Welcome again to another edition of Author Etiquette. Apocalypse Ink Production started our segment on a few months ago and so far it’s been a great success. AIP loves authors. We wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t; but we have seen situations blow up that could have been prevented with just a little bit of patience, communication and common sense. Whether you are a new author or a pro, it’s sometimes handy to have a small reminder on how to handle a situation before it it gets ugly.
“Hello, thanks for following/friending/liking me. Please purchase my newest novel available at (website).”
“Great post. Like by (author/artist) at website (website). See my new stories!”
If you liked (Insert popular novel) you’ll enjoy my newest book (title).
I get messages like this at least once a week, mainly from authors and artists who don’t understand the basics of promotion. It’s annoying for more than one reason and I generally delete the message or post and block the offender. But, sometimes, I take pity on a newer author and try to at least explain why this is spam and annoys everyone who receives such messages.
Promotion is the act of bringing interest to a product, service or individual. It is often used in a marketing plan to increase demand. Whether you promote yourself or have others promote you, it’s important to understand a few basic rules.
When you look at (insert famous author) facebook page or twitter stream it won’t be filled with pleas to buy the next book--unless it’s a release week. Instead, most pages are filled with posts that make that author a person. Common posts could include photos of friends and family, recipies, posts on pets and other conversations about the things that matter to the author.
What attracts people to your books may not be the story you tell but the person that others see. Being yourself will attract those who read what you like to write. It’s okay to talk about your work, just make sure that you talk about other things too. Writers talk about needing more rounded characters; make sure you have a well rounded author as well.
It’s not supposed to be easy
Promotions, especially online through social media, blog posts and email can seem like a quick and easy way to contact a lot of people. It can be if you have permission to contact them via a newsletter, long standing friendship, or in a group that allows promotional posts. But, if you don’t have permission, don’t know the person or are in a group that doesn’t allow promotions, then there’s a good chance your posts could be deleted or you could be blocked.
Building your promotional platform will take time. By being yourself, you build friendships and those friendships are key to promotion. As anyone knows, those friendships take time to build. Time and effort is needed. And yes it is work.
It’s not always about you
One of the biggest mistake some authors make is to focus solely on their own work. But there are many other stories out that that probably appeal to you. So why not help promote them too?
Much of the promotions for small press and newer writers is accomplished by volunteers or people who have enjoyed their work. It’s a very much a “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” situation. Most of the time, if you help promote a story, the favor will be returned later.
Quality not quantity
All authors understand the excitement of a new story or book being out. It’s easy to get caught up wanting to tell everyone about your new publication, but not everyone wants to hear it 24/7.
You are more likely to get click throughs from a few, very well thought out and worded post than the same post every half hour. Sure you might be reaching more people, but the constant promotion is annoying, not intriguing. Craft your promotional posts carefully. Tease out a few details, encourage them to read or even purchase, but don’t spam your fan base.
When you are starting out in any sort of creative venture it’s very important to get your name and your work out there and it’s easy to justify shortcuts. But when it comes to promoting, the best option isn’t to post the same thing over and over and message everyone on your friend, follower or email list. You won’t make any headway and in many instances will find yourself blocked from other interactions. Be yourself and help other authors out--most of the time they will happily exchange the favor. Most of all be polite and friendly--it will take you further than you think.
Thank you for reading and we hope this post helps you understand a little more about promotions.
~The Shadow Minion