Buy my book! Buy my book! Buy my book!
That’s what you’re doing on Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else they’ll let you, isn’t it? Sure. It’s what they tell you to do. Write your book during NaNoWriMo in November, edit it in December, publish it in January. Then comes the blog tour, the book signing at the library, the review circle at Goodreads, and then you hammer your followers on social media with book trailers, retweets of 5-star reviews, and anything else you can think of that puts your book in everyone’s face. Again. And again. And again.
Um, you might want to rethink this strategy, for a couple of reasons. First of all, why are you marketing your book to other writers? There are probably few readers in your social networks. Readers generally avoid indie writers for the obvious reason: indies are annoying. They’re always in your face with the Buy my book! Buy my book! Buy my book! (უ‸ლ)
The proper way to promote is by building your reader tribe with an email list. You do that by giving the reader something in exchange for their email address. For fiction writers, that usually means an exclusive prequel or sequel to your most popular book, but you can offer whatever you please. While Amazon forbids asking readers for email addresses in your books, there’s no reason you can’t link to your website, where you can ask them.
You do have an author website, don’t you? Or at least a blog? Your readers need a central location to find out more about you and your work. As I understand it, Mail Chimp has a free version that helps you collect email addresses. I just use a simple textbox form myself, but you might want to make your site look more fancy and professional.
But never mind that now. We were talking about why you shouldn’t hammer people with your book. What happens if that book starts selling and you become famous? You’re going to have a devil of a time hiding it from the world later. And you’re probably going to want to.
You’ve written four or five books. Wasn’t it Stephen King who said your first million words are crap? Well, someone did. A million words is about a dozen books, so you need to keep writing. The more books you have, the more visible you become on Amazon because of their algorithms. And the more you write, the better you become.
Which is why you shouldn’t be so eager to put your early works on everyone’s bookshelves, especially if you’ve published paperbacks or hardcovers. Paperbacks have a surprising lifespan, and someday you’re going to be embarrassed by your early works. The books you’re so proud of today will be tomorrow’s juvenilia.
Nobel prize contender Haruki Murakami considers his early works “immature” and “flimsy” and regrets that they’ve been translated into English. If he’s ashamed of his early work, then my gawd, what does that mean for the rest of us? (♯ᴖ.ლ)
One of the good things about being an unnoticed author is that you can tweak your books, upload improved versions and no one will ever know. Then in ten years when you become an overnight success, the readers will think you were an unappreciated genius all along, and they’ll slap their heads that they didn’t discover you sooner. Now isn’t that better than dreading that upcoming interview with Oprah because she might ask you about those embarrassing first few books in your oeuvre? ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯
OMP Admin Note: Akje Majdanek is a writer and OMP Network member. Akje is a guest blogger for the One Million Project website whose creativity is evidenced in her work. Akje’s books–Der Reiter and Adeline–are available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Akje_Majdanek/e/B00UZSTW74
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