Monday, June 05, 2006

B&N Induced Depression

I think I might just stay away from Barnes and Noble or Borders from now on, because frankly, my recent visit there over the weekend was rather depressing.

Imagine, if you will, that you have a book you are trying to get published. This book, in order to succeed, must be bought. Which means readers must find the book, pick it up, flip through it perhaps, and decide it looks good. That last part would be the responsibility of the author and publisher. But that first part...that's the tricky part.

As I walked the aisles of the YA section, I was a bit overwhelmed at just how many books there are competing for the same age group. How is my book supposed to be noticed in all of that? The thought is disheartening. I followed around this one little boy (until his father noticed me and threatened to knock me upside the head, calling me a pervert or something) trying to observe his thought process in picking out a book. It wasn't all that encouraging, because he wasn't much different from my own son. Of all the books to read, he headed straight for the Star Wars section. Typical. Good old George needs another buck or two, after all.

Depression set in around that point. Because even if I find an agent and a publisher picks up my can I expect anyone to find my book in all of that? I'll be lucky to sell a single copy in such a store! My career as an author is over before it even begins!

Of course, authors do make it, so apparently it can happen. I have to believe that at this point. On Backspace, we've discussed this. Marketing is such a huge part of publishing. And marketing to the YA market is altogether different from the adult market. I've got some marketing ideas of my own which, hopefully, will help. We'll see.

So, I want everyone here to make me a promise, okay? When the time comes that my book is sold and about to hit the shelves, you'll tell any young adult you know about it, okay? Easy enough, right? And if you're really committed to me, you'll actually buy a copy. Or two. Or ten.

I'm not there yet, however...but I figured I should get promises early to help me over my B&N induced depression. Thanks.


Lyrehca said...

Ryan--do you have an agent? Often agents can be good sources about how your book might best be marketed. I've also heard that when your book sells, it makes sense to hire an independent book publicist (using a portion of your advance) to work on a publicity campaign so that your book doesn't fall solely to the publisher's book publicity department, who are often overworked and are juggling an entire season's worth of books on their plates.

Also, it sounds like you're writing fiction, yes? With non-fiction, a marketing plan is often part of the book proposal. With fiction, though, you can certainly come up with good marketing strategies as well.

Have you completed the manuscript yet? (Forgive me if this is common knowlege; I just started reading your blog)...

Scott K. Johnson said...

Count me for a sale (and promotions too)!

RyanBruner said...


I'm currently in the agent-search process...and actually have a bit of potential agent interest. But no offers for representation yet.

My (fiction, young-adult) manuscript is complete, however, yes.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you stick around!

RyanBruner said...


Woohoo! Thanks, my man!

Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

I'll be one of your soldiers, Ryan!

Lyrehca said...

Good luck with the agent search; I know it can take awhile, but I have friends who have matched up well with agents (as I hope to down the road when I complete my novel manuscript) after a long period. Keep on going--it only takes one!