Lately I've been noticing that a lot of threads about "failing" books have been posted, and that there is a lot of people here who gives honest and clear comments with their opinion, so i decided to create a new one about (can you imagine?) a book (mine) and its numbers so I can check if it's me or only the normal trend.
The thing is: late to the party, recently i discovered about this amazing KDP thing that let you publish (freely) almost anything. As it was a big pending "dream" for me, I decided to publish one book (original language: spanish). Obviously, before doing so I read a lot about self-publishing, marketing and all that. The thing was:
1 book sell the first day after publishing (in Germany!!! I thought that was maybe a spanish student there or something. Now I think that maybe there was a Library or something like this that "automatically" bought it. I will never know who bought it -but whoever was: thank you!-)
Big blank (0 sales. Ok, 3 paperback sales, but it was me buying my own book. The "dream", do you remember?)
Since day one, I'm working hard trying my best with "social media". I create a Facebook profile and page, Goodreads profile, etc. and try to join some literature groups and so, etc. I tried to "let the people know" about this new book, bla, bla bla, but I don't want to be annoying/boring about it. My main problem is that, in fact, in real life, I don't care about social media (no Facebook real profile and virtual "friends", etc.), and I soon noticed that where you're allowed to post this kind of "subtile" messages, there were a lot of people/authors spamming with the same kind of "amazing/great new book - you should read it - look at this - now available, etc." text (as myself did several times on different groups, trying not to be agressive or annoying). Also, I had no virtual, unknown friends, and no in real life friends connected to my profile (as I don't want to annoy them with this kind of messages, and I don't care about social media...). And soon I decided that I was not going to waste my time trying to "look" cool or friendly with completely unknown people "chatting" or leaving comments about things I don't care, etc. (I dislike to be fake), as well as I wasn't going to be a monotonous and monothematic spammer about my book. I tried, but this kind of "marketing" or whatsoever anyone can call it is not my kind of thing. And, while trying, the "0 sales" was frozen there for days.
Then, i tried to do the "free book" promotion. I had 36 - 15 - 10 - 6 downloads during my 4 days trial. I was excited because "someone" was downloading it. At least I know 1 person who read it, and gave an excellent comment here (thank you!). but seems the rest are just "freebie addicts" that just download anything without looking or caring about it, just because it is free. I don't know, but I suppose there was only 1 reader. And, anyway, the "spread the word" (still combined with Facebook and so), didn't work.
While this, I translated the book to english. Sincerely, with the hope that maybe in english would be more potential buyers. I published the english version... And... 0 sales.
I "promoted" the english version, Goodreads, etc... "0 sales". Then I decided to put it free, just to check. And, surprisingly, only 6 and 2 people downloaded it until now (and tomorrow would be 0, I suppose, if the trend is like in spanish version). Only 8 persons from the "potential millions of readers" here downloaded it. And I bet they are "freebie addicts" for sure XDD.
So: really, is the book THAT bad? Is it SO difficult to get your book to be known for 1 person between 100,000 without becoming a full day annoying spammer? Or, as some people say, this is just a giant book cemetery with billions of dead titles were I've put mine, dropped to the end of the pile, and I cannot expect nothing else that these "freebie addicts" downloads?
Sorry about the long post... just getting all this thinking out of my head. XD
Your blurb is only three sentences. That is not enough to even start to describe the story let alone sell your story to a potential reader. Also, your introduction or forward, whatever it is, is unintelligible. It is a string of unrelated sentences and not a coherent collection of thoughts.
Dear Raul - it would appear that you are at the end of the beginning of your self-publishing journey. You have tried to promote your book on social media and all that you find if that there are a bunch of other authors spamming their books back at you. This is because social media is just a giant spam factory, with more and more spam being produced and distributed every day. Nobody cares about the spam that other people are producing, they only care about the spam that they are producing, which of course nobody else cares about, and so all that we are left with is a giant mountians of unwanted spam. And somewhere, inside of all that spam is a book that is even more unwanted than all of those unwanted piles of spam.
Then - you have tried giving your book away for free, and thereby encountered the "freebie addicts". Like spam, the free books lie upon the kindles of the freebie addicts by the tens of thousands of millions, and will remain there lying unread and unremembered. Will any of those freebie addicts spread the word about your book beccause they once twitched their finger upon a link that downloaded your book for free once upon a time on a forgotten day long, long ago? No, they will not. Its just more forgotten bits of data in this already data-exhausted world.
As you correctly observe, there is a giant book cemetary with billions of dead titles where you have dropped yours...
In order to escape all of this unwanted, spammy, and free hideousness, what you need to do - before you write a single word of any book - is go onto Amazon and analyze the markets, and what people are actually paying real money for. Think about what you want to write, and then see what genres, what subgenres, and what niches that are similar to what you want to write - are selling like wooly jumpers in a cold snap. Get the look, the feel, and the style of those books that are selling crazily, and then write and tailor and publish accordingly. It's really that simple. All that you have to do is write and publish what people want to buy. Then, maybe - just maybe - you'll crawl out of the giant book cemetary and start to breathe the fresh clean air of books sold and money earned.
The time to improve your book is before you publish, not after. Reading your prose, I found myself hoping you had used a machine translator. It's depressing to think you could have more than twenty errors in two paragraphs and never realise it. Whatever story you're trying to tell is totally lost amidst all the errors, the awkward phrasing, the meaningless foreign words, and the poor formatting. And the problem starts at the very beginning -- what does your title even mean? Google thought I was looking for "mustangs."
