My novella “Scarecrows” is now on Amazon and other e-booksellers and my Goodreads profile shows “Author” and lists my book. It has a couple great reviews and online friends have added it to their reading lists. I’m thrilled and really appreciate all the support.
The past few weeks, I’ve experienced a rather stressful transition from reader to author. It never occurred to me that I had to “sell” my book. I’m reading articles and getting suggestions as to how a new author has to approach the sales end of writing.
Several strategies dominate the advice; I made a list…
1) Compile a list of potential reviewers – offer a free copy in exchange for a review. I wrote the list and put it to one side.
2) Write draft copies of possible promotional posts to sell the book on social media. I had posted updates to let everyone know the book was available for pre-order. I hadn’t done anything to sell the book and I need to push for sales.
With all the expert advice in mind, I was sure I was on the right track and everything would work well. Then things began to happen that made me re-think the above strategy.
It’s midnight and I’m in an online discussion about reviews. Honesty is the most important part of reviews. I’m also spouting the FTC regulations, and telling other members I do not accept free books to review. I reiterate how important it is for reviewers to disclose any compensation they received, including a free copy, and any relationship they have with the author, like being friends (yes – social media counts), relatives, co-workers, etc.
I type all this in and post it. Reaching for my coffee, I notice the list of “potential” reviewers I wrote. My intention was to offer a free book for a review. WOW! I now have a conflict of interest with myself. As a writer, pursuing those reviews is acceptable, as a reader it’s a direct conflict with my own principles. Do I change what I believe for the sake of promotion? Do I offer a free book in exchange for a review? NO! I just can’t do that.
Moving on to #2. Oh Lordy! Yes I‘m banging my head on my desk. Wait! Let me bang it again, but harder this time. SPAM, the one that comes in a can is delicious. But I avoid, like the Bubonic Plague, any fanatical authors who stick their SPAM into every nook and cranny of social media. A promo for any book is great in the right place and at the right time. Do I need to SPAM my book simply because I’m an author? No, I do not. I definitely can’t do that either.
I’m up to #3 and I do believe that celebrating with my friends, online and locally, sounds like fun. To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about that when I planned these events. My purpose was to sell a bunch of books, and sign everything in sight. You know – make money and get my fifteen minutes at the same time. It kind of sounds like a Tupperware party.
I don’t want my friends to feel used – that’s not my style. I know my friends are happy for me (most of them anyway) and want to support me and that’s the best feeling in the world. I love their enthusiasm. I’d rather invite them all to a BarBQ – I’ll flip sliders instead of signing books. Wait – my novella is not going to be available in print. They are only doing an e-book. Maybe I’ll have that BarBQ after all.
Those authors able to promote themselves tastefully, I really wish them much success. The truth is I knew I could never be a big promoter and chose to go the traditional route instead. My publisher tells me to just keep writing and that’s exactly what I intend to do.
I don’ think being a reader and writer should create conflict. I think they should be very compatible. My wish is that readers who write, never ever see the need or feel any pressure to compromise their principles.