Join (Free!) | Login  

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
   Services MarketPlace (Free to post!)
Where Authors and Readers come together!


Featured Authors:  andrea coltman, iSandy Lender, iJeff Mason, iZannah Hackett, iDarryl Jenkins, iAlfred Schwab, iRalph Cates, i

  Home > Publishing > Articles Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Stephen Gallup

· Become a Fan
· Contact me
· Books
· Articles
· 10 Titles
· 1 Reviews
· Save to My Library
· Share with Friends!
Member Since: Mar, 2012

Stephen Gallup, click here to update your pages on AuthorsDen.

Featured Book
The Seeker is the Sought
by Nicole Sorkin

Marvin Richard Montney, poet, author and philosopher, escorts readers on a transformational journey of passion, emotion and philosophy in his new poetry chapbook titled T..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

Featured Book
Swift Boat Down, The Real Story of the Sinking of PCF-19
by James Steffes

This book is an eye--witness testimony to a tragic incident in the Vietnam War...  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

   Recent articles by
Stephen Gallup

A bridge from facts to fiction
What we do for our kids
Primal wilderness ramblings from Taiwan
Save time, save money, save your kid
The power of words
What have I learned from hardship?
When doctors get it wrong
What might have been
           >> View all

Do writers really need a back end?
By Stephen Gallup   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, March 30, 2012
Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012

Share    Print   Save    Become a Fan

Marketing gurus say the purpose of a book is for the author to initiate a continuing relationship with its readers. Should this be so?

Some of the advice given to me to promote my memoir, What About the Boy?, has pushed the notion that an author should have a "back end." That is, a mere book itself is not the thing that makes a writer really successful. The book just catches people's attention long enough for the writer to sell them another, more expensive product. As Steve Harrison puts it, the book simply opens doors. At that point, if you the writer have something else set up, you can maintain a relationship in which your readers continue adding to your wealth for years to come.

This notion immediately rubbed me the wrong way. I prefer to think of books as literature. But maybe that's naive. Since we all dream of success, I didn’t want to reject the advice out of hand. I’m just a writer, and know very little about the mysteries of getting printed words in front of other people.

Still, in my case, a book is all I have or even want to offer. The books I like to read are also one-offs. On the other hand, occasionally I read something that is so good, or so thought-provoking, that I wish it were possible to have an ongoing dialog with the author. I wish I knew Amy Tan, for example, and Mark Salzman. I wish it were possible to know Alan Watts, but of course he’s no longer with us. In other words, a good book does sometimes inspire readers to want more.

A fulfilling two-way conversation with the author may not be possible, but at least we can go out and buy other books by the same person.

On the other hand, back ends—things that are not even books—are something quite different, I think.

If the book exists to motivate readers to buy another product, then the book is essentially a brochure. Its purpose is not so much to inform (certainly even less to entertain) but to persuade—and not for the purpose of bringing readers to an understanding of truth but to get them to open their checkbooks.

This had been troubling me on an almost subconscious level for a few months, until I remembered a perfect example of a book I’ve read that had a back end.

This book argues against the conventional notions of saving for retirement via things like 401(k) plans, and paying down home mortgages. In bringing it up, I don’t mean to say its content is right or wrong but only to question the dynamic of a book pointing to a solution in which the author stands to make a lot more money. (In this case, readers are encouraged to liquidate their savings and buy a life insurance contract—from the author.)

OK, if an author truly believes what he’s writing, and has not only defined a problem but has figured out a solution, then of course he should present the solution. However, when he stands to benefit if people follow his advice, we ought to question his motives.

By the same token, people aspiring to political office tend to write books (or get ghost writers to do it for them) for the purpose of burnishing their image and rising to power. For them, getting elected is the back end.

No, on second thought, I really don’t like books that have a back end. I’m inclined not to trust them. And I don’t want to play that game. Bucking this trend may not be the path to success, but in the end we writers have to live with ourselves. What do you think?

Web Site: What About the Boy?

Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!

Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!

Free Download - TrendSiters - Digital Content and Web Technologies by Sam Vaknin

Essays dedicated to the new media, doing business on the web, digital content, its creation and distribution, e-publishing, e-books, digital reference, DRM technology, and other re..  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

Publish Your eBook in TEN Steps by Jacob Taylor

The easiest guide for authors who wish to create, publish and sell their own eBooks. A must have eBook...  
Featured BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members

Authors alphabetically: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us

Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen
AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.