Hello there, Scribes fans. Sugar, here.
I’ve been published for almost a week now. And these past few days people kept asking me how I felt about it. Like they were expecting me to be irrevocably different just because I had a book on the shelves. I’m not sure how it is for other debut others, but I feel…. exactly the same. I still go to work and get teased by my brothers. I still write my thousand words a day and doubt every sentence that goes on the page.
The only other difference is that extra layer of worry that I carry around with me, that nobody is going to buy my book and if they do they are going to hate it. But other than that I’m still the same person I was a year ago. Just with a different set of worries.
And one of those worries is promotion related. How much is too much? We all know the “BUY MY BOOK” messages we see authors splash across their Twitter and Facebook accounts are annoying and not effective. Some might even call them tacky. I don’t think those writers spam us with those things to be annoying. I think they just want to attract more readers to their books and as writers we all want that.
But how do we do it?
I keep asking that question and nobody seems to have the answer to it. I’ve heard blogging is dead and that Facebook is passe and that tweeting is like screaming into the wind. I heard people say that ads on websites are like white noise and that most people don’t notice them because they are inundated with so many.
So what’s left?
Street teams? A street team, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is basically a group or team of people who hit the “streets” to promote something. For authors a street team might hand out books marks, request that your book be carried in store and leave good reviews for the author on Amazon and other sites, talk to your book up to anybody who will listen and a variety of other things. In return these dedicated fans get swag or free books and the author’s many thanks.
I personally hold all judgement on Street Teams. They seem to work beautifully for some authors. But lately I’ve been seeing a few authors bash them. One author I follow is of the mindset that it’s the author’s job to promote their book and it’s wrong to ask fans to do it for them. That readers should only leave reviews if they want to. They should only recommend books that are truly worth recommending, not because they are loyal to the author. And that word of mouth should spread naturally.
I think it’s an interesting position to take. Doctor’s don’t ask for reviews, and neither do hairstylist, restaurants or teachers. Could you imagine if after a meal your waiter asked you to immediately go home and get on Yelp and rate his performance and the food that evening and tell everyone you met about how great their restaurant was? Wouldn’t you be a little taken aback if that happened?
People do leave reviews for restaurants and hairstylist and even doctors nowadays but only because they want to not because they are asked.
But on the flip side of that argument. Nobody is forcing anybody to join these teams. People do it because they want to support an author and in the end is that really such a bad thing?
I do think there is a certain etiquette a writer must have when conducting themselves. But what is it? There are no written rules.
So I have some questions I hope you can all help me answer about what is tacky and what isn’t.
This week I have gotten six emails (from strangers!) telling me how much they loved my book and can’t wait to read more of my work. Would it be tacky to ask them to like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter or leave their reviews on Amazon?
Is it tacky to email a blog that you have never commented on and don’t regularly visit and ask to be featured there? (Having a blog tour set up for you is a different story.) Isn’t it like inviting yourself to a party?
Is it tacky to ask your friends to pimp your book on their Facebook pages? I have wonderful friends who did this for me without asking. And I have never been asked to do it myself. But if I enjoy a book or simply like an author I will.
Is it tacky to curse of social media? I don’t know if you know this, but elementary school teachers curse more than anybody else on the planet. Simply because we have to keep it together all day and be positive role models for small children. Sometimes I find really funny someecards that I want to post on my fan page that have the bad words in them, but I don’t because I’m trying to keep it classy, even though I’m a little bit trashy.
Are naked man pictures tacky? If cursing is taboo then why isn’t man butt? I’ve seen some authors post pictures that are just shy of soft core porn. Would we stand for it if a male author were posting pictures of nearly nude women everyday?
Keep in mind I pass no judgement on any of these things. I’m simply wondering what folks find tacky these days? Please share your thoughts with me.