I’ve received an email and a private message from my friend and former publisher, Dave Dinsmore (Biting Dog Pubs) in the past month – both suggesting I contact another press that might be interested in taking on my work in their digital collection. I sent an email to them a few minutes ago. I’m keeping details to a minimum of course, because there is a chance they won’t want what I’m offering. Of course if they do I’ll be blasting the news all over the place. Until then I am trying to figure out how to promote without paying someone to do it for me. Hey, I’m broke.
Social media is the ticket, right? Here’s a tip to all you other unknowns out there. Most of your fb, twitter, Google+ and other “friends” don’t really give a rat’s ass about your book(s). Look at it this way, do you care about their bowling scores. Of course not. When you post over and over again that you’ve got a book available (usually for an ungodly low price) they click the like button and move on without checking out the link. In most cases they don’t even do that, because their time is as valuable as yours.
Does this mean you shouldn’t use these sights to pimp your work? No. It means you should do it without bugging the shit out of people. Some suggestions:
Start a blog: In the beginning almost no one is going to read it, but if you’re dedicated and post at least on a weekly basis you’ll probably get a few followers. It’s the people who bother to come to your blog who just might be interested enough to read your work – that’s only a guess of course. They might just be bored and that means you can’t use your blog as only a means to promote books. Visitors will stop coming to it and you’ll be back on square one. Use it to educate them about who you are and throw in stuff about writing. Be interesting. It isn’t that hard. You are a writer.
Facebook: Create an author’s page to promote your work. Here you can promote, but again I also suggest trying to be interesting. Keep the pimping limited on your regular page. You can tell them you’ve got a new post on your blog or something new on your other fb page, but don’t go beyond there. Share your non-writing life on your everyday page… the weather, what you had for dinner, whateverthehell. Anything except writing. Also read their pages. They matter and if you only collect people in order to sell books you are screwed.
Twitter: I hate Twitter, probably because most of my connections there have one thing in mind – selling books. Pimp Pimp Pimp… remember what I said – most simply skip this stuff, because there’s so much of it. If you have to promote use a ratio – one pimp for every ten tweets. It’ll make you less boring. My ratio is one for every twenty. Also make an attempt to get followers who aren’t writers or people who want to make money because you are a writer. There are a lot of interesting people out there worth following (and who can become followers) that aren’t in the business.
As for other social media websites, you’ve got the idea. Be more human. Care about other people. Mention your books as little as possible. People might actually start caring.