book, look not only at the cover, title, and price but also at the number of reviews it’s received.
As of today, February 3, 2013, A Cat’s Legacy has only eight reviews. Wayman’s senior editor thinks it needs more before prospective buyers will consider it a book worth buying.
How many more? Well, that’s debatable. A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story has twenty-two reviews from its first publication in 1992 in hardcover and its second publication in 2012 as an e-book, and yet it isn’t selling well either. Perhaps it, too, needs more reviews.
Of course, reviews may be only a part of this. Publicity is probably the major influence in the sell of any book. In years past, the publishing company did the publicity. And surely Wayman has done its part in publicizing both of Dulcy’s books.
However, unlike 1992 when Crown published A Cat’s Life, today’s large, contemporary publishing houses demand that writers have a “platform.” That is, a means by which they themselves can get word out about the book. This platform may be any or all of the following: blog, Facebook, Twitter, web site, radio show, PBS series, seminar or conference given around the country. That is, any writing or personal appearance that puts the author out in front of a large audience that might buy the book.
Last week, a fellow blogger and author of several well-received and read books sent me an e-mail response to my comment on her blog. Given her past success, her words about platform stunned me. Right now, she is writing another book, and her agent has explained to her what’s necessary in today’s publishing world:
Publishing has changed so very much. Even with all my experience, I feel like a beginner—not in terms of writing, but in terms of the business. Book proposals are now 75% marketing and 25% content. It used to be the opposite. And last year, I read somewhere that you couldn't claim your blog as a decent "platform" unless you were getting 10,000 page views a month. I felt so discouraged as that seemed such an impossible number. But in the last two months, I've been averaging 12,000+ page views a month! Still not a whole bunch of Followers, but a good number of page views.
Dr. Kathleen McCoy went on to explain that a series of postings she did on parents/adult-children relationships changed the number of page views she began to receive per month.
So I’m left wondering if perhaps my blogs simply don’t appeal because of what I write about. I have two. One is an on-line memoir on which I post a story of my life each Wednesday. The other is the one you are reading right now. It is a memoir of my life as a writer seeking publication.
For the first, I have 205 followers and fewer than 2,000 page views a month; for this second one, I have 25 followers and fewer than 200 page views a month. So you see, I literally have no platform.
Dr. McCoy believes that a platform may be necessary only for nonfiction. So perhaps the novel I’ve written—The Reluctant Spy—won’t need a platform. We’ll see. All I’m sure of right now is that for each of the past three months, neither of Dulcy’s books has sold more than five copies.
The bottom line to this lengthy posting is that I’d greatly appreciate any help you can give me with the following:
- Writing a book review on Amazon or Goodreads for A Cat’s Legacy and/or A Cat’s Life if you haven’t already done so.
- Asking those to whom you’ve given the book(s) to write a review.
Thank you. And peace to you ever and always, pressed down and overflowing.