Sunday, March 22, 2015

Letter to Desperate Author Dude ...

by Kristi Belcamino

Hey, Author Dude, if you hop on my Facebook author page and comment with a random link to your author page or, even worse, your Amazon page, in the comments of one of my own posts, I might ignore it the first time.

The second time, you're banned.

Annoying, but in the scope of things, not that big a deal. And yet it still makes me wonder:

Hey, Author Dude, did you really think that was going to garner you some random book sales? I mean, really? Is that little snippet of description and that picture of you so incredibly compelling that all of the 2K plus people on my Facebook page are going to click on and then rush to buy your book?


Which brings me to my point, many of the methods that you, oh, desperate-for-sales-author, use can't possibly be effective. There is no way.

I get where this writing business can make you feel desperate. I get that. This is a tough business, full of ups and downs and heartbreaking moments of self-doubt and despair. Believe me, I get that.

But the only thing you can really do to increase your books sales is to continue improving as a writer every single day of your life and then maybe this: lay off the hard-hitting sales and stop acting like a dick. Unless you really are one, and then you're out of luck. Or maybe that schtick will work for you.

But my point is that in this writing world, your behavior on social media shouldn't involve selling your books, it should involve selling yourself.

Let people know what you are like and let that lead them to your books.

If you are sweet, be sweet. If you are snarky, be snarky.

Be yourself and that will lead your true readers to you and your books. And that's what you want, your true readers, who like you and hope that your books are like you. When the two match, then, bingo, you have a genuine reader you can thank your lucky stars for every day.

And that one reader who loves your books is worth more than 500 lukewarm-about-your-books "friends" on social media.

Because I see you there friending as many people as possible on Facebook and then following just as many on Twitter.

Here's a little hint for you:

This really doesn't work. Those numbers don't translate to book sales.

Yet, I see you do it again and again.

And when you are on social media, STFU about your book for 90 percent of the time. If people like you enough, they'll find your books on their own. If something cool is happening, then you can talk about it 10 percent of the time without coming off like a douche.

By the way, when you are making social media friends, please don't do this creepy, stalkerish thing where you methodically go down my friend's list and send friend requests to everyone I know, including my family and friends.

And, yes, it's going to be obvious you've done this when I go to your Facebook page and find that our mutual friends include my neighbor next door and my relative across the country.

Creepy. Stalkerish. Desperate. Futile.

And when you follow me on Twitter and I follow back, please don't end it before it begins by sending me a direct message telling me about your book or your author page. Because I'm going to immediately unfollow you. When you post your books and links to them on my page, I'm going to ban you.

And of course, you don't really care if I unfriend you or unfollow you, because I'm just one of the faceless masses to you. You see your biggest fault is seeing potential readers as masses instead of individuals. Because to you it's a numbers game -- throw your book at as many eyeballs as you can and see what sticks.

Hope that's working for you, Author Dude.


Dana King said...

Thanks for this. I have a friend in my writers group who has a great more perceived industry cred than her accomplishments warrant, and is always sending emails and pushing folks to explore this avenue or that toward publication, when the real issue is to help them to write better books.

As fro post-publication, I know I should do more, but I'm not comfortable with it. I'd rather be less public and comfortable with myself than an asshole.

Kristi said...

It is uncomfortable, but I think you can find what feels right to you and what doesn't. I think I've found that, even though once in a while I push that comfort level. For instance, my debut novel is eligible for an Anthony Award and at first I wasn't going to say anything, but then saw how and what other authors said and was encouraged to do something to tell people about the eligibility. I heard back from other authors saying that they appreciate this reminder because after a year they sometimes do forget who they've read and who to nominate. But I had to find my comfort level in how I would say that my book was eligible. Does that make sense? Sort of long and drawn out ... thanks for commenting, Dana

Kristopher said...

Might as well tell Desperate, Random Author Dude here that it's also not very effective to send a review request to a blog (major or minor) and include a link where they can purchase your book for review.

It's not going to happen, Dude.

(BTW, I purchased plenty of books that end up getting reviewed, but not ONE of them was because the author sent me a link to their sales page).

Kristi said...

Kristopher -- Ack! Clueless AND tacky. What was he thinking?