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Am I old-fashioned or just plain weird?

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Amanita, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

    I really don't want to step on anyone's toes with this and I'm serious about the title. ;) Reading through many of the "marketing" threads here made me feel this way.
    When I'm buying a book, I usually do so for one of the following three reasons.
    - It attracted my attention at a bookstore (or more rarely while browsing through Amazon)
    - It has been recommended by friends or family members whose opinions I trust and they things they've told me about the book made me think it might interest me
    - I've read about in forums, online literature discussions and the like and got interested in it.

    I couldn't care less about the author's personal life (as long as I'm not supposed to write an essay about the book) and I'm not interested in hearing about his progress or read how he goes on about his work. This may actually spoil the fun for me, because knowing that the author meant to make me feel a certain way with a scene stops me from actually feeling that. Knowing that the author has an approach I dislike also makes me enjoy the book less.
    I'm also not interested in blogs, podcasts, ads on social media and people promoting books that don't even exist yet. I don't want to read about the author asking himself the things we're asking us here and struggling through their story or anything else like it.
    I want to read a good book. Period.

    I also believe that an author should grip people with his writing and not with his personality or skills in getting other people involved in "his cause." I don't mind author homepages where the books are introduced and the schedules for new ones given but only after something has been published and has tweaked an interest.
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    You're not old fashioned, Amanita. You're right.

    If you want to promote your book, you should use an online network to get people to review your book. It's crazy to try and build an online community and expect them to form the bulk of your reader base. If you can build an online community of that size, you can do a lot more with it than ask them to read your book.
  3. danr62

    danr62 Sage

    I agree, I never read an author's blog or go on their Facebook page or Twitter feed unless I've already read their book and loved it. Or at least, that's how it was before I decided to start writing. Now, I'm on the lookout for opportunities to network, and this has lead me to finding some books that I'm interested in reading, and has already caused me to buy a few books.
  4. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

    DO what works for you:)
  5. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

    Ditto, but I often don't look at their profile unless I am feeling nosy or it is someone I really like.
    I have a blog on good reads but as it is utterly rubbish I doubt anyone reads it. I have no idea what is interesting:)
    A lot of it does work both ways. I have sold a couple of books solely through facebook/goodreads links but I know people who have done hardly any marketing and been happy with it.

    I do object to people doing a day by day run down. I put up a few bits on my author page, like meeting my cover artist as I was very excited:) I dont do that every day. WHo cares if I edited chapter 6 or whatever.
    I do like other peoples books and pages but that is more to see what is about and to be polite.

    If you like that sort of thing fine, if not also fine.

    People write for a lot of reasons and it is easy to get caught up with the whole marketing thing. Just do what works for you. There are guidelines but as with many things if you decide to go another route that is your choice:).

    I don't have twitter and not getting one. FB i use but some of the stuff is funny and useful, you can pick up bargains.
    I found pinterest the other day and spent half the time looking at nice pictures:)
  6. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

    I seriously thought about doing a blog (even did a few posts) before realizing that the cost (timewise) versus expected benefit would be too high. To really develop a following, you have to devote serious time to it.

    I think that FB is valuable. Through friends of friends, you can reach a lot of people with little expense in the way of either time or money. I'm not sure how that will translate to sales, but spending a bit of effort to get the word out can't be all bad. Besides, with my WIP being my first novel, I have a lot of friends and family itching to buy my book. I expect getting the word out to them on FB to be my #1 sales technique at the start.

    You do have to have some strategy to get word out about your book. I agree with the above post about getting reviews. I've been scouting blogs and plan to submit my work to a lot of them. Even if each review only gets me a sale or two, it increases my profile.

    Marketing is not my forte, and I'm hoping this forum will result in people sharing their ideas.
  7. Dan Latham

    Dan Latham Minstrel

    I once heard a published, professional author say that the best advertising is to write your next book. For a while I was convinced I needed Twitter, a blog, and a Facebook page. It became apparent that no one wants to read what a guy with one self-published book has to say(not that there's much).

    Once I have a few titles under my belt, I intend to use the blog to be a portal for people to buy my books. I still won't have an interesting personal life, or insights on the world's problems. I'll probably just post funny pics of my pets.
    Reaver likes this.
  8. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    I agree in part. I totally agree I don't need to know the intimate details of an author's life.

