For you and I, two jokes of self-publishing, this doesn’t help. Who gives a fuck if Amazon or Hachette is publishing our book when that book is not selling a single damn copy?
I want advice on writing, on selling, and becoming successful. I don’t want talk about unions, contracts and whether I should contact a publisher or agent or not.
Fucking-A! No publisher or agent is going to be interested in me! So stop shouting to the Goddamn heavens and give me some advice that will help me!
You’ll get that here today. How? We’ll take a look at some of the best-selling books on Amazon to figure out how their paragraphs are set up and if that can help you.
So What is the Best Size for a Paragraph?
Let’s go through some of the bestseller Top 100 Charts on Amazon today and see if we can learn anything about how paragraphs look, as well as a few marketing tips thrown in for good measure.
The Top 20 Bestselling Books on Amazon
So how about something further down the list? Let’s take a look at this book:
Since these are the top-selling books and they look like that, shouldn’t yours look like that too?
Top 20 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books
Let’s continue on and see if this wildly successful book looks as bad the more we get into it:
Does any of that matter? Obviously it doesn’t matter one fucking bit because that book is selling dozens of copies a day, if not more than a hundred a day. Readers do not give a flying fuck about this book’s formatting – they like the story.
Top 20 Mystery, Thriller, Suspense Books
One thing that bothers the hell out of me is that this book is a preorder. If you’ll look can see both the #1 and #2 books are preorders. So us, two author hacks, are really at a disadvantage. Those books don’t even go on sale until August, and yet they’re killing our books that are already on sale. I hate this.
So what does the book look like? Here it is:
It doesn’t really matter because you can see that look and you should know what you have to do to duplicate it – write shorter sentences, smaller paragraphs, and probably shorter chapters as well (this book has ‘em).
Top 20 Romance Books
Remember, your TOC can sell. Take a look at some of my old Table of Contents to get an idea of how you can show up these successful authors at their own game.
Alright, here’s a page from the book:
- First, the indents are terrible. Too large…twice the normal size.
- Next, the text size is too small. Why would an author do this? I can only think it’s because they don’t know that larger text size equals a larger page count on Amazon.
- Obviously this is an author that doesn’t know larger books sell better. She’s a successful author, right – shouldn’t she know?
Remember, just because someone can write a story that sells doesn’t mean they know anymore than you do. Indeed, as we’ve seen, they often know less. Long-term, the advantage belongs to you.
And what if it looks bad? We’ve seen some boring TOC’s, bad spacing, and terrible indents. Yet those books sell more in a day than most of mine do in a year.
What’s the takeaway? Story is critical, formatting and the look of your book’s inside not so much. If you have a preorder it’ll help, and if you’ve got a big name you’re set.
So what about us little guys, you know, the ones the big-name authors purport to speak for but have no real advice to offer? Keep writing, show them up, and eventually supplant them from their lofty positions.
They’ve become lazy. They’ve focused their attention on business matters. They’re trying to become the 1% and the new gatekeepers and the next signature you see on the rejection letter. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” as The Who might sing.
Mainly I feel sorry for their readers, the ones waiting for the next book and who could care less about this publishing dispute, if they even know it exists.
That’s your opening. That’s your route to take them down and take their spot with good stories and superior books. Obviously they’re not concerned too much about that, so sneak right by them while they’re not looking.
Hey, the market will decide, right? Isn’t it time readers decide on your book and not theirs? I think so.