June 17, 2014

Make Money On Transylvania, Romania? Don't Let Your Readers Down

I have read and enjoyed a lot of books on the subject of Transylvania, and in particular, the Transylvanian Saxons. I read anything that people ask me to read, and I read anything that strikes me as interesting. Most of the books on Transylvania which are about a particular group are self-published.


What I don't enjoy reading is something that makes me feel that I bought a too short book for the price I paid for it.  This is most true when it comes to Transylvania, and this is possibly the second biggest reason why there are many self-published books out there that don't get as many reviews as they might hope for.  

The most important thing when dealing with Transylvania as a writing subject is getting the facts correct, and if the facts in the book contradict each other, the reader will leave a bad review.  It's one thing to write about a legend of history, such as Dracula (Vlad Tepes) and Bran Castle, but it is another to write in a market that is saturated with self-published books on Dracula and hope that yours will be a bestseller.  I have the experience of reading what I felt was a good book on Transylvania only to be disappointed with the fact that they only talked about Dracula and the books that others authors have written over the years.  I could have found this online with little trouble, but it was about Transylvania, and the reviews were promising when I read them.

I understand that there are writers are out there writing to earn a living doing something they are passionate about — in this case Transylvania, Romania.  I understand that this is an admirable goal to have.  What I don't understand is over-priced books with incorrect information in them or when they don't have a strong bibliography.  What can frustrate me the most is not the book itself, but what I feel as a reader when I read an 88 page book I bought for 10 dollars.  I think the message the writer is sending about Transylvania is that this place doesn't have the power to draw a reader's attention or, worse still, they are in it to make money.  They might not even have an author platform, or they don't want one for any of various reasons.

At this point, I want to ask the writer, do your readers believe that you are writing for them or for money?  I am sure that some will say, "I am doing both." But, actions speak volumes. I am also sure that some do just want to make money, and the readers can be second to anything else.  There are also new authors who simply did not take the time to really understand the market for their books.  Most of the people who read about Transylvania already have plenty of background knowledge of the subject.  Because of this, a reader can quickly tell if the history you are writing about is correct or if you were not as clear to them.  A reader matters.

It is, to me, important to find out smaller details that matter to a reader.  I learned this over time with my own book In Search of The Lost Ones.  Most readers know it's about Transylvanian Saxons, and I believe that it shows my passion for the subject.

What I believe any author, or writer, or publisher should ask themselves, is: Do my readers believe I am in it for the money? I don't think that a book should be published simply because it is finished. I have seen and heard of too many self-published books that didn't do well because they still needed some work — either with editing or marketing to the correct audience. I have also seen some wonderful books written by self-published authors which weren't selling well dimly because they were books in a niche market like Transylvania, and they were either about history or about the legends of the area.

The key to success in writing is knowing what your readers like, what they think, and what you can do to improve the way a book is read and how Transylvania is portrayed.  When publishing a book, especially when it's about Transylvania, it is important to get the history and the book right.  I love to read, and I like to sit down and enjoy a book and not have to worry about how much money I spent on it.  The answer to the question "Do your readers believe you are in it for the money?" should be, no.  It should be because you can write a wonderful story, and not the money or if it was self-published, but because you want a reader like myself to love it.

3 comments:

John said...

well put, but money is everything, if you need to live.

Rebecca A. Emrich said...

John-- yes, you need to live on what you write, but focusing too much on money makes you greedy too- or act to cheap. It's a fine balance, especially when you have just published a book.

Anonymous said...

I love vampires, so Bran Castle it is. Are there dracula's things inside?