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Fiction Writers’ First Hurdle: Getting & Keeping Readers’ Attention

Earlier on this site, I was quite enthusiastic about selling “the unsellable” – pulp, erotica, horror / gore, experimental, and other “fringe” stuff.  This is because I believe in freedom of fiction, I’m an “adventurous reader,” and also because it posed a particular challenge to sell.  Which was fun for me, a nerd who thrives on that sort of thing.

Now that I’ve gotten four more years of experience since I posted last, I realize that the publishing problem has changed.  Four years ago, it was a lot less crowded in the indie publishing marketplace.  From talking to other people, that seems to be true of most areas of online businesses.

ALL fiction authors now face the same huge initial hurdle, regardless of what genre they write in.

Forget that first sale!  Your first real hurdle is getting and keeping your readers’ attention.  

After that, if the books are any good, repeat sales are usually not a problem (if you do some things right!)  But the initial hurdle is high in this “age of attention competition.”  While erotica / pulp / gore authors still face obstacles in advertising non-family-friendly content, all authors are facing this same basic hurdle.

So now, this site and my articles and resources will be aimed toward ONLY getting (and hopefully keeping) your audience’s attention.

Yes, KEEPING their attention.  You are not done once you’ve gotten over that first attention-hurdle.

There are so many diversions that will eat your lunch if you don’t keep your readers’ attention.  I’m not talking about other books.  The attention-stealing diversions are

  • stupid pet Vine compilations
  • inflammatory political “news” headlines
  • getting in flame wars in comment sections
  • pointless Flash games that just make you feel angry

These are all things that no one really wants to spend their time on, kind of like eating the reject flavored jellybeans left in the bowl.  (Do you like them?  No.  Do you eat them?  Well, they’re there, aren’t they?)

They’d be much better off reading your books.

So, this is what my articles and tutorials will be about – recommending awesome and fairly new ways of getting and keeping your readers’ attention.  I’m not going with cutting edge stuff – that’s expensive and untested.  What I will do is report on what’s working for us at the publishers.  These recommendations will be inexpensive and reasonable.

We’re real belt-tighteners at work, so be assured that everything I recommend is what we think has a chance of breaking even or better.

– Kat



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