I usually don’t care for books like this at all. The famed writer scribbles down how he went about creating bestsellers and how you can do it, too. Yeah right. Stephen King’s books has probably been most helpful in this regard, though not all that much, being from the previous generation and publishing industry, that tome really doesn’t contain much practicality anymore for would-be writers.
I commend Locke for his approach, although, I suspect there was more to it than he addresses. Having only read this book, I’m unable to consider his writing as a novelist. Then again, I don’t put much stock in opinions about other writers. There are some horrible books out there that are Bestsellers. There are also some really great stories (who cares what the quality of the writing is) and other authors seem elated as smearing the faults all up and down main street.
To me (and who really cares what I think), the only real litmus test is book sales. And personal satisfaction. Maybe an author writes his entire life and sells few titles, but has thoroughly enjoyed his own stories and has a small group of readers. How can that not be a success, too? Yes, I know. Not everyone gets a gold metal. This is why I prefer JA Konrath’s statement about selling books:
I’ve done things in the past to increase my sales. Blog tours. Sending out review copies. Visiting bookstores. And I saw some success doing these things. But that success pales next to simply being discovered by strangers who haven’t heard of you before. Kobo and Amazon make it easy to find ebooks you like. Their user interfaces are surprisingly smart. Instead of pimping the books you’ve got, spend time writing more books to publish, then let their algorithms do their thing.
As far as Locke’s approach, yeah, I’m glad it worked for him. Could I copy what he’s done and, more importantly, get similar results? I’m a little more skeptical. The major reason is John seems focused on social media. I, personally, despise it. I have both a Facebook and Twitter account, but rarely use either of them. They are social, and I prefer the darkness and obscurity of my writing room. This is why I’m drawn so much more to a Konrath approach. Which one is better? Who cares. Both these guys have sold millions as self published authors.
In the end, this is really a win-win for writers. If you enjoy chatting (or whatever it is they actually do on Twitter), then John’s approach might be a good idea to market your books. If you are more like me, more comfortable in isolation, trying your hand at Konrath’s advice might be a better idea. Either way, writers no longer have to wrestle with the bygone problems and gatekeepers of the previous publishing world. Now anyone can publish a book. Everyone can. The good stuff will eventually rise to the top of the list.