THERE has to be a time when an author must put promotion aside and find time to write. The trouble is, one has to advertise to tell the world one has a product. Otherwise, that book may as well remain in a folder on the computer.
Social networking should carry a public health warning as being highly addictive and may lead to bouts of irrational compulsive behaviour incompatible with everyday reality.
It is understandable why anyone who is trying to promote their work over the internet can become obsessive about the last time they Tweeted or placed another obscure post on Facebook. Authors are trying to get their names into the vast expanse of world wide wilderness and they can’t do that without shouting about it to anyone who will listen.
So, the reviews have been requested, followers spewing-up your spam and friends and family exhausted with their efforts of help. The world now knows you are an author and that you have written a book. All they have to do is run a search on the internet and you and your precious works will appear on a multitude of pages all beautifully optimised for every search engine known to man and machine. What happens now? Do we just sit back and let things grow naturally?
Oddly enough, just like the mind, internet activity carries on in parallel to physical action. Once the word is out, there are sites, followers and bloggers working for you. It’s a symbiotic relationship. People and organisations you have somehow helped to promote will continue to promote you.
On Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/sarapbain/the-best-blogs-and-sites-supporting-authors/), I have compiled a list of sites and blogs that help authors. All they ask is some publicity in return: to spread the word, so to speak.
Take The Writers Room, for example (http://www.thewritersroom.co.uk). This is a British site dedicated to bringing authors and writers closer together. It aims to encourage readers to interact with authors, comment on their books and ask questions. A bit like Goodreads, but still very much in its infancy, it attempts to bridge the gap between those who write and those who read and share a common interest: books.
The Writers Room is actively seeking writers to join them and generously offer authors their own pages on its site. This includes an about section as well as space for published titles, reviews and a lot more. It also encourages visitors to purchase the books through links to Amazon.
The catch? Well, there is none. The site hopes to grow organically until it becomes ‘a definitive destination for author information and a rich resource for authors and readers alike.’
My only fear about sites like this is that, once they are up and running and put out a call for authors, they will, like Goodreads and Amazon, be devoured by the plague of billions of hopefuls swarming their site; all clambering over each other for recognition; a multitude of demonic voices wailing ‘buy MY book.’
Hopefully, the administrators will already have thought of this and taken steps to shore-up their defences and get the pitch to boiling point before that battering ram takes the gates.
A new kid on the block aiming to bring authors and readers together is author Richie Earle’s One thousand Worlds in One thousand Words (http://onethousandworlds.blogspot.co.uk). This is a space for sci-fi and fantasy writers to showcase the first … yes, you’ve guessed it … 1,000 words of their book and tell people a bit about themselves. It’s a wonderful concept but, at the moment, not widely supported because it is new and hasn’t garnered a big following yet. No doubt, that swarm will hit at some stage in the not-too-distant future and he will be forced to rename his blog to 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 Worlds in 1,000 words.
This month, until 20 October, everyone has a chance to win 14 new books from participating authors of the blog by voting in a poll of their favourite book. There’s no catch and no registration necessary: http://onethousandworlds.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/mega-monthly-giveaway-september-2013.html
Of course, it would be really nice for me if 1,000 people voted for The Sleeping Warrior, but the real point of the exercise is to pull in interest of readers with the dangling carrot of a massive novel give-away.
By the way, I’ve given up on The Book Awards (http://thebookawards.com/awards/current-voting). Someone came in from nowhere with a massive 734 votes that my meagre 91 will never catch up with. From what I’ve seen, they tend to tweet about all the nominated books apart from mine – although there was an entry on 3 October when The Sleeping Warrior surged into the top 20. Their efforts are working though as they’ve attracted a whole lot of new interest to their site.
As time goes on, I’ll be adding more sites to the Pinterest board and report back on their effectiveness as a sales tool.
In the meantime, time to get down to Chapter 11 of that big fantasy while the ghost of me continues to haunt the internet.