As the year slowly draws to an end and we ready ourselves for the brand new Western selling season of 2021, I thought it might be a good time for us to sit down and talk about the ghost of Westerns past, the ghost of Westerns present, and the ghost of Westerns future. It seemed apt for this December 16th.
I had a call a few days ago with an author who was looking to promote his new book. He had been talking to one of the established authors and wanted help with his book in the new year. “It just seems like nobody wanted my book,” he said. “I suppose it was down to coronavirus. People just weren’t reading, but I was talking to [this particular author] and he was saying this was his best sales year yet. How did you pull that off?
“Well, you know,” I told him, “when your world is full of upheaval, and you can’t think straight for worrying about the world and its ailments, you don’t really know when you’re missing out on something.” Of course, many Western authors have been too busy to concentrate on their books; on the other hand, many have been busy working on new product. The sheer number of new sellers produced in 2020 shows that the readership has been busy indulging in new titles to escape the misery of the plague, the misery of the news, the misery of this, or that, or whatever problem might be bothering them. So, to begin with, we have a readership that has not been idle. Readers have been responding to new product just as they always have, many with even more enthusiasm than usual.
Secondly, 2020 was the first year where a sales ‘formula’ played such a vital part in the promotion of Western product. The formula, rigidly put together, was the look of love for readers and likely created more long-term careers for authors than any previous year. It consists of a set of rules that determines each writer is hitting the promotional mark that readers set for them. Formulas like this will be used from here on in as standard practice. The formula is here to stay.
Over the last few months, after implementing the recipe, we were faced with brand new number one bestsellers from Mike Mackessy, D.M. Haggard, C. Wayne Winkle, and a multitude of top-notch, high-quality top twenty bestsellers from Harvey Wood, Scotty V. Casper, Gene Turney, Charles Ray, Robert Hanlon, Ken E. Consaul and many others. The list could go on forever—but who has time for that? This is the NEW WAVE of Western bestsellers. The wave that will continue to keep rolling against the rocks and will continue to keep pleasing readers. Everything is done to the formula. The tried and tested always wins out.
What is the formula? What is the recipe? Well, friends and neighbors, perhaps you and I need to have a chat. As we move into the new year, I am sure we will find ourselves face-to-face having a conversation anyway. There’s no way to ignore the fact that readers need new stories, and if you have a story for them, you may want to sit yourself down, look at the formula, and sell a few copies of your book. It’s only fair that a reader gets the chance to discover you, the author, and vice-versa. Overall, 2020 was a dynamic and exciting sales year for Westerns, and I believe with the rules that have been proven to stand true, we will repeat the same for 2021.
If you are interested in learning the formula, why don’t you drop me a note below? During this holiday season, it’s always a good time to yell over to your neighbor and say ‘howdy.’ Well, I’m yelling over to you—howdy, friend!