I hate to say it, but I think you're wasting money throwing it at your book. What you're paying for adverts could have been used to get a good editor and a professional cover. When I visited your sales page, the book was free, but after looking inside I gave it a pass. I saw no portent of a good reading experience.
And giving it away is not a good idea when you have nothing else to offer. If any of the downloads are actually read, any sort of a good review would be shocking. Paradoxically, freebie vultures are more likely to leave bitter and scathing reviews than are people who actually paid coin of the realm.
Since you can't buy commercial time on the telly or wireless, you're stuck with social media, and that includes subscription services like BookBub. As with everything, however, you have to be smart about it, from only accepting certain followers to avoiding promoters who do nothing you can't do yourself. The scattershot strategy you descr*ibe is not the way to go, even if you had a book worth publicising. What most people don't understand is that you have to work hard for a year or more to establish a valid presence, then have to work even harder thereafter to keep from falling back into obscurity.
According to the few responses I've got, I've changed the blurb in order to give some more information about the story itself (it's short and has some twists that can be easily spoiled, that's why it was so short).
But about the "more than 20 errors in one or two paragraphs", I'm sorry but cannot see them... Even if you consider an "error" a new word that doesn't exist and is bolded(like "mushang"... Obviously Google doesn't know what you tried to mean and suggests "mustang"). Also, I cannot perceive which is the "poor format" thing... Is it about the font used? Its size? Bleeding?
The introduction can be a bit strange, I agree. But it has all the sense later.
About social media and all this spamming, I've decided long time ago to not going any further with this kind of awful thing, but it is really depressing to know that is the only way to let anyonw to know about something that, otherwise, is perfectly lost under a billion of similar things. Sad, but true.
About being at the "end of the begining of my self-publishing", sounds better that the "begining of the end". Thanks.
I've tried again with the last day for free I had to spare, and got... ¡¡¡1!!! Download all over the world. Impressive. Maybe he/she was a "freebie addict" who was in holidays during the last free promotion XD.
Post the first two paragraphs in plain text and i will be happy to show you those twenty errors. They are straightforwards grammatical mistakes that would be very jarring to a reader who is a native speaker of English in the US, UK etc.
Dear Emily, I hope you're talking seriously about helping XD.
Is there a way to send you a private message?
It would be great to get a little advice about something that for sure is obvious and maybe could be ashaming for me, but I hope I can get it solved. Translation was performed with my Best intention in order to make the story available (I didn't expect a great result, I'll be happy if it's just some grammar tricks, the use of the past or the wording connotation), but now I'm afraid the translation wasn't only a bit clunky or poor, but so bad that the reading is almost impossible... Is that the case? I hope some little general advice from you can help me to get something readable XD
Certainly, there are some repeated grammatical issues that should be fixable once you identify them. You can send the first few pages to veinglory at gmail.com. I am not a professional copyeditor but I am practiced at getting manuscripts to a submission-ready standard. if you can invest a little, there are some very reasonable copyeditors on fiver who could do the whole manuscript.
"In antiquity, our people was not such, it was actually two small ethnic groups." is your first sentence.
"People" is plural, so it should be "our people were". But "our people were not" ... what? The word "such" doesn't belong there. I'd suggest something like, "In the beginning, our people were divided into two groups, not one as they are now." And when you're talking about your people, you want to refer to them as "we", not "it".
I don't have the time or patience to go through every sentence, but that's an example. Hope it helps. And Ward is right -- your title is confusing, since 'mushang' is close enough to 'mustang' to look like a typo.
Raúl Gómez wrote:
The introduction can be a bit strange, I agree. But it has all the sense later.
That right there is a problem. As was pointed out, the beginning of the story is hard to read and understand. It seems to be nothing, but long paragraphs about nothing very interesting. If a person picks up your book and flips it open to the first couple of pages and can't make sense of the story, they're going to put it back on the shelf. They aren't going to hope that it makes sense later.
One of the most important rules of story writing is that your opening pages need to grab the reader and not let go.If you haven't grabbed them by the end of page two you're fighting a losing battle.
Thank you for your replies.
I'll review (again) the main text in order to catch and correct this kind of (noob/not enough good english) errors.
Regarding the first paragraph... Wow, it's sad to notice that something that (for me) sounded interesting enough to arise some curiosity (a heavily wounded character, in a cell, saying that everyone knew something wrong would happen and that the cause of everything was among them since long time ago), is perceived as meaningless and without any kind of interest to continue reading in order to discover "what"...
I'll rework the english translation as soon as possible with your suggestions and comments in mind.
My sense is that it's much harder to translate text from one's first language to a second language than vice-versa, even if one is a competent speaker in both.
I managed to translate a short, non-fiction book from French to English (my native language) and did a pretty good job of it, if I do say so myself. I would never attempt to translate in the opposite direction, though.
I can take a literal English translation of a "foreign" text (such as Google Translate might produce), and usually get enough of the gist of what the original meant to convey to straighten out the awkward phrasing, inapt word choices, and mangled idioms. But I'm sure that any translation I made from English to French or Spanish, etc., with or without the help of software, would elicit guffaws from native speakers of those languages.