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What’s Your Value?

By Scott Nicholson

I’ve heard just about every indie myth in the book.

About how the secret to selling books is blogging.

No, wait, isn’t Twitter the secret to selling books?

How about the “Good cover, good blurb, good book” mantra that gets murmured thoughtlessly all over the place, with no definition of what “good” means?

I call baloney on all that. Only one thing sells, and that’s sales. Because we see more exceptions than examples. We see crappy books selling by the bucketloads, we see hideously lurid covers clogging the charts, and we see literary geniuses wallowing in what constitutes the workhouses of the indie era.

A quarter million authors, with talent so similar as to be almost interchangeable…


The only difference I see is that some sell and others don’t. Now, 90 percent of it is luck, but it also seems the people who get lucky are those who work harder at the 10 percent they can control.

It was true in Gutenberg’s day and it’s true now. The means are different, but the basics are still the same. Unless people know you exist, they won’t sample your superfab product or ideology or art or concept. Unless you have some value to your audience, there is no worthwhile connection.

I know a number of Negative Nellies who spend lots of time telling me why things won’t work. “You can’t self-publish. You can’t give away books and then expect to sell them. Facebook doesn’t work. People who use advertising are cheating.”

Well, you know what? I want to be everywhere. Not to brag about some meaningless rank, or to sail away on my yacht while starving people wail on the docks. No, I do it because I believe in my work. I believe my ideology is compassionate and, although I am far from perfect, I think human existence matters and that exploring the ugliness and beauty is why we are here. Books and stories are a way we can learn about one another and make sense of this huge, random universe.

And writers love their ranks and sales figures and proof of how they are smarter than someone else, but you know what? The reader is smarter than every writer who ever put a quill to paper or scrawled mud on a cave wall.

The reader makes sense of the story and brings it alive. The reader works much, much harder than the writer. The reader is the most precious part of the telepathic creation of imagination.

As a writer, don’t you want to meet that reader through whatever means possible? Sure, most things “don’t work.” But is it truly the “thing,” or is it you that fails?

What have you given your reader today?

What have you done to make instead of take?

How is the world better because you happened to string some words together and shove them in everyone’s face?

Make it matter. Then use every ethical, moral, and tangible tool in your kit to make yourself visible. Marketing without heart is just data. Writing without a reason is just noise.

What’s your value? Not “What’s the optimal price for my ebook?”

Be valuable and you will sell all the books you deserve.

Value creates its own visibility.


Scott Nicholson is author of a bunch of books and also released The Indie Journey: Secrets to Writing Success, because some people still think you can buy the secret instead of be the secret. Follow him on Facebook, blog, website, or newsletter.


CREATIVE SPIRIT is Scott Nicholson’s revised edition of the 2004 U.S. paperback THE MANOR. Scott is Kindle bestselling author of 12 novels, including THE RED CHURCH, DISINTEGRATION, LIQUID FEAR, and SPEED DATING WITH THE DEAD. Connect with Scott on Facebook, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Twitter, blogspot, website or Amazon page. He’s also written The Indie Journey to help writers find happiness in their careers. It’s available at available at Amazon,, and Smashwords.

(This article may be freely shared, published, distributed, etc. as long as my byline and the ending bio material appeare with the article.)


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