I get confused with this whole indie-publishing thing in terms of the advice I keep hearing from experts. On one hand, people say that no matter how great your book is, no one is going to read it or even know it exists if you don’t market it. On the other hand, I sometimes come across bloggers who brag about how a book they put up anonymously on Amazon got thousands of sales without them doing any marketing for it whatsoever. Okay, how did that happen? And then there are some popular authors who say that marketing isn’t necessary; all you have to do is keep writing and producing great books and that’s how you’ll be successful. But how will people see these great books in the first place if you don’t market them?
I can understand why people say that no one will see your book no matter how awesome it is if you don’t promote it and get reviews for it: Because books are displayed on Amazon pages according to their popularity and sales ranking. Therefore, when you first publish a book and it doesn’t yet have sales or reviews, it gets dumped right at the very end where people will have to click through hundreds of pages in order to get to even see it. And Amazon deliberately makes it difficult for people to navigate the pages and see other books. They provide only one button that clicks to the next page. They don’t provide any options for page skipping or page number selection. I think they do this on purpose to force authors to pay for ads.
But then how do you explain the cases where books sell lots of copies despite being published without any marketing or promotion? How did people see them in the first place? Was it because of just sheer lottery luck where some person happened to persistently navigate through hundreds of pages right down to the dump region and just happened to see the book, and the person happened to have tons of friends/followers they wanted to share the book with? Is that what happens in cases like that?