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What's Harder? An Agent or An Audience?


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#1 RSMellette

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    Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand, Dec. 2014 Elephant's Bookshelf Press

Posted 21 March 2015 - 02:23 PM

Here's a topic every writer needs to consider these days...

 

What's harder to do? Find an agent, or find an audience?


From Elephant's Bookshelf Press

 

51xExIpByyL._SS140_SH35_.jpg51n1zBAR2vL._SS140_SH35_.jpg

by R.S. Mellette

"WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt reading this book - WOW. I was so pleasantly surprised - oh, let's be honest, it was more like blown away!" -- Holy B. In NC, Amazon Review.


#2 Jeanne

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 03:41 PM

Audience, hands down. Getting a book traditionally published doesn't guarantee readers and/or reviews. Authors, even those published by the big houses, are scrambling to get the attention of readers.

 

It's a tough world out there, but the greatest pleasure for me is the positive reader feedback. I received an amazing hearttfelt review on a blog the other day where the reviewer compared me to Madeline L'Engle! Wow!

 

I think you just have to keep moving forward, keep promoting the book(s) you have out there, and keep writing new books.

 

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#3 Darke

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 04:10 PM

Yes, I agree. 


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#4 Whimsical_Werecat

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 03:55 AM

Finding your audience is definitely the bigger challenge of the two. And it's ongoing. Once the ball is rolling and word-of-mouth is helping things along, finding your target audience takes on a life of its own. But you still need to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your foot on the accelerator.


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#5 MJ O'Neill

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 04:13 PM

I think this all depends where you're standing. To those who don't have an agent yet, finding an audience seems like a first world problem. Unless they self publish, they don't think ANYONE will ever see their work. Ever. When you're on the other side of the agent hunt, you realize the race is only just beginning. 


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#6 Tom Preece

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 10:42 PM

I can't imagine writing without an audience in mind.  That's who I'm talking to.  The only question is what is the best means of reaching them?



#7 RSMellette

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    Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand, Dec. 2014 Elephant's Bookshelf Press

Posted 21 May 2015 - 10:05 AM

Hey, Tom - the audience in your mind is a breeze. It's getting those imaginary people shell out real cash that's hard. :)


From Elephant's Bookshelf Press

 

51xExIpByyL._SS140_SH35_.jpg51n1zBAR2vL._SS140_SH35_.jpg

by R.S. Mellette

"WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt reading this book - WOW. I was so pleasantly surprised - oh, let's be honest, it was more like blown away!" -- Holy B. In NC, Amazon Review.


#8 Litgal

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 10:41 AM

Audience because the number of people turning to books for entertainment is contracting and the supply of books is burgeoning as self-publishing takes off and traditional publishers throw more books at the wall hoping some of them will stick.  I am sure I am not the only one who occasionally has desperate thoughts. Last week I told a friend I was considering a "buy my book and I will lick a squirrel" promotion. She pointed out a "buy my book and I will clean your house" offer might work better. Not that she wasn't up for seeing me lick a squirrel . . . 


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#9 Mallory

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 11:38 AM

I suppose I never queried very widely, but finding an audience was much easier for me than going the agent route. But what qualifies as an "audience"? It's a very relative term...


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#10 Tom Preece

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 04:19 PM

I used this before.  My much flogged book is very much about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among combat veterans.  The image of the audience that I keep in mind isn't a guy who owns a Kindle, and probably doesn't even own a computer.  I see him at the station leaving town to start over yet again, and I hope he picks my book from the spinner rack because he thinks  a quick thriller might be a good way to pass the time on his way to Twin Falls.  By the time he gets there I hope to have changed his life.



#11 RSMellette

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    Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand, Dec. 2014 Elephant's Bookshelf Press

Posted 21 May 2015 - 05:05 PM

Hey, Tom - check out the film FRAY. It's an indie on that same subject matter and it friggin' rocks! You can get it on Amazon.

 

Mallory, I'd define an audience as "enough paying readers to let you quit your day job - or earn out, if you got an advance."


From Elephant's Bookshelf Press

 

51xExIpByyL._SS140_SH35_.jpg51n1zBAR2vL._SS140_SH35_.jpg

by R.S. Mellette

"WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt reading this book - WOW. I was so pleasantly surprised - oh, let's be honest, it was more like blown away!" -- Holy B. In NC, Amazon Review.


