It hurts everyone when a small group behaves badly, so please click through and read this very good advice on how to attract, not repel, readers to the Indie Author community. I've edited slightly for Americanized English and to flow it here on the blog, but this is from Carrie, even if it looks just like what I've been saying all along. (There's gotta be a reason for that!) I've added my notes in ((-webbiegrrl)) style after her enumerated tips. Be sure to tweet @PeevishPenman to let Carrie know what you think of her ideas.
Are Zombies Selling Books on GoodReads?
By Carrie Bailey
My eyes glazed over and I took a quick mental break while deleting the contents of my inbox in Goodreads today. Did I leave the iron on? No. Was I going to check the notifications on the new threads? No. It’s just been too much lately.
When I first opened my account a few months ago, I was excited to talk to people about post-apocalyptic and dystopian books. Like a lot of bibliophiles, I’m also an author and I want to know everything about my genre and the people who read it. With my account open and my friends added, it briefly crossed my mind that Goodreads might be somewhere to promote my work when I actually finish it. After I a few weeks, that idea was buried alive and so was a small part of my faith in humanity. Why?
When asked for book recommendations in a thread, you’ll see a lot of self-promotion, a lot of "me, too!" posts.
While it wouldn’t hurt for this author to provide the title of their work, doing more might be what leads to the Zombie Apocalyps of Indie Authors. What often happens is that once one author starts posting a full-length synopsis, others write longer ones. Once an author promotes in one thread, others start promoting in all threads. These Zombie Authors scan discussions and mindlessly post links everywhere, like the good little zombies they have become. Untargeted, senseless self-promotion is a highly contagious disease that can easily affect the culture of an otherwise awesome site like GoodReads.
These Zombies Authors aren’t even aware that they’re driving readers away. They’re just imitating other authors who are convincing us we should never read their book.
They aren’t aware that the soft sell approach is 30 percent more likely to succeed according to a study released by New Century Media in 2007. Yes, that is 2007, the year before the recession started and if anything, I believe readers are even more inclined to respond to a soft sell vs. a hard sell. There is just too much desperation in the air.
So how do you avoid becoming a member of this Zombie Army of Authors shamelessly shelf-promoting everywhere they go? Here are a few ideas.
1) Mention that you’re an author. Say nothing more. Curiosity will drive some readers to view your profile and if they like what they see, you may have a new reader even if your work has barely been reviewed. But read the group guidelines, stay within them and keep your profile updated. ((Be sure to "advertise" your book in your profile/bio. If nothing else, mention the title and genre -webbiegrrl))
2) Join in the discussion. Treat a forum like you would a dinner party. When was the last time you walked into a room, smiled at the hostess who was wearing too much lipstick and the same black cocktail dress she wore to your BBQ last month, pushed her aside, stared down her guests and shouted, “Hey, I’ve written a book everybody! Here’s the title and here’s where you can buy it. I know you’ll enjoy it, because it’s cheap!” You haven’t. I haven’t. At least, I hope you haven't. If you’ve seen someone do it, let me know. ((This is straight out of my Twitter Series. In fact, it's in the very first entry I posted on the basics of how to Join the Conversation on Twitter and the second entry on how to be authentic. It's not rocket science, folks! -webbiegrrl))
3) Be memorable. You can be unforgettable in more than one way. If you’re humorous, use that to your advantage. If you’re experienced, share your knowledge. If you’ve crafted an author brand involving your obsession with skin diseases, discuss it. Don’t tell people to buy your book. Just be memorable.
Build relationships. Make some friends. Zombies are particularly bad at this. I’m sure it goes along with the intense desire for cracking open everyone’s cranium, but this is what distinguishes one author from another. ((Be sure to be memorable in a positive way *grin* but also be sure to repeat the strongest method, often and everywhere you go, as this is how you build yourself into a brand. Think of brand-building as "having your own style." -webbiegrrl))
4) Don’t underestimate readers. You’re not the only author who wants to buy their own yacht with the sales from their first novel. If you can keep that in mind, you’ll understand why some readers aren’t interested what authors have to say about their own work. ((This is the basic thesis of branding "A brand is an idea in the mind of the consumer." Don't make it a negative idea. You never get to make a second first impression. -webbiegrrl))
Social media does sell books, but you must use the tools correctly. I’ve got three authors on my Goodreads to-read list, because I met them through Twitter and they all have one thing in common. It’s not their genre. None of them write the genres I normally read. While one of them does occasionally does go for the hard sell, all them were people first and authors second.
a rare book enthusiast and obsessive coffee drinker,
as well as a regular pineapple fritter eater.
Carrie blogs with her sister, Winonah Drake, at Peevish Penman and is on Twitter @PeevishPenman. Find her
on Goodreads here.
Next Monday at the Webbiegrrl Blog we'll return to our regularly scheduled Monday Marketing series on Branding (for Indie Authors). The above guest post is a great example of advice on how to put branding into action. Be original, be unique, be you. See you next week, my special snowflake ^)^