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Indie Author Success Strategy: Use Political Power to Sell Books

March 26, 2019

Independent authors can come up with a lot of bizarre ways to sell books, but using corrupt politics (or the appearance of corrupt politics) has to be one of the worst.  It’s worse than a male author pretending to be an attractive woman online convincing lonely guys to buy books.  It’s worse than one author pretending to be an entire publishing company.  It’s worse than one author writing one novel a week and glutting the market.

At first glance, Healthy Holly doesn’t seem to be the type of girl to abuse political power. Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t want to criticize Healthy Holly.  Healthy Holly seems to be a nice person.  She’s healthy.  She has a positive message.  These books seemed well-intentioned.  Who can be against healthy children?

Even if the books aren’t very good (I’m just speculating), at least the books have a good message.  But now it looks like the author is a politician who used her influence to get these books purchased.

The details are here, and they’re kind of boring, especially for a tale of possible government corruption.  This indie children’s author was a state senator who served on the board of directors for a statewide medical system.  The indie author state senator then sold $500,000 worth of her books to that statewide medical system (while she was on the board of directors) and didn’t disclose it (until she got caught).

And it looks like a lot of her books were put into storage by the statewide medical system.  And it looks like the indie author politician funneled some of the money from the books into political campaigns.  And it looks like some of this might be illegal.

Maybe Healthy Holly had it coming to her.   I’ve never liked children’s books that had an obvious positive message.  I liked books that were fun to read.  Healthy Holly might be a nice kid, but she doesn’t seem all that fun to hang around with.  I’d rather spend time with a talking cat who trashed (other peoples’) houses or a kid who sailed off to a deserted island to dance around a bunch of monsters.  I’d even rather run around with a purple crayon.  These crazy books didn’t care about delivering a positive message.  If crazy children’s books were fun to read, then a positive message was just a bonus.

In the indie author politician’s defense, I’ve been desperate to sell books before too.  I’ve gotten over that phase, but I’ve been there.  Even at my lowest, though, I’ve never tried to use my political influence to sell books.  In fact, I’ve never even tried to get into politics.  The only thing I’ve done is written the books and put them up for sale.  I mean, I barely even promote.

I’ve never felt the urge to write a children’s book either.  I like good children’s books, but most of them today are really dry uninspiring message books that don’t really encourage kids to read.  If a moratorium on new children’s books were imposed (I’m not condoning that), kids could get by on Dr. Seuss and Berenstain Bears books and Harry the Dirty Dog without noticing the lack of new material.

This isn’t the first politician who’s tried to make a ton of money off books.  Michelle Obama did pretty well recently with a memoir.  Joe Biden sold a bunch of books too.  Bill Clinton teamed up with James Patterson to write a novel that made no sense but made a bunch of money.  These politicians used fame to promote their books, but they didn’t force another government entity to purchase them.  At least, we don’t know about it if they did.

A few months ago, somebody commented on this blog that most indie authors need a book bully, a friend or a spouse who will do the promoting that makes most authors uncomfortable.  In this case, the indie author politician might have been her own book bully and probably took it too far.

We indie authors want people to WANT to read our books.  We don’t want to force sales or intimidate readers.  I load my blog with a bunch of my original stuff so that potential readers can see what I write before they spend money on anything.  And if they don’t buy anything, that’s okay because I have a job that has nothing to do with writing.

At any rate, I don’t think anybody is going to willingly read the Healthy Holly books anymore.  She has been tainted with the appearance of corruption. I almost feel sorry for her.  But at least she has her health.


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