the Treasure in Mr. Libner’s Dark Basement

16 Mar

Who is Mr. Libner, and why should you care about his basement? Got you going, didn’t I? Actually, my mysterious character is the name of my old high school principal (rip), and I’ve never been in his basement. But what I’m trying to demonstrate here is the principal of “discoverability.” When you think about going down into his dark confines and finding a treasure, you’re probably curious . . . stimulated, even.

Its what gets us paranormal investigators juiced. Hunting for and maybe finding something from the Great Unknown. But this post isn’t about investigating; its about writing. Many of the followers of this blog are not only investigators, paranormal researchers, or interested readers; they write about this stuff in their own blogs or in their own books, fiction or non. I have just completed all 282 pages of my first novel Lanes End, and am firmly in the grips of hoping its “discovered” by the right people. Not just readers at this point, but also publishers and literary agents.

Unfortunately, what I’ve learned to date is not encouraging. Perhaps cynically, I believe that having a well-written and entertaining novel (as I hope mine is) is not enough. If potential agents and publishers don’t notice, it won’t be seen by readers unless the writer “self-publishes.” That’s the big thing in writing now, the results of which one can see on Amazon/Kindle, Smashwords, and a host of other websites offering authors’s otherwise unpublished ebooks for very low prices.

So not getting attention from publishers and agents who deal with hundreds of submissions emailed to their desks each day is only part of the problem. Now that the glory days of self-publishing have peaked and everyone has dozens of unread ebooks backlogged in their Kindles, the same problem of being noticed among the thousands of self-published books is now upon us.

Anybody can self-publish a book, and huge numbers of anybodys are doing just that.

Back to the principal of discoverability . . . If readers fail to discover a book, they will never have the opportunity to read it. But the ability to be discovered is hampered by the sheer numbers of everyone else seeking the same attention. We as authors need to be discovered by our readers before anything else happens. Someone, somehow has to create an atmosphere of mystery and curiosity in order to have readers want to search us out, just like in Mr. Libner’s basement. Amazon, Smashwords and their cousins don’t do that. They simply pile-on the latest offerings over yesterday’s offerings while thousands buried underneath remain unnoticed.

If you’re a writer (or a reader), do you agree? Are you satisfied with the attention your offerings are getting? Do you have any ideas? Maybe we can put our heads together and figure this out. How do a bunch of writers about spooky things get our work discovered?

Please comment. Mr. Libner has lots of hiding places.

 

Copyright 2016, Paul Hill
All Rights Reserved

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3 Responses to “the Treasure in Mr. Libner’s Dark Basement”

  1. Bill Kast March 17, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

    Methinks the treasure in Mr. Libner’s (rip) dark basement is perhaps his old white tux jacket that he lent me to go to the Junior Prom.

    Seriously though, I understand your distress. Part of the problem of course is the ubiquity of creations enabled by the digital age. Writing with pen and paper is difficult and time consuming. Writing with a typewriter made things an order of magnitude easier. Now with word processors and spell check and voice to text capabilities, the physical process of putting word to page has become nearly effortless. Enter digital publishing, and the glut of new writing becomes a tsunami.

    Your question is how to stand out from the crowd and be noticed. To that, my friend, I have no easy answer. Quality stands on its own, quality work will be noticed (sadly often after the author has perished!). In the meantime, shameless self promotion can’t hurt a bit.

    Like

    • Paul Hill March 17, 2016 at 10:06 pm #

      Bill, a tsunami it is. Being published posthumously is a most dubious honor, but its a real possibility at my (our) tender age. Even with a successful publishing contract, it could still take a year or two before one’s book actually hits the market. That’s one argument for self-publishing, where in theory one could be an overnight success. It has happened. In the meantime I’ll take your advice and continue to shamelessly self-promote. Lanes End is a great story! So when are you coming through my town again?

      Like

  2. kerberos616 March 16, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

    Reblogged this on Kerberos616.

    Like

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