From author Anne R. Allen:
Let’s face it. Authors do a lot of obnoxious things online in the name of “marketing.” I think that’s because the average author isn’t educated in the field and we don’t realize that not all marketing is created equal.
Good marketing is not about bullying your customers. It’s about enticing them.
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Thinking of your readers as “targets” or a generic “them” can lead to wasting time and money as well as just plain bad behavior.
Using hard-sell, intrusive, or unethical marketing techniques doesn’t work to sell books. Your only result will be to make readers dislike you.
Ditto swaggering around social media with a literary or techno-nerd chip on your shoulder. Even if you have an MFA so expensive it won’t be paid off until you’re 93, you’ve memorized every word written by Marcel Proust—in French, of course—and/or you personally knew Steve Jobs, you’re not going to entice readers by telling them you’re better than they are.
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10) Forgetting that social media is social.
Social media is for networking, not direct selling. It’s for making friends. You are not here to broadcast your message but to engage with potential customers.
An endless Twitter, Google+, or Facebook stream of BUY MY BOOK is not friendly. Neither is barging into forums and groups to leave a drive-by promo without interacting with the other members.
Not only is this behavior annoying, IT DOES NOT SELL BOOKS. Yes, people may buy stuff like a Sham-Wow! or collapsible garden hose sold by screaming pitchmen endlessly replayed on late night TV, but this is because the pitches are designed to convince people they have a burning need for the product and will save a ton of money.
But nobody “needs” a book in that way, especially not a novel.
I once pointed this out to a writer in a workshop, and he said “but that’s easy for you to say—you’ve got bestsellers—I’m just starting out, so I need to market!”
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7) Projecting a snarky, nasty online persona.
Always follow Wil Wheaton’s law: “Don’t be a D***.”
Shocking headers may work as “click bait” to get people to your blog, and you may get more initial engagement on Twitter or Instagram if you project a “Mean Girl” image, but it won’t work in your favor in the long run.
Reading a book, even a free one, is an investment in time. Strangely enough, most readers don’t want to spend their time with jerks.
I know some people love to use social media to say nasty things about celebrities, but if you care about your writing career, you need to act like a grownup online—at least when using your author name.
That means cutting out the tweets about how all bestsellers suck and all readers are stupid.
And never make obscene or threatening remarks on social media if you intend to have a career other than picking up cans on the highway. That stuff is forever.
It’s also not a good idea for authors to leave nasty reviews of other authors’ books, especially in your own genre. You can say respectfully that you didn’t enjoy this book as much as the last or whatever, but if you indulge in name-calling and insults, you’re burning bridges you may desperately need later in your career. Even if an author has tons of reviews, they remember the nasty ones.
Do follow the top authors in your genre, but treat them with respect. If you diss a bestselling author, you’re dissing all their fans. That’s a lot of readers in your potential audience who won’t buy your book now.
NOTE: DO NOT RESPOND TO A NEGATIVE REVIEW, EVER!!!