Sunday, March 22, 2009

Marketing Amongst Authors

image This will probably be taken the wrong way, and I seriously don’t mean it that way. It’s just, last weekend I just got tired of being marketed at by authors. Social media is about connecting with other people.

Seriously: I want to support all the authors in the world, but I just can’t afford it right now. Not a chance. I can’t even buy the books of all my friends!

And then I’m skeptical that marketing to authors really works. It looks to me like they’re just exchanging marketing and not buying each others’ books. Unless you can market to authors in a big way, why bother? Does it really work?

Oh man, see, here comes the guilt. I really, really, really want to help authors any way I can. It’s why I started this site. (But ran out of time to finish it, LOL. One of these days!)

I can’t figure out a way to say this politically correctly.


So here’s some questions:
What percentage of authors say they just don’t have time to read like they did before they wrote seriously? 80%? 90%? 95%?

imageHave writers considered marketing to readers? Is there any evidence that says marketing to authors works? How many of you let strangers-to-you authors friend you and then just ignore them? Or do you not friend them? Have you ever “un-friended” a spamming author? Ever felt guilty?

Am I the only one who just starts ignoring all the “events” and “announcements” and “please follow this link to my blog today” after awhile.

Or do you read about every single book release from the hundreds of author “friends” you have?

I picked up a TON of new authors from blogs. But not a single one from Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter.

You?

Why can't we let Facebook just stay fun? As a way to connect? To play a game here or there? To shoot the s**t at the water cooler about the biz or writing or whatever?

And, by the way, this post has nothing to do with the fact that the uber-cool Mark Terry has just joined Facebook. Yay! Go friend him!

28 bonus scribbles:

Mark Terry 3/22/2009 04:21:00 PM  

Are you sure? Because I'm not entirely sure why I joined. Although from my MySpace experiences I understand it's not a great way to market books. Maybe someday I'll find a great way to market books.

spyscribbler 3/22/2009 04:25:00 PM  

Sure about what? That you're "uber-cool"? Yeah, I'm sure. :-)

I don't know. To be honest, my pseudonym has fastidiously avoided "friending" MySpace authors, and MySpace has worked out pretty well for her. The trick, I think, is to market to those groups with related interests... but not the authors.

I think Facebook is a blast for connecting with other authors. But seriously? I just can't buy all their books. And the authors with 1,000 author friends? Can they buy their books?

Janet 3/22/2009 06:46:00 PM  

I agree with a lot of what you say. I use Facebook just for personal networking (i.e. flesh and blood friends and relatives). On MySpace and Twitter, I do hope to do some professional networking but even there I focus on friendships, not on marketing. When I do have something to market, I'll just mention it normally, and let people do what they will. And I am making a conscious effort to look for readers more than for writers. Except I've met some fabulous writer people online...

And I have actually read some books of MySpace or Absolute Write friends. What I often do in that case is put in a purchase request at the library. The author gets the royalty, I get to read it, other people get to discover the book, and I don't have to spend the money. We all win.

spyscribbler 3/22/2009 07:13:00 PM  

Janet! Wow! I didn't know I could do that! I am definitely going to do that more often. Can regular library members do that?

Janet 3/22/2009 07:24:00 PM  

At my library they can. I can't speak for yours. Check the website or ask a real live librarian next time you're in.

At mine, they will only accept suggestions for books published this or last year. They prefer Canadian, but don't restrict themselves to that. They're particularly interested in books that aren't on their radar screens. The bestsellers they are going to buy anyway.

Robin 3/22/2009 07:36:00 PM  

It doesn't really make sense to market to writers, because, as you say, they probably don't have time to read! I use my blog, and the friends I've made (*bloggy hug*) as a fun, social place.

I've linked my blog to my book website, and I've found that some people who like my book, like my writing, and thus, my blog. So, I guess there's a little marketing going on in some sense.

Heather Harper 3/22/2009 08:35:00 PM  

As a reader, I do not go looking for new authors on MySpace or Facebook. And I ignore every invite to event, etc. What really bugs me is when I'm being marketed a book in a way that implies it is right up my alley when it is not. I'm not stupid, but the author obviously is by making assumptions about me.

I want to meet friends and future readers on MySpace and Facecbook. Not be deluged with desperate advertisement.

And I am 100% with you on the blogging. I have made purchases because of blog love. I think a thoughtful blog is invaluable.

writtenwyrdd 3/22/2009 08:48:00 PM  

If the situation ever comes up, I will have a blog in my name and keep the writtenwyrdd for talking with my blog friends. Or so I've thought. who knows what the network situation will be at that point?

but I'd rather keep Facebook fun, as well as my blog. for marketing, I'll have a web site. I actually own the rights to it for whenever it comes up.

Edie 3/22/2009 09:02:00 PM  

Spy, I agree with you 100%. I have free books that I won as prizes on blogs, and I haven't had a chance to read them.

I love Janet's idea, though I've put in purchase requests to my librarian and until recently she hadn't bought any of them. A couple months ago, I ordered a book through an inter-library loan. I loved this book. When I brought it back to my library, I sought out the purchasing librarian, put the book in her hands and asked her to read some of the pages to see how wonderful it was. I just checked and my library has it now. :)

Barbara Martin 3/22/2009 10:21:00 PM  

John Kremer provides excellent methods for an author to market their book. I don't understand the necessity to market your book with other authors: the idea to me is to get strangers who read to buy the book. That means radio and television interviews. Very few of the reading public go online and surf the net looking for book reviews.

