Who doesn’t love statistics?
Okay, maybe not everyone. But statistics can be exciting when they have immediate relevance, like the stats Word Press and other blogging tools offer. Thanks to those, I discovered that the search term people used most often to find my blog in the past year has been the phrase “pain assessment tool” or some variation thereof.
I know writing is painful, but what’s going on?
Back in July I wrote a post titled “My quest for a universal book-assessment tool.” It began by referencing the pain assessment scales used in the medical profession. Now more people have viewed that post than have viewed any other I’ve written, by a factor of more than three.
I have to guess that many of those visitors aren’t really interested in fiction writing.
Which got me thinking about marketing.
To thine own self stay true
That might entice more hits to my web site and maybe even more book sales, but roping people in with a title that doesn’t match the content is the literary equivalent of putting a pig in an evening dress. If readers expect a date and end up with bacon, it’s unlikely they’ll come back for more books.
Some people, of course, build their careers on deliberate deception. For example, there’s the book Steve Jobs by Isaac Worthington—NOT the bestselling author—and Thirty-Five Shades of Grey, unrelated to the steamy bestseller. On the Media discussed these and more on a show last summer.
Sometimes what seem to be small decisions—for example, the topics you cover in blog posts—can have big consequences. I’m not saying self-published authors need to become statisticians or market analysts. But after my pain experience, I will definitely think a little longer and harder about keywords and a title for my next novel. Just don’t expect Forty-Six Shades of Gray from me.
Have you ever felt betrayed by packaging?
Since finishing up a big project last week, I’ve done a fairly good job sticking to my 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. writing commitment. I still haven’t gotten back to my novel because for some reason, short fiction is calling me. I sent another short story off to a couple more markets (thanks, Duotrope), sent one to be edited, and started another.