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It Doesn’t Matter — Why There’s No Silver Bullet for Selling Your Books

Yesterday, there was a nice interview with me on Scoutmob, a New York City "daily deals" website, sent to over 200,000 e-mail accounts.  I was incredibly excited for the attention.

You know how many books that sold me?


It doesn't matter.

I've been on television to pimp my book.

It doesn't matter.

I've gone on countless morning radio shows.

It doesn't matter.

I've been on podcast after podcast after podcast, many of them notable.


I was talking to an author much more famous than me the other day (you'd recognize his name and his books) about this subject.

I told him that I was thinking of finally going with a major publisher for my next book just because I've always had the bizarre dream of seeing my books for sale in the airport.

"My books have been in the airport," he told me.

It didn't matter.

He'd appeared on Larry King.

It didn't matter.

He's regularly written about in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

It doesn't matter.

The other day I saw an even bigger celebrity than him, one with 2 million-plus followers, beloved by all!, Tweet about how much she liked his new book.

Wow, what a plug I thought!

I'm guessing it didn't matter.

Nothing matters if you look at things in a "silver bullet" way. If you try to bank on each little TV appearance and interview and blog mention to be the one thing that sells a fat stack of books for you. That's called playing the lottery. And it doesn't work. It doesn't matter.

As William Goldman said, "Nobody knows anything."

You can never know what or why your books will sell, so quit worrying about it.

One more story:  I sold about 50 books DURING the Super Bowl this year.  Odd.  Someone must have taken out a commercial I missed.

Something might have mattered that day.

But you know what really matters?

Just writing the stuff you enjoy writing.


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  1. To be honest, most airport bookstores are pay-for-placement and even if you were with a major publisher you’d (the author) would have to pay directly yourself (in the 6k-10k range for 3 months) since any sales there would never end up justifying the placement fees.

    • I figured that was the case–I hedge toward figuring quality placement is always paid for–but it’s good to know for sure and the exact figures are much appreciated. Wow.

      You might actually know this guy I talk about above…I’ll tell you about him offline one day.

  2. FANTASTIC thoughts, Aaron. Boy…am I learning this the hard way right now. 🙂

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