Internet blogging buddies may pass on the news to others, but that's just a small portion of the marketing. To reach the larger market use John Kremer's book as you have posted it, Spy.

Angie 3/23/2009 09:18:00 AM  

Yet another reason (I'll add it to the list) why I don't do FaceBook, MySpace or Twitter. [wry smile]

I like blogs too. (Or journals -- LJ and its clones are like blogs, essentially, but with a slight shift in the feature set, some positive and some negative.) I've started a reading a lot of writers because I ran into their blog or journal and they seemed to be interesting people and good writers. Finding an interesting writer's blog is (for me) a good way of deciding to try someone new -- much better than browsing through the hundreds or thousands of writers on a publisher's site, all of whom are being made to look good but any of whom might not be a good fit for me. Recs from people I've come to know and whose judgement I've come to trust are helpful too.

If it's just marketing, though, then I'm less interested. I could get that from the publisher's site. And particularly if it's marketing I didn't sign up for, like the e-mails I get periodically from a writer I think I had a conversation with once; now I get her spam and I get annoyed all over again every time it shows up in my box. If you want to start a newsletter, that's cool; get on Yahoo and let folks who want to see your e-mails sign up for them.

Angie

Eric Mayer 3/23/2009 02:02:00 PM  

I see a lot of writers who seem to market to each other, which is sort of amateur and useless. I enjoyed doing fanzines and we would all read each others fanzines. But they were pretty much the paper equivalent of blogs. There was no money involved. It was a hobby.

Funnily enough, I posted about how spending time writing has stopped me from reading much right before reading this entry.

I try to avoid reading friend's books. If I didn't like a friend's book I'd feel awkward. And there are many books I don't like because they aren't to my taste, -- nothing to do with any intrinsic quality. Besides, even if someone is writing in a way I don't want to read, we may share much in common as working/aspiring authors.

spyscribbler 3/23/2009 06:25:00 PM  

Robin, blogs tend to work for me. Not the ones who just announce releases and such, but real ones. I think they seem to be great!

spyscribbler 3/23/2009 06:26:00 PM  

Heather, yeah, blogging has netted me most of the books I try out by new authors. They rock!

spyscribbler 3/23/2009 06:27:00 PM  

Writtenwyrdd, I have to tell you: I am SO glad I have this blog to talk about writing and such, and a pseudonym that is entirely unconnected. It's beyond wonderful.

spyscribbler 3/23/2009 06:28:00 PM  

I always feel so guilty about that, Edie! I have been able to persuade my husband to read them, though, which is cool, LOL. And I try to find them a good home at the library or something.

I love this library thing! I'm going to try it!

spyscribbler 3/23/2009 06:28:00 PM  

Barbara, I just googled an image, and that seemed to suit my post. Now I'm going to put his book on my to-buy list!

spyscribbler 3/23/2009 06:29:00 PM  

Angie, I know! I've had a few come my way that way. And yeah, blogs are very effective for me. If I get to know a person via blog, I almost always buy their books.

spyscribbler 3/23/2009 06:31:00 PM  

That is a great hobby, Eric! And it is a bit like blogging, isn't it, LOL? But I will say that 95% of the new authors I try come via blogging in some sort.

Sharing writing does make for a good community. I enjoy that bit of it. Just not the incessant "buy my book" spam, LOL!

spyscribbler 3/23/2009 06:32:00 PM  

PS: Like you! I love your series! I just wish they'd put the rest of them on Kindle!!!

Melanie Avila 3/23/2009 07:38:00 PM  

Spy, I must not get as many announcements as you because I read them all. Unfortunately I can't buy anything right now, but I try to spread the word so people that I know who may not know these authors can hear about them.

Eric Mayer 3/23/2009 11:00:00 PM  

I'd love to see them all our books in Kindle. I don't have a Kindle but I prefer reading electronic texts these days. It's the future!

Christina 3/24/2009 08:36:00 PM  

I tried to friend people on myspace, but the letters I got back were, "You should buy my book," or I'd get comments in the comment section, "My book is high action super fantastic!" I delete all spams and though I will add new author requests, I read their comments before I approve them to post. Also, I'm tired of those events too and how people send 5-10 comments a day to let you know they had a book release. I think I'll let myspace linger, but I'm not so sure I'll be checking it as often. I've made a few really good friends from it, but in the last five years, that's about as many close friends that I've made on myspace.

Blogger is more personal and the blogs I read, I consider those people to be friends enough that I'd meet them for tea if they were in town or I was in their town.

Barbara Martin 3/25/2009 03:00:00 PM  

Spy, once you get into John Kremer's book you will wonder why you didn't buy it sooner. I recommend it for all writers.

spyscribbler 3/26/2009 09:42:00 AM  

Melanie, you do? The Event things? Not the emails, the events. Wow, I get a TON. Like 7 or 8 a day. It's a little crazy.

I spread the word about blog friends, but not so much about all the authors who've requested to be my friend and never once dropped by, LOL.

spyscribbler 3/26/2009 09:43:00 AM  

Eric, I keep pressing the request button, LOL, and they say they "send a message" to the publisher. Maybe it will help, someday!

spyscribbler 3/26/2009 09:44:00 AM  

Christina, when I read blogs, I totally have a cup of hot chocolate or tea or coffee! Definitely! Great analogy! Blogs are more real and sharing... not so much a friend request and spam on social media, LOL!

spyscribbler 3/26/2009 09:44:00 AM  

Wow, Barbara! Definitely going on my lsit!