Why Authors Need to Know about Book Sales Cycles

bicycles racing

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at an excerpt from The Cycles of Book Sales by Anthony Wessel, a book industry veteran and founder of DigitalBookToday.com:

I read indie authors’ blogs about the lack of sales in the past months. Most indie authors have only been through one or maybe two holiday seasons. A book is a product. Just like with most products there is a sales cycle on a year-to-year basis.

Readers are still buying books in the same cycle as they always have. Just on a different medium.

Trend Lines Are Pretty Much the Same

The book industry has sales trend lines that have been consistent for the past forty years. Sales are relatively flat on a week-to-week basis for forty-six weeks out of the year. Slight sales increases are seen on the minor sales holidays. This means approximately the same number of books is being read in any given week compared to the previous year. The marketing efforts of authors and publishers generally do not increase the total number of books that are purchased. The marketing effort is to get the consumer to purchase your product (book) instead of the competitor. A great example is the car industry. Continue Reading…

First Pages of Best-Selling Novels: Avenue of Mysteries

Avenue of Mysteries cover

 I chose one of John Irving’s novels—Avenue of Mysteries—to examine in this week’s look at first pages. I read a lot of his books decades ago. When The World according to Garp came out, I was fascinated by his wild and imaginative way of telling a story. That style has served Irving well, as he’s had numerous best sellers, some of which have been made into films (The Cider House Rules, The Hotel New Hampshire, to name a couple).

Irving’s story topics are wide and wild. It’s challenging, to say the least, to find success as an author by writing books that break so many structural and genre rules. Many of his books are hard to define and slot into a specific genre, and this novel is no exception.

Avenue of Mysteries (2015) is categorized as contemporary fiction, which is what most (maybe all?) of his novels are labeled. But he does throw in a lot of elements of other genres into his novels. Kind of a genre stew of many flavors. Continue Reading…

What Those Strange Pinch Points Are All About

measuring tape around waist

You may have heard of pinch points. Or not. I’m going to take a look at these key markers in a novel because I’m working up to introduce you to my 10-20-30 Scene Builder concept I’ve been putting together.

Because constructing a solid novel is daunting and difficult, having a kind of road map that shows the way makes the difference between arriving at your destination and ending up stuck in a bog in the middle of nowhere.

I see way too many manuscripts with noses sticking up from the muck and no handy tow truck nearby to pull them out. Sometimes it’s better to let them sink down to oblivion.

How much better to follow that road map!

Ever Resisting Structure

Last week we looked at the midpoint. That’s a fairly easy concept to nail, right? On a map, it would be, well, the midpoint. The very middle of journey from A to Z.

But what the heck are pinch points? Do you need them? Where do they go in a novel and what’s their purpose? Continue Reading…

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