Today I want to talk about yelling. No, not physical yelling, though shouting in a reader’s face probably won’t leave the best impression. I mean online yelling. This is something all authors have to confront, but those of us writing SFF and SFR, paranormal and horror seem to fall prey to it in alarming numbers.
Back in the dark ages of typewriters and snail mail manuscript submissions, authors had agents. Sure, some authors still have agents – someone to handle the nitty gritty of contract negotiations and such. Between the agent and the publisher, the author was essentially herded, marketing-wise. Fly here. Stand here. Sit at this table and sign books. Smile. Stand behind that podium and sound smart.
Today’s authors, unless you’re with the big houses, tend to be a more independent animal by necessity. We don’t have anyone to handle marketing and so on. We write and then we have to switch hats and run the business end of things. What works? What doesn’t? What should I write next? How do I present this? How do I get people to pay attention to this?
We’re still learning, every day. But here’s something that doesn’t work that we keep seeing despite advice to the contrary – the use of social media as a screaming platform. The social part of social media should be self-evident. It’s right there in the name. Otherwise it would be called marketing media. But still I see authors using platforms solely as Buy My Book opportunities. Buy My Book! Buy My Book! Buy IT!
Look – there’s nothing wrong with Buy My Book. But don’t scream. Keep it to a conversational level. Talk about your work. Your life. Your day job. Your hobbies. Your last trip to the zoo. Allow people to see your human side and your interests. Let them know who you are and, to some extent, what you think. Then if you nudge them in between and say “hey, look, new book,” it’s far more likely people will listen.
Groups geared to a specific genre? Great! They allow marketing posts? Even better. But make sure you’re paying attention to the rules and to the group’s purpose. If it’s discussion, help discuss. If it’s posting recommendations, recommend other writers that you like. Get involved. Help people out. Try to stay reasonable and calm. Don’t be a jerk.
And for the sake of all that’s holy, don’t post to twelve Facebook groups in succession. Everyone receiving your notifications, everyone whose feed you just clogged, will not feel kindly disposed toward you and will likely spend their book dollars elsewhere.
Converse. Joke. Laugh. Cry. Be nice.
Oh and, please buy my book. (You know I couldn’t resist.)