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Angel’s Bits: Stop Yelling!

yelling ghostHi all! Welcome to the first installment of Angel’s Bits on QSF where you’ll be subjected to, er, where I hope to talk about writers’ issues, the market, and Stuff We’re Seeing Out There.

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.)

3 thoughts on “Angel’s Bits: Stop Yelling!”

  1. I so rarely remember to use social media myself. I post free fic all the time, and forget to tell people too. LOL. I do like sharing interesting books I see, or helping my friends promo, but I really feel that social media is the best way to engage your audience and BE interesting. That leads to friends and followers who just have to share your posts, catching the eye of some of their friends and followers, hopefully, which spirals out until you grow the net of your audience. That way, when you do have a book come out, you don’t have to scream about it to get attention, it’s already there.

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  2. I completely agree. You want exposure, but not to overdo it. I can think of two authors who have flooded my feed recently. At first I was interested in their books, but now, after seeing their cover and hearing their screams for so long, I don’t even bother to read their non-promo posts. I’m sick of seeing their book covers and their constant posting of reviews. I won’t be buying those books any more, and I’m not interested in their next one either.

    Good post.

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  3. Here’s the deal (straight from the Interactive Media MA program at Quinnipiac):

    Follow a rule of thirds.

    1/3 of your time, promote your work (but don’t be a jerk about it)
    1/3 of the time, reveal your personality (be positive)
    1/3 of the time, promote others’ works

    You can slide these numbers around a bit but here’s the kicker: the 1/3 of self-promo time is a hard and fast limit.

    So! If you are posting once every day and just looking at a weekly basis, then you get 2 self-promo posts, because 3 will exceed your 1/3 allowance. For a month where you are posting one every day, then you’ve got 10 days (or 9 if it’s February). Posting 18 times/day? Then no more than 6 of those are for you. You get the idea.

    Follow the rule and, unless you really squander your limited number of posts with screaming, you’ll be able to stay on the better side of shouting and respectability, kindness and community.

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