How many bad books do you look at in a week? I’m aware that my number is skewed high because of my profession, but my guess is that if you’re active on Facebook and Twitter, you probably see at least one bad book a week. If you’re lucky, you see a good one, too.
There’s no lack of bad books out there. I think I’ve started to figure out one of the problems:
With the gold rush we experienced where everyone was trying to publish a book an get rich quickly, we’ve gotten confused. We’ve decided that a well-written, well-edited, beautifully designed and printed (or formatted for eReader screens) book is the pinnacle. It’s the ultimate, something you can aspire to one day accomplish.
But it’s not. It’s the baseline. It’s the bare minimum for readers to be interested. There are books that seem an exception to that, but they’re exceptions — you cannot expect to recreate an exception. You have to figure out what the market usually wants, not what worked that one time.
The market wants good books. All the time. That means spending either time or money (or, more likely, both) on ensuring that your book is good. And that only gets you to the starting line. Then, you’ve got to market, publicize, and sell. If you manage to capture some magic, your book connects with your audience. But the good book is the baseline, not the pinnacle. If we could get this straight, we’d have fewer confused authors.