Traveling the Yahoo loops that all authors need to travel these days in order to promo their work has become a challenge for me. Before I get into the reasons for that, let me backtrack to some workshops given on the Noble Romance group over the past few weeks.
Noble is the publisher for my book The Wise Guy. I decided to try for one of the open slots in their Child of the Week series because all of the other authors were multi-pubbed, fairly well known in these circles, and mostly – if not all – were Cobblestone authors too. Those of you who are familiar with me and my work know that I have a submission in at Cobblestone. In fact, it’s been there 164 days I think. Since the 15th of October. I thought this series would be a great opportunity for me since although I had three contracts under my belt at the time I sent in a proposal for The Wise Guy, I had yet to have a release.
Just prior to release day, the seven authors in this series had a little discussion about a big release day promo that included all of the authors. The little discussion got a little heated. Well, maybe not heated but uncomfortable. The upshot was no promo went off with all authors in attendance. Everyone did their own thing and although I showed at one of the events I frankly just kinda felt left out in the cold while other authors who weren’t in the series were showcased as part of this promo. Now, granted, I suppose I could have asked to be included, but I’m the noob here. I don’t always do what I should in part because of ignorance and in part because I don’t want to feel like or be perceived as some arrogant buttinsky.
Anyway, a month later Noble starts these workshops on their Yahoo group. I had my day in the sun talking about making trailers and the power of branding and social media. The following weekend was a workshop on similar stuff… and promo. Now, when someone tells me that in order to do well as an author, I should be spending four hours a day on promo… do you realize how many flies I caught in my open mouth? To begin with, I don’t have four hours a day. I worked a 50 hour week last week and those kinds of weeks aren’t going to go away for the foreseeable future. For another, HELLO! I need to freaking WRITE!
Being told that about promo and making it as an author kinda put my panties in a bunch because yanno, I already have this really big soapbox that I get on regarding people who can’t write very well, are hand held by editors through five rounds of edits, and still end up with a book whose plot is kinda MEH, or those people who go to publishers that don’t really edit. I’m tired of buying books where the best part was the blurb and excerpt I saw on the groups. Because I’ve been burned in this fashion a few times in the past, there are publishers I will not buy from and will not sub to. I buy from them only if they put out something by an author I know delivers. And yeah, I did read those Dear Author posts that had everyone howling. And yeah, I did see some of what Jane from DA posted on Twitter on a Friday night recently. I had already decided that house wasn’t for me long before all the DA stuff came out. Maybe things will change with them and me, but for now I know who I want to sub to and I’m not deviating from that list.
All of that being said, if you believe the four hours a day of promo thing… that means all the stay at home moms are the only authors selling. Which, if I’m being snarky, makes sense in the whole scheme of things whereby I buy these books I see in promo on the groups because they seem like they would be great. I open em and read em, find them to be MEH and weeks later I see em winning awards. Maybe I better put the soapbox away now…
Despite the fact that I cannot promo for four hours every day, I know I can write well. I’ve been told this by people who would know. And I’ve been told this by countless readers on the groups when I have promo’d. Hordes of people have told me how great my excerpts and blurbs are. Most of them were glowing in their enthusiasm for my writing… most of them said they couldn’t wait to buy my books. Yet, according to my royalty statements… they have waited. And here is the crux of my rant.
Lip service. These people paid me lip service on those groups. At least a hundred or more of them… giving me lip service. This is like being fucked in the ass with only the promise of lube (that never materializes) and no damned reacharound either.
I’m an honest person. If I don’t like something or it doesn’t sound like my kind of book, I try to find something positive to say anyway. But that positive thing is NEVER “I can’t wait to buy your book!” when I have no intentions of buying your book.
I’ve become hideously cynical about the groups now. Yeah, I promo. Not a lot and I really don’t think it’s going to make a huge difference. There are people who say, “Oh, you just need to join three dozen group blogs and post to them to get your name out!” Well, I happen to think that isn’t any different than the groups. Yes, I do belong to the Flirty Author Bitches, but that’s not about promo for me. It’s about having a venue to talk about stuff that we got slammed on the groups for talking about. My own group, Tales of the Darkworld, really has no rules because it’s just starting up and we don’t do anything formally yet. And I just think a lot of the group stuff is… lip service.
I just want people to tell me the truth. And if they are interested in my books, I’d like them to show that by purchasing them. But don’t tell me in droves how wonderful I am, and what a big star I’m going to be, and how awesome my excerpts are, and how my stuff is going to the top of your TBB list… when you DON’T MEAN IT. By that I mean, you don’t put your money where your mouth is and buy the book and read it.
I’m sure someone will slam me for this post too. I’m sure they’ll say I’m asking people to buy my books. Yet, isn’t that what promo is? And I’m not asking people to buy my books with this post. I’m asking them to stop lying to me. Stop telling me you’ll buy it when you have no intention of buying it. Stop giving me lip service. I’d rather have your honesty so that my royalty statements aren’t a surprise. If a hundred people hadn’t sworn up and down they were gonna buy my books I wouldn’t have expected to see 50 sales on my statement. When I didn’t see 50 sales, I realized that the stinging sensation I had was my chapped butt cheeks from all the lip service.
Do me and all the other authors out there a favor… stop the lip service. You’ll save yourself some needless typing and you’ll stop getting people’s expectations up for nothing. I just want what I am prepared to give in return… honesty.
Have a happy Easter-Zombie weekend.