All this literary debauchery lately has made my head spin. I had a hard time understanding the ill feelings between some readers and writers, until I saw some of the behavior of both parties.
Authors behaving badly, pirates,
trolls, the Internet is full of them, and much like all the political spam we've
been getting slammed with, readers and authors have been dealing with the same
for much longer.
One of the biggest complaints seems to be coming from
readers who are angry writers review books. First, before I jump feet first into
this, I need to state that any writer worth their salt, is also an avid reader.
That being said, there are some authors out there committing no-no's that are
turning readers against authors in general. Let's review a couple of their
Sock puppetry: An author posing as
someone else and posting reviews for their own books or having someone else post
their reviews. Unfortunately many good authors, who are giving honest reviews of
books, are getting lumped in with these sock puppets. I have stopped posting
reviews of books I've loved on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for this reason. I
post on my website and on my blogs and I post them as "Author Blurbs". Now
this is as much for the author whose book I loved as to protect myself. I know
reviews are important, but if you are posting honest reviews, readers may think
you are trying to be sneaky, even when you are not. It might come back on you,
and you could find yourself labeled a sock puppet or author behaving badly. This
is a choice you have to make, and I'm not saying authors are wrong to post
reviews (I appreciate anyone who takes the time to do an honest review), but
please be aware of the climate on Amazon and Barnes and Noble right now, in
regards to authors doing reviews.
Spamming: In America,
we have been dealing with the political spam now for over a year. If you live in
the United States, you can't avoid it. The guilty parties are
everywhere, outside work with clipboards (bothering us on our short, supposed to
be stress free, lunch hour), in the mall (again while we are out trying to enjoy
our day), calling us on our phones, posting on the Internet, emailing, or
standing around with signs chanting on every block and intersection. We can't
get away from it, and we don't like being told who we should vote for. It's a
Now, swap politics for book promo and this is what we
have been doing to our readers. Before you get mad, realize that I believe an
author must promote their work, but there are ways to do it, and ways not to do
it. Blogs, websites, interviews, conferences and book signings, are great ways
to get out and meet readers and tell them about what you write. But please stop
spamming on social networks with blurb after blurb and excerpt that will chase
them away. Much like the political spamming, readers are sick of it. It's a big
reason why I've backed off on my social networks. I might post a link to a blog
post and tell them what I'm talking about, or if I have a book giveaway, but I
also leave the option to visit up to them. Please give them an option. Never
force your promo on your readers or they will run.
Under the same topic,
I'm going to talk about self promotion and the expectations publishers have of
their authors. No one is going to know you write books unless you talk about
them. So what can you do to put your work out there? Websites are a big tool in
your promotional bag. Here's mine: Unusual Worlds You Want to Get Lost In.
You should keep
it simple, easy to navigate. Post not only your books and excerpts, but every
cover you place on that site should have a buy link(s). Click and buy.
Make it easy for the readers to find and buy your books. When the readers visit
your blog or site, it's because they want to know more about your books. This is
the time to shake those tail feathers and promo, promo, promo. One last
thing, be sure to tag all your posts. This helps you when readers do searches.
The search engines will grab the things with the most tags first and you get
placed higher to the top, when you do this. Tag, tag, tag. It's not just
How are you ranking on a
search engine? Type your author name in and find out. First page and you're
doing good. You're goal is to dominate that first page, be it title or name. Go
forth and conquer!
Next, keep your blogs and
websites up to date. Up and coming? Have a tab at the top that lists future
releases, blurbs and covers if you have them. Projects, sure if you can talk
about them, do. Readers love to know what you are working on next. And yes, post
your reviews of books you loved. In the literary business, they're called
blurbs. Even better, ask authors you admire if they will read your book and give
you a blurb for promotional purposes. This is a great way to help fellow authors
without pushing readers away or looking like the dreaded sock puppet. A lot of
publishers will put these on your covers or inside your e-books. If a reader
likes a particular author, they may be inclined to try your book if their
favorite author loved it.
I invite fellow authors to ask me to read and
blurb. I won't promise I always can, but I will give your request
serious consideration and do my best to help you.
Word of mouth is your
friend. Make sure what your readers are saying are good things. People are more
likely to remember the bad things and talk about them, than the good things.
Don't give them bad things to talk about. Be professional whenever you are
online and in public. Some readers and reviewers may not like your books, taste
is varied, but they will respect you if you remain professional.
So in a
nutshell, write a damn good book, then set up shop on a website, post blurbs of
books you've loved and help others, talk about your projects, your upcoming
releases and keep the site up to date. Visit it at least once a week and change
Then start writing your next book. The best seller of a first
book, is a second.
Have a Great Weekend!