does publicity help sell books?

I hadn’t visited J.A. Konrath’s blog in a while, so I decided to check out his latest articles and maybe see how his beer diet is going.  I found this lovely gem of an article on the best way to boost sales of your ebook.  He specifically tears apart the idea that publicity sells books.  It’s worth reading, especially if you self-publish.  The part that jumped out at me is the importance of writing lots of books.  (May have mentioned this before but I don’t have time right now to search for the post.  Will try to add it later.)

Then I began thinking.  If that’s the new model, I wonder if that means that books like Gone With the Wind or To Kill a Mockingbird–books that are their author’s single shout in the crowd–will pass by unnoticed.  If the book is great enough, I want to believe that nothing else matters.

It has to be true, because there’s always been a system and that system has never been ideal.  Books get lost in the crowd, unread.  But great books manage to find an audience eventually.  They find it because people who read a great book want to tell their friends.  And those friends tell other friends and pretty soon, to use a modern phrase, it goes viral.  This has always been true.  It will continue to be true.

The trick is to write something great.  From what I’ve experienced, that’s quite a trick.  Still working on it.


4 thoughts on “does publicity help sell books?

  1. Well, he’s right in that writers probably have heard of him more for his “mouthpiece” publicity than for his actual novels. My Twitter in-box is absolutely chock-full of tweets offering me a free book, but I rarely respond to them. I need to spend more time writing, so reading has to take a back seat, plus, I know which genres I’m interested in, so twelve daily promos for YA Romance from one author isn’t going to gain a sale from me. I think the answer is to target accurately, and make sure your product will satisfy and entertain, so that any name recognition you are able to generate will pay off in sales.


  2. Pingback: Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #20 — The Book Designer

  3. Thanks for sharing that link, it is eye-opening isn’t it? I guess it depends on what you class as success. There are some people who have had the surge into the top 100 on Amazon and seen things take off, but would it have happened without twitter or facebook? Interesting about his views on doing the deal. Is it worth it anymore? I would like to have the option 🙂



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