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Tale of 4 Authors


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       Tale of 4 Authors and How They Made it

Reading time: 2 min 2 sec  No skimming

by M LeMont

3:00am I'm listening to Jimmy Hendrix; hey don't ask why--it wasn't as bad as you think. The lyrics inspired me to write this article, The Tale of 4 Authors.

I'm going to show you how 4 unknown authors made it out of a pond of a million fish--everybody got a book. There's 800 books released per day in the US alone. That's a fact JACK!  And as Jimmy Hendrix said  in his 1969 Vietnam Watchtower song, "There must be some kind of way out here," said the joker to the thief, "There's too much confusion; I can't get no relief."  It sounded like he wrote that song for authors everywhere.  

He went on to say,  "Now there's no reason to get excited, the thief, he kindly spoke."---because all of us can't get out this way, anyhow.  We all are vying for the same eyeballs. But this is not your fate--you're different.  

"Whoa! Outside in the cold distance, authors were writing books,
 and the wind began to howl;" I saw them coming and going. There was a sign that read, "Dead Men Bones--Write At Your Own Risk."

So let's not talk falsely; everybody's journey is different. You must find your own way out of here. 

Who are these famous authors you ask?

The Shack by William P. Young, Sold over one million copies. He became USA Today's best seller. The book set idle for over a year. He wrote the book for his six children as a Christmas gift. He let a few friends read it and they suggested to put it on Kindle. No marketing, no fans, very little sales.  

Fifty Shades of Grey  by British author E. L. James  all time best selling author $95 million.  Her book set idle for over a year on her website and then another year on Amazon.
No marketing, no fans, dismal sales; critics said the book was poorly written.

Amanda Hocking, author of 14 novels a struggling writer who got rejected from publishers and then self published on Kindle with absolutley no marketing whatsoever.  Her books set idle for over a year before she sold millions and got as multi-million contract with St Martin's Press.     
Critics were baffled, theysaid that her books were poorly edited.   No marketing, no fans, dismal sales.

John Locke sold one million books at 99 cents. He sold a million e-books in 5 months once he was discovered.  The books set idle for over a year. Traditional publishers rejected him and said books were sub par. His first book Saving Rachel didn't sell and received bad reviews. Later, that same book would become a best seller.   John became one of 14 authors to sell 1 million books on Amazon. He had 5 books published when his raging fans found him. 
Marketing Strategy--blogs, 2,000 Twitter fans, press releases, and had twenty author friends who bought his books on launch day. 

So why did these books go viral and make these authors famous?  In most cases it  all happened with little or no warning.  


Marketing and book experts are baffled because word of mouth over social media can make anybody famous overnight. One click and you can instantly tell thousands of people about a book you read. Things must circulate and go through the invisible channels and reach the right people. 

What did they do to contribute to their success?

Other than writing their books, virtually nothing.  They contributed very little to the outcome, except for John Locke who spent money on a fancy website, book trailers, marketing, etc
.  You can read about his marketing strategies in his book, How I Sold a Million Book in 5 months, a must read for any author!  

                 How I Sold a Million Book in 5 months

Nobody can explain why unknown authors become famous, but with social media the underdog wins more often than people think.

At some point, if you have the right mix of marketing, things will tip and go in the opposite direction.  And you won't worry about  trying to find out what happened.  "If you play with fire long enough, one day you're going to get burned."


1.  None of the four authors had a fan base when their books were published. 

2. They did zero marketing. (except John Locke)

3. Their books set on Amazon for over a year before taking off like a rocket for reasons unknown.

4.  Most of their books received bad reviews for one reason or another, but even that couldn't stop the juggernaut already in motion.

5.  In the beginning I imagine they all were feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland. Where do I go from here--my book isn't selling--what do I do?  

6. Before getting discovered, two of the authors had only written one book; William Young and E. L. James.  And what were the odds of success? Like hitting the lottery. 

5.  Amanda Hocking and John Lock had better chances, or so you would think. They had 5 books published when fans found them.  

6. They were all unknown authors and in the end they found their raving fans who would buy and recommend their books to thousands across the internet.  

7. All four authors had books that were written in different genres.

The final word:  Everybody's got their own mountain to climb--what works for one author may not work for another. Keep writing so when you find your fans they will have more books to buy.

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