There’s a lot to worry about after you’ve written your book. The biggest fear I have is “will anyone even see it?” The proliferation of indie publishing has been fantastic because our books live online FOREVER. But, that infinite shelf space means my tiny section is quite hard to find.
In recent years people have done a few things that “show success” in their eyes: social media promotion. I follow a decent amount of writers on Twitter and Google+. People will promote, promote, promote, for days or weeks at a time. I don’t know about you, but I sure get sick of seeing the same old sales pitch getting thrown in my face. Yes you wrote a book. Yes that’s exciting. Yes I love to read. No I’m not buying your book.
Why? Because I don’t like being sold to.
Think about this: why do we all dread going to buy a car? Simple: we know there’s a sales pitch coming at us non-stop. We hate it. There’s an “angle” and that salesman will do ANYTHING to keep us in the showroom and sign on the dotted line. The same can be said for book promotion. Tons of tweets and posts to other networks simply sell your book to me. It does nothing to make me WANT to buy it. Aside from my inner-circle of readers who enjoy my work, it’s hard to get the word about my books out from that group.
In the end, word of mouth is the real way books get sold. Jeff The Author tweets about his book and I don’t care. But my friend Jenn tweets about a book she enjoys and I’ll go check it out on GoodReads or Amazon. The platform and mechanisms are all the same but there’s one key difference: I know Jenn. I know if she’s tweeting about a book then I may enjoy it. Jeff? I couldn’t give two shits about Jeff. He’s trying to sell me a Honda.
Through writing five short stories and working through various promotional methods, the only way books really grab the interest of new readers is through referrals by people you trust. Your friend won’t sell you and we instinctively will consider the book being told they liked.
As I begin work on the release for my debut techno thriller novel Spirit Hackers, I must figure out how to balance getting the word out while not selling to everyone while also working my hardest to make sure people that enjoy the book will tell their friends. It’s quite the balancing act and one that can easily crumble.
So don’t buy my books. Enjoy my books. Perhaps one of your friends did.