eBooks: The Invisible Worm

Over at Dear Author is a post and discussion about the effectiveness of advertising eBooks.


This is an essay in itself, which I don’t intend to do today. But I want to touch on some things.

How have I discovered books?

Bookstores and the public library.

I’d go into a Barnes & Noble and browse the new books in fiction, non-fiction, and several genres. I’d note the titles and authors in my PDA. I’d then check to see if I could get them from the NYPL. (Shut up. I’ve already said why I can’t buy print.)

At the library, sort of ditto. I’d see New Releases in several sections. But I’d also browse the shelves. That’s how I came across the first Ken Bruen book I ever read.

The trouble with the Internet: No shelves!

How will I — how will everyone — find eBooks? Or even writers?

This is an interesting list from my Bookmarks. These are writers I did not encounter until I came across them on the Internet (list is in reverse alpha order by surname because that’s how I lazily copied & pasted them):

Zoe Winters — via a blog post mention somewhere, and she left a Comment on this blog

Anthony Neil Smith — via Victor Gischler (a writer recommended by Ken Bruen)

Jimmy Lee Shreeve — I don’t recall, probably a blog mention somewhere

L.J. Sellers — via a Blog Book Tour post somewhere

John Scalzi — his classic Being Poor post (via MetaFilter at that time)

Jason Pinter — via MySpace

Melanie Phillips — don’t recall, probably a blog post mention

Martin Millar — don’t recall, probably a blog post mention

J.A. Konrath — a blog post mention somewhere

Simon Haynes — via Twitter free eBook offer from a third-party (I think!)

Matthew Gallagher — don’t recall, which is odd, as his blog is very new

Joseph Devon — via a blog post mention somewhere

Cliff Burns — he left a Comment at this blog in its first month

Matthew St. Amand — via MySpace

Notice how only one of these came about because of the writer seeking attention! (Cliff Burns — and the attention wasn’t for himself, it was indirectly as part of a discussion here.)

Most were absolutely indirect. The Internet equivalent of Word Of Mouth.

This is why I mention writers all the time here. This is why I post what books I’ve read (Category: Reading). This is also why I’ve changed my Internet habits and have mostly dropped what I used to do daily: visit mostly tech sites. I can’t find books to read that way. (Plus, technology qua technology mostly bores the shit out of me these days.)

Do you have a blog? Do you mention what books you’ve read? Do you mention writers by name and link to their blog or site or a post that inspired you?

That’s the first step to helping writers get noticed.

The rest I’ll have to save for another time.

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Other, eBooks, Reference - Writing, Uncategorized, Writers - Living, Writing

7 Comments on “eBooks: The Invisible Worm”

  1. zoewinters Says:

    I think you make a very good point here. If I had come to you in some obnoxious way, you would not come to my blog. Now you probably STILL won’t read my fiction, but that’s because i write paranormal romance. If I was writing something you were actually in the market for, our online interaction might persuade you to at least give my work a try.

    It’s connections like this, one person at a time. And then, THOSE connections, the ones who actually read someone’s work and like it, that tell other people, and it slowly expands. But you gotta get out there and stir shit up and say something. And then when people connect with you on one level, if they like something else you’re selling they may connect with you on that level you’re REALLY looking to connect on…your books.

  2. Cliff Burns Says:

    Word of mouth. You can’t factor it into corporate publishing models, can’t predict what READERS will decide is important, what themes and ideas will appeal to them. J.K. Rowling came out of absolutely nowhere and it was parents who spread the word about this neat book about a boy wizard…

    Always enjoy your posts, Mike. And thank you for the support you offered me, indie writers and the new technologies which, God willing, will render editors, agents and other lackeys of contemporary publishing obsolete.

  3. mikecane Says:

    @Zoe: I’d read at least one of your books. But first I have a huuuuge print backlog and now an even bigger eeeeee backlog. But it’ll get in there.

    Oh hell, you could have come at me obnoxiously. And I probably still would have gone to your blog to see WTF? And probably still would have added you to Bookmarks.

    Like I stated here:


    I’ve scragged people and we still get along swell.

    The only person I’ve ever banned here is someone *anyone* would agree is a mental case (and he’s not a writer).

  4. zoewinters Says:

    hahahahaha. okay. :P

  5. The power of “indirect marketing”…you’re hitting on something powerful here, Mike. Not just in terms of acquisition (i.e. getting you hands on the filthy lucre), but also in terms of fun.

    In the past, I’ve tried to get attention in a rational, left brain way. It usually doesn’t go far. I’m talking about advertising and the various internet promo methods that are supposed to work (they do a bit, but they’re not worth the effort in terms of time spent).

    But when I just follow my craziest ideas and just do them for the hell of it, then it works far better – to the tune, on occasion, of getting coverage in the world media.

    As you say, the best books you’ll ever find are by accident. Maybe you browse the shelves and some title jumps up at you – like say “Tobias and the Angel” by Frank Yerby or “Stone Junction” by Jim Dodge. And the books turn out to be wonderful. Or maybe you see an interview or brief story in a newspaper, or catch a blog post…it’s all random chaos. Does it have meaning? I doubt it. But that’s another issue…

    So for the writer, what do you do? You organize a strategy of sheer, utter, total, unadulterated chaos, misdirection and confusion. All of which can be encapsulated under the title: INDIRECT MARKETING.

    Did I mention, I’ve just made myself a consulted in indirect marketing – $2,000 an hour, but I do have some special rates – £1,999 per hour.

    Slightly off the subject, but relevant: the greatest hypno-therapist ever was Milton Erickson. His method was called “indirect hypnosis”. His general ideas could be applied to the marketing of writers. I.e. he would talk about one subject, but metaphorically was talking about his client’s problem.

    I’m working on a new “indirect” project now – purely for the hell of it. All will be revealed soon.

  6. mikecane Says:

    If anyone can come up with something wild, woolly, and workable, I’d bet money on you!

  7. […] See, in a really efficient world, there wouldn’t be eBookstore consolidators. Writers would sell directly from their own sites, direct to readers. The problem is discovery. […]

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