Hi again everybody,
This could I suppose be considered an unplanned sequel to my post Why I Won't Try To Sell You My Book.
It could alternately have been called "What Will Or Will Not Make Me More Likely To Buy Your Book...or What Will Ensure I Never Buy Your Book If It Were The Last Book On Earth."
I said in the aforementioned post about the over-marketing that many authors are doing that I didn't count, that my opinion doesn't matter, because I'm a nobody.
Then today, it hit me.
I'm a nobody who buys books, and so just maybe my thoughts on all this should matter a little to the people so desperately trying to sell them.
So allow me to briefly to take off my aspiring-writer's hat and put on a much bigger one: the one that would be the equivalent of the Ten Gallon Hat in marketing. Across it in big huge letters: CONSUMER.
I am your audience, frankly, because I buy books. Fiction books, non-fiction books, traditionally and independently published books. Across the genres I buy books by friends and strangers (many of the friends being readers of this blog- wish I could buy everybody's books but alas my eyes couldn't take it even if my budget could.). Books, books, books.
I own a Kindle and love it but I am still willing to shell out for hardcover if the book means enough to me.
And I'm not the only one I buy books for. My spouse reads voraciously, and so does my teenage daughter. I even buy books for little kids who are friends of mine and to donate and give as gifts in general so I buy broadly, and there is little I love more than browsing Amazon or a real brick and mortar and coming home with more than I intended to buy.
You want me on your side.
But many of you are daily chipping away at that tenuous relationship between author and reader and you don't even realize it. I know you must not realize it or you would not persist in doing it- especially with the huge amount (everywhere lately it seems) of articles cautioning you not to do it.
Case in point: I got frustrated today on Twitter, especially, because I kept seeing tweets for the same book by several people, spaced out throughout the day. This was surely planned in advance- and it's, well, as annoying as hell. I heard you the first half dozen times- it's on sale this week, I get it. We all get it. We know. We heard you. It's okay, really you don't have to tell us again. (Isn't that kind of writing annoying? I did it to make my point.)
I've unfollowed a couple people already today who were part of this marketing blitz and I swear if it keeps up by the end of the day everybody who signed up for it will be unfollowed, no matter how much I may like them personally. Why? Because I refuse to be spammed anymore. By anyone, for any reason. And this is spam.
Just like tweeting the same links days in a row, again and again and again be they to blog posts or other articles you've found- that is spam. And I'm not the only one irritated by it.
There's other stuff going on too- but I don't want to get specific for fear of hurting anybody's feelings. Suffice it to say before you start linking to advice on how important a good clean website is to have you should look at your own first.
Sometimes I wonder if people even read the links they post.
I know that posting like this may cost me favor in the eyes of some of my writing acquaintances but I'd rather they despise me from this day forward than risk them losing their customer base in greater numbers because no one warned them that they were treading the thinnest of ice. As I've heard some parents say, "I love my kid enough to let them hate me for awhile." I feel the same way about the writers I know. I'd rather risk you disliking me than risk seeing you damage what you've worked so hard for because no one would be honest with you.
So the short version of this post is: I would offer, purely as a consumer who can only attest to what I do and do not like as a consumer (in other words I don't claim to be a marketing expert and never did) a few humble pleas:
Please don't spam. Not on Twitter. Not on Facebook. Not through blog blitzes or organizing 50 friends to all talk about your book everywhere on the same day. Just don't. It is doing more harm than good in the long run in the eyes of your potential customers (at least, some of your potential customers.) Spread your marketing out, and get CREATIVE with it. Wit and creativity win every time. If you've written a serious non-fiction book, then aim for memorable instead of witty.
Do not retweet the same links days in a row. It's repetitive and comes off as insulting: either we heard you the first time or we don't care. It's as simple as that.
This especially applies to blog posts (we're likely already following your blog if we like you anyway) and links to other people's blogs especially. Once is enough.
You're gonna tweet about your own books more than once of course, I know, everybody has to. Just find creative ways to do it and don't post the same tweet day in and out. Please.
Please do show your personality and don't just blog or tweet or whatever about your book or your friends' books every day. I'm not saying tweet everything that happens in your life (I don't really need to know when you showered last though I'm hoping it was recently) but show me a little of who you are. Be funny. Be kind to someone else. Care about something other than selling. Because if you don't, you're just going to end up like the commercials on my DVR...fast-forwarded through.
Remember, if you take nothing away from this at all but one thing, please let it be this.
I have money to buy books. I might even buy your book.
But if you annoy me, repeatedly and without let up, there is no way that I will be buying your book.
Good luck guys. I don't envy you out there, the choices you have to make about all this stuff. But you can do it- I know you can-- and win a dedicated and loyal fan base in the process, if you just show us all some respect for having brains and hearts, as well as wallets.
PS PLEASE DO NOT MISS tomorrow's post. I never thought I'd do another interview here- then I realized there was one person I would come out of interviewing retirement for. You won't be disappointed.