Are You Lost in the Sea of Books? Are You a Mere Sardine in the Sea?

Let’s face it, publishing isn’t for sissies. Nor is book marketing. Yet, too-too many authors think that the world will easily discover their book, and them. If you are one of them, you are in for a big disillusion ride. A big one. It takes work to attract the book buying public.

Yes, there are millions of books out there … is yours contributing to book pollution … or do you have a unique voice, something new to bring to the party, a twist to something old … in other words, can you break from the pack? Or, will you continue to be a sardine in the vast sea?

And the answer is … yes indeed.

There are a variety of ways to stand out from the crowd. Start with:

  • Decide you want to do it. Always a good idea … It will take some effort on your side to shine above, to create the hook and twist that allows others to see you in a different way. It doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune in the process … what it does mean is that you have to bring some vision and passion to the process. This also a good idea to go with what you know … or at least have some expertise in … which leads to the next point.
  • Don’t re-invent the wheel. Yes, it’s a cliché … but still, pay attention. Look around you—what is your book, your idea that is already out there that others know about. Do you think Starbucks invented coffee; that McDonald’s invented burgers; or that Dominos invented pizza? Those products have been around for more years than you and I have toes … yet with a twist and a tweak, they scored big time.

Did Stephen King write the first horror novel; JK Rowling the first witches and fantasy novel; or Ken Blanchard the first management book? No to all. But what they did was turn their genres upside down—imagine, a skinny management book with lots of stories—who could have thought of something like that?

Ken Blanchard in his One Minute Manager series. Stephen King’s, The Shining, took a well-known estate in a Colorado area and turned it into a creep factory. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone morphed witches, bad guys and good guys on the first page.

  • Create an Experience. When Blanchard wrote his book, The One Minute Manager, he so connected with his reader—managers are OD’d with things to do, and manage. Here’s a blueprint to do it in a minute—what a concept! Rowling created the Harry Potter series with her amazing storytelling ability—readers of all ages opened the pages and fell into the books. Experiences up the kazoo that her followers couldn’t get enough of. Stephen King is just different—a superb writer, but with a creep factor … and if you like a creep, he’s your guy.

What separates the successful author from the run-of-the-mill author is the experience. When the connection happens, they will continue to come. It’s a wonderful thing.

  • Don’t get stuck on pricing. Yes, you need to pay attention to it; it does make sense to know what other books similar to yours are going for. But, and it’s huge but, don’t price your book because of fear. When my book, Zapping Conflict in the Health Care Workplace was initially published, we priced it at $29. On the second printing, it was increased to $35.

The distributor and bookstores said it was too high. Listening, than choosing to ignore their input, I went with my gut. The product was needed in my niche market—it wasn’t just another book on conflict resolution—there were many of those. It was a book that was based on a survey of healthcare professionals and woven with health care stories. In other words, I built it for them—not the distributor or the bookstore.

There was no resistance to the price. The conflict was big in health care (and still is)—I had some solutions with a twist. We sold mega thousands and enjoyed multiple printings.

  • ID your niche. Oh yes … this is a biggie in the author success model. The kiss of death for the author is when he or she thinks their book is for everyone. Get over it—it’s not … create your own community of readers and followers.

With the Zapping Conflict in the Health Care Workplace that was followed by Sabotage! How to Deal with the Pit Bulls, Skunks, Snakes, Scorpions & Slugs in the Health Care Workplace, I was able to tap into my financial, number-crunching pedigree and factor in just what toxic behavior cost the healthcare workplace—quantifying got leadership’s attention. A community was created.

Who needs, really needs/wants your subject? The more you narrow it, the bigger you can become within it.

Those two books were initially published in over 18 years ago. Revisions have been made. They are still producing income through 2018. Not bad.

  • Build it, they will come. Starting as the sardine is just fine … you’ve got to get some legs in the authoring and publishing sea. When you build it, when you break out, you will no longer be the sardine in the sea … you will be the whale…. better, much better.


If you want to learn how to become a whale, attend AuthorYOU’s 2018 Extravaganza in Breckenridge, Colorado August 23-26. All the book marketing pros will be there to guide you through the sea –


Will I see you there?

Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35, How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos has earned 7 national book awards in 2017Get your copy now.

Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged Bootcamp, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2018, the dates are June 23-25.  Participate in her Judith Briles Speaking Unplugged Bootcamp held in March and November. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at

Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact me.