Originally posted on October 21, 2011
A few months ago, I bought and read John Locke’s book, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! I don’t need to sell a million books in five months or even in a year or so, but I wanted to know how he did it and decide if any of his ideas would work for me. He has a great strategy and I’m glad it works for him, but it’s not for me (although I tried at first). Those of you who know me know I’ve compared my philosophy to Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams (“If you build it, they will come”). Only for me, it’s been, “If you write it, they will read.”
But, like any writer, I need to find my target audience, and it needs to find me. It’s a slow process, but I believe it’s working. My target audience, I think, is and always will be smallish. And I’m okay with that. I know my writing isn’t for everyone. But more on that in a moment. I feel the need to backtrack.
In September, I received a not-so-great review for Tangled Web on Amazon. I’d prepared myself (I thought) for poor reviews but hoped for the best, and I’d seen some not very nice reviews on GoodReads, but that was okay, because there weren’t any reviews on Amazon yet, and that’s where my books were selling. Well…all good things must come to an end, and end they did when that review posted. My book sales went from a nice trot to slower than a snail. I was bummed! So now I know how important Amazon reviews are! However, I knew going into this that not everyone would like my writing. I just wasn’t ready to have it in my face. Locke advised writers to not take bad reviews personally: it’s not that the readers don’t like you; it’s that they’re not your target audience, and it’s good that they won’t read any more of your stuff. I agree.
But here’s what he says about “One of Us”:
My most loyal readers are the group I call OOU’s. It means “One of Us.” People want to be a part of something special and grand. They want to feel important, and want their opinions to count. If you’re an OOU it means you’ve read all my books, and we’ve exchanged emails, and you know your opinion counts with me. It means I listen to you, and take your comments into consideration when I write my books. It means I appreciate you even more than you appreciate my books and characters….It means we’re in this writing adventure together, as partners and friends, and I will work hard to always remain true to the characters and stories you have grown to love.
When I read Locke’s book, I didn’t have a single OOU. I had some friends who liked my writing, and I had some buyers, but buyers alone don’t make an OOU.
That changed recently, I’m happy to announce. One reader, Sara, confessed that she’d stumbled upon Tangled Web and liked it so much, she bought everything else I’d written and devoured it all. She then gave me my first five-star review on Amazon, urging me to hurry up with the next Nicki Sosebee (and I obliged with the next installment, Right Now). She is certainly what Locke would consider to be an OOU, and now I think I understand fully what he meant by OOUs. They’re not just readers; they actually become friends.
So, I guess OOUs start with one. Sara said she’s sure there are others out there, but I do write for a specific audience, most of whom haven’t found me yet. I know my writing’s not for everyone. You have to like a strong independent female protagonist. You have to like (or at least not object to) bad boys, hard rock music, tattoos, sex, and dirty language. If you don’t like that stuff (or can’t deal with it), stay away from my books!
In the meantime, though, I’ll keep writing, because I have to believe it: If I write it, they will read it…eventually. And I’m okay with that!