#12 Mallory

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 06:29 PM

Mallory, I'd define an audience as "enough paying readers to let you quit your day job - or earn out, if you got an advance."

Then I'd say finding an audience is easier.


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#13 Andrea Lambert

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 01:16 PM

This is an excellent and relevant question. 

 

I think finding an agent is harder, at least it has been for me.

 

I have already found my audience through small press publishing and social media, like Twitter and the like. I have had people approach me on Facebook chat and say they are fans. I always say yes to their friend requests. I'm usually a fan of them once I learn something about them too. By doing readings, by self-publishing (which I haven't done, but some people love), by social media, by publishing chapbooks, you can build an audience for your work before you ever get an agent. Then when the time comes,  (hopefully, anyway, so I am hoping) the agent may be more willing to take a chance on you because you have already spent the time in the trenches building your audience.


Website: https://andreaklambert.com
 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndreaLamber

 

GoodReads Author bio: https://www.goodread....Andrea_Lambert

 

Amazon author bio: https://www.amazon.c...ine_cont_book_1
 
JET SET DESOLATE from Future Fiction London on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...t/dp/0578016257

 

LORAZEPAM & THE VALLEY OF SKIN: EXTRAPOLATIONS ON LOS ANGELES from valeveil: http://www.valeveil.se/posts/196
 

HAUNTING MUSES from Bedazzled Ink on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/194383752X

 

WRITING THE WALLS DOWN: A CONVERGENCE OF LGBTQ VOICES from Trans-Genre Press: http://trans-genre.n...the-walls-down/
 
THE L.A. TELEPHONE BOOK, VOL. 1 from ARRAS.NET: http://www.arras.net/?page_id=658

 

 


#14 RSMellette

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    Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand, Dec. 2014 Elephant's Bookshelf Press

Posted 09 February 2016 - 04:38 PM

FYI for the legit industry to take note of your indie market you have to sell in the 10s of thousands of books. Figuring a sales percentage of 1 percent of social media friends (which is a fair guess) you'll have to have 100,000 facebook friends to make a minimum impression on the publishing industry.

From Elephant's Bookshelf Press

 

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by R.S. Mellette

"WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt reading this book - WOW. I was so pleasantly surprised - oh, let's be honest, it was more like blown away!" -- Holy B. In NC, Amazon Review.


#15 Niambi

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 09:20 PM

This is an excellent and relevant question. 

 

I think finding an agent is harder, at least it has been for me.

 

I have already found my audience through small press publishing and social media, like Twitter and the like. I have had people approach me on Facebook chat and say they are fans. I always say yes to their friend requests. I'm usually a fan of them once I learn something about them too. By doing readings, by self-publishing (which I haven't done, but some people love), by social media, by publishing chapbooks, you can build an audience for your work before you ever get an agent. Then when the time comes,  (hopefully, anyway, so I am hoping) the agent may be more willing to take a chance on you because you have already spent the time in the trenches building your audience.

 

 

I would agree with all of this.  

 

It's easy to build an audience if you have the means: social media, web presence, contact lists, etc.  I've been in the indie film industry making films for the exact topic of my book, so even getting airplay on television and radio wouldn't be a problem.  

 

Finding an agent . . . . . . that's a near insurmountable task it seems.  



#16 RSMellette

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    Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand, Dec. 2014 Elephant's Bookshelf Press

Posted 17 March 2016 - 11:40 AM

I still find this interesting.

 

I've managed to get 3,000+ friends on facebook - which I would say is 3% of a MINIMUM audience.

 

I am an associate director of a 19-year-old film festival in Los Angeles, and the festival itself has 8% of a minimum audience.

 

So, I guess the question is, how do you define an audience?

 

Yes, of course, each individual reader is important - but a play that only sells 3% of it's tickets isn't going to stay open.


From Elephant's Bookshelf Press

 

51xExIpByyL._SS140_SH35_.jpg51n1zBAR2vL._SS140_SH35_.jpg

by R.S. Mellette

"WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt reading this book - WOW. I was so pleasantly surprised - oh, let's be honest, it was more like blown away!" -- Holy B. In NC, Amazon Review.


#17 Niambi

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 05:30 PM

I still find this interesting.

 

I've managed to get 3,000+ friends on facebook - which I would say is 3% of a MINIMUM audience.

 

I am an associate director of a 19-year-old film festival in Los Angeles, and the festival itself has 8% of a minimum audience.

 

So, I guess the question is, how do you define an audience?