    BUT I do listen to podcasts by writers. I think I can learn something from them. Sometimes I like what they write, other times I don't. I also listen to interviews, but I don't listen to them because I want to know the names of their cats or what their favourite cereal is. I listen to them because I want to hear about their process and approach. And I do want to know what they were trying to achieve in certain parts of their work, and I do like to hear them struggle with questions. The reason I like to hear these things is because I can learn from them. I think it can help me be a better writer. I think if you want to be a pro, you should try and see how pros work, and see what the common denominator is. Take what you can from how they do things, and toss the rest.
  9. I agree. In a perfect world it should be my writing that makes the sale.

    HOWEVER, I'm hearing even from authors who are traditionally published that overall authors are expected to develop an online presence "doing stuff." So apparently conventional wisdom is you have to turn yourself into a cult of personality.

    I'm not really excited about that, but there are people who are more successful than I who seem to think that's the way things are going.
  10. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    That doesn't really tell us what kind of "stuff" works or doesn't. An author can be very busy and active making an online presence without keeping an up-to-date facebook page, twitter account and blog. You could be very active networking behind the scenes or making guest contributions designed to add value to the readers rather than generate a cult of personality.
  11. Well I don't know what to tell you about what "stuff" works and what doesn't. I wasn't responding to that--and I shouldn't, because I have no experience in it.

    The original post specifically focused on a writer's writing doing all the selling, vs. "more" -- the "online presence" -- and that's what I was responding to. A lot of authors seem to think "more" is needed. But I'm not the guy to tell you what the specifics of "more" should be.
  12. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

    I guess you have to do what works for you- or indeed not do.

    Someone who feels uncomfortable "selling themselves" on blogs, facebook, whatever perhaps shouldn't if they are happy like that. It can be detrimental anyway. Some people find it works and they enjoy it, some people find the opposite. Personally I find it can be useful, learning from other writer's experiences and potential ideas but I am actually rubbish the whole marketing thing.

    If you wish to spend your time actually writing then cool that is a good idea:) I know people who do no marketing at all, other than telling their friends and are happy with that- they do sell less books but they have more time to write and don't care about the whole online persona.

    Just do what you want to and damn what anyone else thinks:)
  13. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    I thought the original post was about whether or not readers cared about the author's blog, facebook and twitter presence. I don't think readers do care, and I think people who use social networking to attract readers are going about it wrong. You should use a social network to - well, to network and connect with people who can write book reviews or give you the opportunity to feature your work with them.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  14. The original post in this thread can be summed up as "I don't care about your personal life, I want the quality of the book to be what sells me." It also mentions not being interested in an author talking about his/her day, his/her work process, books he/she hasn't written yet, and being generally uninterested in podcasts. As the title is "Am I old fashioned or just plain weird?" it's pretty natural to assume we're being invited to comment on the worth of all those activities. So I did.

    So what are you objecting to specifically?
  15. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    I guess if it really matters, what I'm objecting to is the idea above. Being active online doesn't mean you have to keep the sort of daily personal blog to attract readers in the way Amanita was describing. Having an active social network doesn't equate to generating your own cult of personality.

    I think most authors who approach it with that attitude are setting themselves up for failure.

    You're better off taking a collaborative approach to social media networking, focusing on finding ways to make yourself available to the "hubs" that your audience gathers around. Use your network to find people to write book reviews or give you a platform like a guest article for speaking to your audience.

    That's going to give you better results than trying to build a readership for your daily blog post or twitter feed, which is how you would go about setting up a "cult of personality."
  16. boboratory

    boboratory Minstrel

    I agree with Dan, in that the best promotion for an author is their next book. Building an online presence is just like anything else, you need to do it to the level that you are comfortable, or feel you can maintain. Some authors like to blog, some like to podcast, some like to videocast, some prefer the more "established" medium of email. I know alot that do nothing at all, and focus on writing. I don't think it's appropriate to say "you need at least...", because I've known authors that built a following with just the books, no Facebook Pages, no Twitters, no email lists. Those things can only help if you understand how to use them, know what you want to get from them, and follow through on using them.

    It's all about you surrounding yourself with the tools you think will help more people discover and read your work- not just today, but in the future. I think about writing like a game of Chess, you are in the present with the book you have now, but you should always be thinking about the next few books, and how you can or want to promote those.

    There is also that increasingly cultural element of the persona as product, ie. the writer as celebrity. Before you do any of your social media or promotional efforts, give that some soul searching and decide WHAT that tool is promoting, you as the writer, or the book as the product. There is nothing wrong with either way, but you will better be comfortable with the results if you understand the motivations.

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