Sunday, October 29, 2017

"How To" Books

First of all, I know I missed a post last week.  Sorry.  Life at work has been overwhelming.  Hopefully it'll lighten up this week.

Now, on to the real topic...

Anyone who is a writer or knows a writer also knows how desperate most are to be successful.  We want fans, prominence in bookstores, a spot on morning talk shows, a movie deal for our latest book, etc.  As a result, most of us will do what we can to figure out the path to success, and that creates a market for other writers.

What do I mean by that?  Well, it seems like my inbox has been flooded over the last year with people trying to sell books where the topic is "How To Be A Successful Writer."  In other words, I'm getting less advertisements about books with plots than I am about books about writing and marketing books.  I have yet to open my email over the last six months without at least one - usually more than one - spam email about how if I use one little trick, my audience will explode and my dreams will come true.  Of course, they can't let me know that little secret unless I plunk down $14.95 or so for it.

Don't get me wrong - some of these tips might be good.  I'm sure that using a few as part of an overall marketing strategy has the potential to increase sales.  However, what I continue to wonder is why the folks trying to sell these books aren't using their own techniques to become super-prolific fiction writers themselves.  Having looked into a lot of them, most are/were fiction writers as well.  So why do they have to write a book about how to be successful instead of using their strategies to be successful themselves?

Keep in mind that their names aren't King, Rowling, or Patterson.  Maybe the people writing these "How To" books have some talent, but they haven't been using it to become the grandiose successes they say they can make other people.  Most folks outside of writing circles have never heard of them, and even most writers wouldn't recognize the names, so what makes them experts at knowing success?

A lot of this seems like a scam designed to prey on those who are overly eager about their careers and will do anything to make it.  It's a great market to try and take advantage of, but fellow writers should be cautious before jumping into these things.  Ask yourself how successful the person offering you their key to success has been, as well as why they're offering it to you.

Yes, be willing to listen to others to help formulate your own path, but be wary about thinking anyone has found the secret.  If that person had the secret, wouldn't he or she be using it to sell his or her own books instead of telling you how to sell yours?

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