“How are readers going to find your work among the millions of crappy stories out there?” Is a question I’ve received repeatedly since I announced a couple weeks ago that I was going to jump on the indi bandwagon and self publish my work.

To be perfectly honest it isn’t a concern I actually have. Let me explain why;

For years and years people have been able to find the types of stories they like among thousands, indeed millions of books at bookstores. How?

Well by critical thinking, that thing that people forget that other people actually do. When someone is looking for a new read, or even an old read, they look in that catagory. Say someone, like me, is looking online for a new read. They read Fantasy, they like romance, so they type in the search engine those two terms. And a selection of those types of books comes up.

Guess what? The reader found books to skim through, they read over the blurbs, they look at the covers and the things that catch their interest they buy.

And they didn’t need anyone to hold their hand and say “Ok dear, there’s the books you’ll like, right over there…”

They used their brains. Because, despite how it sometimes feels, everyone really does have one. And everyone is capable of searching to find what they are interested in without being told by anybody what is good and what is crap.

Though don’t get me wrong, having a friend say “Read this by ________, it is a great book!” holds greater weight than what anyone else could tell them.

But seriously, writers need to give their potential readers more credit. Is there a lot out there? There always has been. And as always, some of it is crap and some of it is gold, and to further complicate matters one man’s crap is another man’s gold. People have always been able to really find the things they are looking for, one way or another.

Kristine Rusch’s post Odds, Ends, and More Slush Pile Truths discusses this very thing, among many other things, I highly recommend you read it and think about it.

And give your potential reader some more credit. They’re big kids, they can find your work. If you have it up for sale that is, if it is sitting on your computer’s harddrive no one will be given the opportunity to love or hate it, because no one but you can see it.

So if you are hoping to bag an agent, catch an editor’s attention or self publish it yourself, don’t allow the fear of “crap books out there” or “internet noise” or “tight competition” to sway you from trying to accomplish your goals. As DWS has said “Dare to be bad.” Give a story the chance to sink or swim you might be surprised by what does and doesn’t.

And those are my thoughts. What are yours?

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2 thoughts on “But how…?

  1. The problem is that they have to look in so many different places on the Internet. It’s not like walking into a single store: These days have to be willing to shop through a bunch of little cubby hole stores in different strip malls or go straight to the author’s home (website) to find the work. So the authors have to leap up and down if they want to draw attention — leap higher and higher with everyone else doing the same.

    Patience and perseverance is the key. That and continuing to write and improve. All you need is for enough people to say ‘Hey! I liked this story!’ and start spreading the word, because none of us can reach everyone on our own.

    We have time on our side, though.

    1. The concern I have with doing the arm waving is some people are turned off by that.

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