What I did Wrong

UPDATE: The novel, Pleasing María, is blogged at website PleasingMaria.com. To view the Table of Contents, click here. To go directly to the first chapter, click here. To read the latest novel post, click here.

Like spontaneous combustion, my novel, Pleasing María, burst from my soul onto paper without the slightest regard for whom, if anyone, might ever find and read it. Wanting even my first novel to be successful, I decided to delay publishing until I was ready to properly market it. Where do I start?  John Locke in “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!” provided the big picture of failure:


“If your book is decent and you’re not selling lots of copies I know exactly what you’re doing wrong. It’s one or all of these four things:

  • You didn’t have a plan for writing your book.
  • You didn’t have a plan for marketing it.
  • You don’t know who your target audience is.
  • You don’t know how to find the target audience.

“If you don’t have a plan for writing and marketing your books, the only way you can become successful is by pure chance!”

The first point above was moot – I had already written the book! And I had broken the first rule of writing (the third point): know your audience. Realizing that the novel must be marketed to be successful (the second point), I wondered how I would find my audience (the fourth point). I found this answer by John Locke in the same book:

“But the key to my success is I write to a specific audience (niche), and know how to find them (target marketing).”

“The best way to find your target audience is to write something original! When you’re truly original, the mainstream readers of that genre will often consider your work outrageous, or shocking, or insane, or unique, or weird, or all these things, but that’s okay. If it’s your original voice, stand proud and pick one of your books to slam down the throats of the entire obvious audience. Then be strong enough to deal with the high percentage of hate reviews you will certainly get from those who don’t “get” your work.”

“If you’re not offending a significant number of readers, your writing is probably not very original. And the less original you’re writing, the less loyal your fan base will be.”

So, even though I wrote my novel without knowing my specific niche within the Romantic Erotica genre, I can still find my specific audience by targeting the entire genre, knowing that I’ll get a lot of negative feedback from the folks I offend. I can handle that. And having found my audience, I can learn to market to them.

Future posts will describe my plan and the detail of implementing the plan. If you’d like to receive announcements of these future blog posts, join the mailing list on the right side of this page. To contact me directly, click on the Contact Guy Ordinary link at the top of this page. Visit PleasingMaria.com to read the novel as blog posts beginning in November 2015.

All the contents of this web site are Copyright © 2015 by Guy Ordinary, all rights reserved. The contents have been registered as a published work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

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2 thoughts on “What I did Wrong

  1. Max

    My two cents…. if you want to create another mass marketed generic targeted crumbling pile of words then there’s a money in that. It’s a pretty big market. Read “50 Shades of Grey” for instance. It’s barely half a step above microwaved Chef Boyardee on the culinary scale. But boy did it sell a lot.

    There are things to be learned from these mass marketed fiction titles. Both how they are marketed and how much money goes into making sure people know about them. *Even people who don’t read books.* But as an independent author-publisher you need to think asymmetric warfare and guerrilla tactics. What worked for Locke may not work for you. What worked for “50 Shades of Grey” may not be something you can afford.

    One of the reasons why I’m effectively serializing stories is because I think the real audience problem is attention span. If I have one book then I have a single thing I must market endlessly. The audience tunes that out. By serializing your book, you can market multiple stories across a handful of volumes. Variation gives you a chance to experiment with packaging, covers, promo, and cuts down on the repetition and blah blah blah. When you’ve got the book finished, you can bring them together in a single volume – and look at print options as well as ebook versions.

    All while still writing smaller stories to continue the serials. Great practice for writing and good for material that wouldn’t have fit well in the context of your actual book.

    At any rate – definitely be aware of markets. Be aware of where your target audience hangs out. But don’t give up on writing a magnificent edifice because that wouldn’t sell. Quality and style lasts longer than quick growth and early sales. After all, how many of Mark Twain’s contemporaries can you name? Yet Mark Twain spent much of his life in poverty

    1. GuyOrdinary Post author

      Hi Max:

      Thanks again for your comments. This one in particular has caused me to consider for several days exactly what it is that I want from writing: 1) as do all ‘writers’, I think I have something worth telling, regardless of considerations of marketing, sales, etc., and 2) I would also like to find readers that think my story(s) are worth a small fee, as I could certainly use some extra income. It appears that the current structure of the book market values marketing more than content quality, and two additional factors have distorted a free market: 1) on the upper half, publishers that want to control the distribution and publicity channels, and 2) book-spammers that clog and pollute the lower half.

      As my larger novel is already written (though not final edited), I’ll continue on my current path of building my Author’s Marketing Platform, using this blog and Twitter as the principal tools. However, I’m intrigued by the concept of writing shorter stories, and then assembling them into larger novels at some point. This sounds like the same basic problem as writing a series, except that in a series, each story is always expected to be a separate novel, yet must tie in somehow to previous and future stories in the series. Even for shorter stories, my marketing platform will be useful. So thanks for your words of encouragement!

      Guy Ordinary (@TheGuyOrdinary)


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