 

Yes, of course, each individual reader is important - but a play that only sells 3% of it's tickets isn't going to stay open.

 

 

During my short stint in economics, and my long and torturous time as a journalist, the question that was always being asked was:

 

"How do we get people that would otherwise NOT buy . . . to buy?"
 

I think that's really the issue.  We know that certain people are going to read a 300 page book.  Even less are going to read a 300 page science fiction or YA fantasy.  Even less are going to read that same novel if it has a male or female character, and so forth.  The challenge is getting new blood interested in something they wouldn't normally be interested in.



#18 RSMellette

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    Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand, Dec. 2014 Elephant's Bookshelf Press

Posted 17 March 2016 - 05:35 PM

During my short stint in economics, and my long and torturous time as a journalist, the question that was always being asked was:

 

"How do we get people that would otherwise NOT buy . . . to buy?"
 

I think that's really the issue.  We know that certain people are going to read a 300 page book.  Even less are going to read a 300 page science fiction or YA fantasy.  Even less are going to read that same novel if it has a male or female character, and so forth.  The challenge is getting new blood interested in something they wouldn't normally be interested in.

 

Even before that - you have to get 100,000 people to even know your book exists.


From Elephant's Bookshelf Press

 

51xExIpByyL._SS140_SH35_.jpg51n1zBAR2vL._SS140_SH35_.jpg

by R.S. Mellette

"WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt reading this book - WOW. I was so pleasantly surprised - oh, let's be honest, it was more like blown away!" -- Holy B. In NC, Amazon Review.


#19 Andrea Lambert

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 05:26 PM

Even if your audience is small and niche it is still an audience, and if that small cult of dedicated fans who one nurtures by being kind to consistently buys ones books as well as anyone you've ever known who's in them it's something at least. That's more what I'm trying to hope for in my work.

 

I never expected widespread fame as you speak of MS Melette. I'm sure that's great. I'm just going for small time cult classic sort of thing. I'm aware that's all I'm ever going to be able to manage with my niche subject matter & I'm okay with that because the people do do really like my work do really like and read it. And I am thankful to them and I know many of their names.

 

I don't think that there's anything wrong with doing things small and DIY. I came up in the late nineties doing zines and showing my art in coffeeshops and punk space. You have to start somewhere and you start with what you're got. Twenty years later some of those same paintings are coming out on online magazines and I'm like thanks Internet. Technology is a blessing to the independent writer who doesn't want to pay for representation. 

 

 

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that there are other paths for writers then the all out success of agentry and the all out oblivion of self-publishing. Don't forget that building a niche audience over a long amount of time can get you a rewarding following as well. Underground artists like Patti Smith, Ali Liebegott and Eileen Myles did the same thing.

 

There are many paths on this writting game that all of us are playing. Don't give up.


Website: https://andreaklambert.com
 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndreaLamber

 

GoodReads Author bio: https://www.goodread....Andrea_Lambert

 

Amazon author bio: https://www.amazon.c...ine_cont_book_1
 
JET SET DESOLATE from Future Fiction London on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...t/dp/0578016257

 

LORAZEPAM & THE VALLEY OF SKIN: EXTRAPOLATIONS ON LOS ANGELES from valeveil: http://www.valeveil.se/posts/196
 

HAUNTING MUSES from Bedazzled Ink on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/194383752X

 

WRITING THE WALLS DOWN: A CONVERGENCE OF LGBTQ VOICES from Trans-Genre Press: http://trans-genre.n...the-walls-down/
 
THE L.A. TELEPHONE BOOK, VOL. 1 from ARRAS.NET: http://www.arras.net/?page_id=658

 

 


#20 J.A. Hunter

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 08:06 PM

For me, finding an agent proved to be a nearly insurmountable task. An audience, though? Much, much easier. Two-years ago I was still waiting on countless form rejections to roll in, but now I’m making my living entirely as a writer. I released a three book series and have sold somewhere north of 40,000 books over the past year and a half, but those numbers still weren’t enough to attract an agent for the first book in a new series (same universe). Though, admittedly, I didn’t try super hard.

 

Audience can be a tough one to pin down, but I don’t judge that based on social media stats. I have maybe 300 Twitter followers and about as many fans of my Facebook author page, but I’ll be the first to admit I put in almost no time or effort on social media. In my experience, social media doesn’t really drive sales, so mostly I focus on writing (though I am actively building my mailing list). 






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