Marketing is a very necessary component of achieving success while on the road to becoming a full-time author. However, doing so can be a tricky proposition.
I was viewing the updates section of the wonderful, book-related site, Goodreads recently, and was fortunate enough to catch a particular post contained in a group called “Chirenjenzie.” The name really caught my eye, so I gave it a further look. The tag line, “When to pimp yourself out” closed the deal for me; now I HAD to check it out. As I read, the piece resonated with me—so much so that I immediately sent an email to the individual who penned it, author Elizabeth Isaacs. I expressed to Ms. Isaacs that her words rang true to me, as my own thoughts, observations, and experiences ran somewhat parallel to her own. I also told her I was interested in using her post as a catalyst for this week’s subject matter on my own blog. Elizabeth Isaacs graciously agreed. The following is her original post.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a bit tired of random people friending me on Goodreads, Twitter, or Facebook only to follow up with a “so glad to meet you, please read my book” message.
I’ve run into more indie writers who seem to think this is a good marketing approach. My opinion … they couldn’t be more wrong. It turns people off.
I no longer check messages on Twitter for this very reason. About 80% of the time I get a “Thanks for the follow, and read my book” message in some version or other. *sigh*
Here’s the thing. Social networking is just that. Social. We friend people because we think they are interesting and we’d like to get to know them. If they feel the same, they friend back. If they want to know more about your work, they can click on your site, they can look on your author page, and they can join your fanpage.
I like to think of it this way: no one likes to go to an office party only to be cornered by that one person that yammers on and on about their project, their awards, blah, blah, blah… We hate it in person. Why do people think it’s acceptable on the net?
First off, I’d like to say two things to Elizabeth Isaacs; I commend you for having the guts to express your views with conviction, and I thank you for allowing me to re-post them.
I’ve noticed a growing trend lately. People are becoming increasingly annoyed with the “in-your-face” style some have employed to get the word out about their work. Strings on certain message boards have become mini battle-grounds, tiffs have broken out between a few authors, and a certain degree of back-biting has come to the fore.
Let me join Ms. Isaacs, by taking the initiative to launch a “friendly-fire” warning shot across the collective bow of indie and small press authors, of whose ranks I am proudly a member.
We can do better.
How, you ask? I’ll be the first to admit, it’s confusing. We all want our work to be read and embraced by the masses, hoping that sales of our books will eventually allow us to quit our day jobs, and do what we love, full-time—write. I know…there are hundreds of thousands of books out there. How do we stand out? How do we get our work noticed by those who have such a sea of choices before them?
First, and foremost, you MUST have a great book to offer, else all other efforts are completely wasted. The methods needed to achieve this initial goal are a completely separate issue, upon which there have been volumes written. For our conversation, we’ll assume your novel is the greatest work of all time, yet no one knows about it.
Now, I’ve only been at this game a relatively short time. Therefore, I won’t pretend to have all the answers. I know I’m not an authority, by any means. What I do have in my arsenal is common sense, humility, and the power of observation. I’ve surrounded myself with really smart, talented people who know their stuff. I’ve initiated conversations and asked questions when confused, or clueless. In doing so, I’ve learned a great deal, and made some wonderful friendships I know will last a lifetime.
Along the way, I’ve tried to determine what works best for me. We all need to do so as our personalities and talents differ, from one writer to the next. That being said, I can’t give you a step by step instruction manual of how it’s done. However, what I CAN offer, is an example of a particular individual who I truly believe has it well figured out.
Her name is L.M. Stull.
Lisa began building an author platform over six months ago, prior to the release of any books. I say books, because she has three of them almost ready to go. I find this remarkable, and very savvy. I know, from experience, just how difficult it is to write, promote, and hold down a day job, all at the same time. It simply can’t be done effectively. Lisa focused on writing her novels first. A legal secretary by day, this is quite a feat in and of itself. Her author platform presently consists of a multitude of areas, the likes of which will stagger you.
I said I wanted to help. I never said it would be easy.
Sit down, because these stats are mind-blowing. Lisa has a Twitter account, @LMStull, from which she has conversations with a vast number of followers—5200 followers, at last count. Another piece of the platform puzzle is her author’s page, with 450 “likes.” This next one really impressed me…she started on Goodreads in Sept.2010, and now had 1870 friends. Further, there is lmstull.com, where Lisa posts her own short fiction, author interviews, guest posts, etc., totalling 15 different catagories.
But wait…I’m not done yet.
L.M. Stull is also actively involved in writing a world-fantasy anthology called “Splintered Lands,” with fellow authors, James Tallett, Walter Shuler, Sam Adamson, and E.P. Marcellin. In addition, less than two months ago, she founded Between the Lines Book Club, which features Indie and small-press authors works. In a short time, membership at BTL has grown to over 100 members.
To put it bluntly, L.M. Stull is everywhere. The real beauty of it is this—she is, hands-down, one of the most helpful, encouraging, and genuine individuals I have ever had the pleasure of calling a friend. I constantly see Lisa drop whatever she’s doing to help others on a daily basis. Myself, and a number of other friends are convinced that she wears a magic cape, or has an army of clones doing her work. In actuality, neither is true. Her fuels are passion, conviction, and simple positivity.
Granted, there are very few of us out there who would be able to keep her schedule, or energy level, for more than a few hours straight without collapsing. My goal is not to convince you that you must become another L.M. Stull. My goal is to point out a legitimate example of how marketing is done, and done correctly.
Lisa is a fabulous writer. I know, because I read her fantasy and flash-fiction work. Guess what? So do many thousands of other readers who have chosen to follow this remarkable individual. Want to know the kicker? You wil seldom hear L.M. Stull mention her soon-to-be-released works. Why? She doesn’t have to. Lisa has built a mammoth platform, and people are literally chomping at the bit to read her work.
That, my friends, is how you promote your books without pissing people off. I will continue to take my cues from this lovely, and talented woman. I’m truly proud of her accomplishments, and honored to call her “friend.”
Please visit both Elizabeth Isaacs, and L.M. Stull’s various internet sites. I have listed both author’s particulars below. As always, I would love you to weigh-in with any thoughts, comments, and opinions you might have after reading this week’s post. Thank you for stopping by.
All the best, AB
Elizabeth Isaacs: Twitter @kailmeyra
Book Blog http://thelightofasteria.blogspot.com
Goodreads group – Chirenjenzie
Book – The Light of Asteria
Bk link – http://amzn.com/B004PLNOJO
Author page – http://on.fb.me/icpeKQ
L.M. Stull: Twitter @LMStull
Books – Memoirs of a Monkey
Running from Myself
Author page – http://on.fb.me/i0AAdY
Splintered Lands – http://splinteredlands.com/