December 31st, 2012
Stop Panicking

I’ve written this entry in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy. It’s about authors panicking and behaving badly because of it. You might see a little of yourself in this entry. Goodness knows I recognized some behaviors that I’m not proud of.

You might be an author behaving badly if…

You’ve ever signed up another author (or a reader) to your newsletter without asking them first. (Someone commenting on your blog or dropping you an email does not mean they want updates on your work–or that they even read you.)

You’ve ever sent an author an email to tell them that they would enjoy reading your book and it wasn’t for contest consideration. (You’re not a door-to-door salesman, so stop knocking on random ‘doors’.)

You’ve ever visited an author’s website just so you could promote your own work. (Rolls up newspaper and smacks you on the nose. Bad writer. Don’t EVER do that. Writers have very long memories and will not forget it.)

You’ve ever linked to your own work on someone else’s site and the discussion never called for it. (Unless the discussion specifically asks for reading suggestions, don’t do this. It only makes you look like a desperate noob.)

You’ve ever tried to guilt your readers into leaving reviews. (This is not the same thing as asking for their help. That’s okay, if you’re comfortable doing it, but remember readers are not there to do your bidding. It’s your job (my job) to write something good enough to get them talking.)

You use your Twitter/Whatever Social Media to do nothing but promote your work. Constantly. (Step away from the keyboard. Really. I mean it. You don’t want people (ie readers) to avoid you because they find you annoying.)

You believe social media is the way to success, not studying craft and writing more books. That comes later. After you’ve ‘made it’. (There’s a reason that the horse goes in front of the cart. Stop cracking your whip at empty space and learn how to hitch up the horse.)

You spend most of your time online telling traditionally published authors that they’re stupid/naive/etc. for not Indie publishing. (In those moments, it’s not them showing their ignorance. It’s you. This is especially true if you haven’t experienced being traditionally published. Everyone’s path to success is different. Publishing is not a ‘my way or the highway’ sort of thing.)

You put your name in the ‘keyword’ section for someone else’s book or created a name close to another author in order to confuse their readers into buying your work. (Have the courage to stand on your own. Don’t ride others’ coattails.)

And finally you might be an author behaving badly, if every time someone announces an achievement on a chat loop, you consider that your cue to promote one of your books. (Relax. Let them have their moment. It may be their only one and it takes nothing away from you.)

Happy New Year! Stay safe! See you in 2013. 🙂

2 comments to “Stop Panicking”

  1. I don’t use Twitter for anything besides logging into other spots or doing the announcements. I know it’s meaningless, but I can’t figure out anything else to do with Twitter. 🙂

    Writers spamming other writers is a definite cry for help. 🙂

  2. Bernard, I like to play on Twitter. I make occasional announcements, but they are rare. As you know, I don’t really participate in other social media avenues. I’m signed up for Google+, but frankly don’t see the point of it. I know most writers are trying everything possible to be heard and seen. I certainly feel like I’m being swept away in a storm of content, but like you, I can’t really figure out what to do other than write more.

    One place that seems to get a response is Book Bub (at least I think that’s its name). I haven’t advertised there, but several authors say that they saw an immediate increase in sales after they did. It’s not cheap, but if it works, then it might be something to look into. I’m debating about trying it.

    Yes, it is. A very loud cry. 🙂