I received a friend request on Facebook from a man I didn’t know. I snooped through his profile, saw we had mutual author friends. Okay, I thought. Let’s help boost each other’s online platforms. What harm could it do? Minutes after accepting, he posted a thank-you on my wall, along with a message to check out his page, become a fan, and buy his book.
On Goodreads, I received an intriguing recommendation from a randomer who’d added me. I had a quick look, saw the book was the second in a series I had never heard about. Did he realize I hadn’t read the first? I looked a little more, then realized–the recommendation for the book had come from the author himself. When I politely pointed out the oddities of his recommendation, his reply was, “My apologies if my recommendation was awkward. Such is my lot….”
Some people don’t get it. They don’t get that the internet is a conversation. They think the message only goes one way—out. Things must be shouted. Things must be thrust in your face. Things must be sold. –Maureen Johnson
There is no surer way to dissuade me from buying your book than behaving like the two authors I’ve described. I cannot help but wonder—have they not realized? Has no one told them? Why such complacency in what is vomit-inducing self-promotion?
Maureen Johnson‘s blog post covers this issue far more eloquently than I ever could, but I wanted to chip in with my two cents.
Yes: being an author is about selling yourself. Publishing is at the end of the day a business. But by pushing your books in people’s faces, all you do is leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. The trick is to not sell yourself. To engage, to discuss, to let people learn about the person behind the manuscript. Nice people who make friends quickly have it easy. If you’re not nice, you better start pretending.
And hey — if I like you as a person, I’ll probably buy your book, even if it’s not my thing. Just don’t recommend it to me via Goodreads.
Many thanks to Merrilee for linking me to Maureen’s blog!