I was accused the other day on FB of having a scarcity mentality, while the other person proudly proclaimed they had an abundance mentality. After I got through face-palming over the ridiculousness of it, I decided it was a good point to bring up here. You see, this person was reacting to my having asked a question after they seemingly randomly shared links to their books on someone else’s wall. Getting huffy and saying that the person had been looking for books to read… fine, I really didn’t care. But the snarky comment, when this person is known for their book spamming?
As marketing goes, in general it is considered really bad manners to be constantly pushing your books. Doing it on your own FB wall, twitter feed, or what have you is one thing. If you do it too often people will tune you out or unfollow you. But promoting your books in groups, semi-private events, other’s personal timelines… those are really bad manners and justifiably will get you tossed on your ear from most places. I know that some groups allow promotion on certain days, but even then it’s questionable.
So why is this? When we’re pushing our own work, there’s a fine line between “look at my beautiful baby!” and “hey, meester, wanna meet my seester? She’s cheep!” Desperation never looks good on anyone. But you want to, need to, sell your book and get it in front of other eyes…
You know what looks a million times better than pushing your own book? Pushing someone else’s book. Look, this isn’t a competition. One author cannot possibly write enough to keep an avid reader ‘fed’ with enough material. Personally, for me as a reader, a dozen authors couldn’t do it. So why not keep that abundance mentality – only not just toward your own book – be generous, share others. By networking, we can get fresh eyes on our work.
I do this by reviewing books weekly on my blog. Sometimes I cheat a little and review shorter works, like the novelette I just did, because I don’t always have time to read a full-length novel. I will also share purchases, finds, and new releases by friends on FB, twitter, and G+ (which I’m still not sure how effective that one is, but that’s a different conversation). I’m fairly careful about this, as I don’t want to promote anything I’m not sure of. So if it’s a brand new release I haven’t already had a chance to read, I’ll share if it’s a trusted author. Otherwise, I wait until I’ve had a chance to at least start reading it.
I am always, and I encourage you to be as well, honest in my reviews without being harsh. Would you review a book differently if you knew the author was indie vs trad? How, and why would you? Ask yourself, and if you’re being harsher on Indie, reconsider it. I also suggest you be selective. If the book isn’t the best product, don’t recommend it, or you will lose the trust of your readers and friends (well, at least in that department). Story is king, and if it’s a good story, well, tell everybody about it!
I do share books often, perhaps sometimes too often, but I know that like me, many of my friends and family read a lot. I also know that finding a new book or author is hard. None of us have the time to waste, nor the money, in exploring the wilderness of Amazon for a good read. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard ‘I rely on recommendations to find new books’ in the last year or two.
I’m branching out a little, to see if running an ad will help. But I’m in no hurry, my plan for my writing is very long-term. I don’t need to be spammy, and I certainly don’t need to try to suppress other writers, because in the long run, the more readers there are, the better for all of us. Word of mouth is slow, but it’s the gold standard for a reason. When you have readers talking about your books, and doing it spontaneously, that’s better than money can buy.
Books these days aren’t scarce. But wading through the abundance can be intimidating for the reader, and sticking out can be hard for the author. You don’t want to stick out in all the wrong ways. Readers can help their favorite authors out by sharing, reviewing, and talking about books. Authors can help one another out by putting on their reader hats (what, you don’t have one? Mine is all wide-brimmed and 40’s movie starlet!) and doing the same. By coming together, we can help one another. Just don’t be spammy, and don’t go around accusing others of wanting to suppress you, or you will get an honest review, and that might not suit you!