Recently a friend told me that I talk too much about Amazon, self-publishing and the publishing industry in general. “Your readers don’t care about that stuff,” she said. She said that I should be wary of creating a brand for myself that has nothing to do with my actual writing. “Talk about your books,” she said.
Here’s the thing though: I do talk about my books. All. The. Freaking. Time. I post excerpts from my books on my Facebook page. I send emails when my books are on sale. I tweet word counts on my latest work-in-progress. And you know what? Nobody cares.
OK, that’s not fair. I have a small but loyal following of fans who enjoy the excerpts and tell me how excited they are to read the next book. I don’t want to understate the value of those interactions and the encouragement they provide. In fact, if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of those people — so thanks for the support!
If I’m being perfectly honest, however, I don’t have a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook author page, and another blog so that I can reach people who already know about my books. I maintain all these channels of communication in large part so that I can reach new readers. But again, being perfectly honest: it doesn’t work. Mostly I end up talking to the same people over and over. Except when I start talking about publishing.
My book on self-publishing got me invited to speak at a literary conference in London this summer. My talk at that conference got me quoted in the Huffington Post. My rant about authors paying for reviews got me quoted on the Forbes website. Are any of those readers going to buy my novels? I don’t know, but if one out of a thousand buys one, then I’m doing better than I did at a reading in Petaluma on Wednesday where I read an excerpt from Mercury Falls and sold one book.
I told my friend that I felt like I was planning a trip to some fabulous, exotic destination and people keep asking me about the plane I’m going to take there. I gush about the amazing sights I’m going to see and the exiting adventures I’m going to have, and then I mention that I’m going to be taking a 747 there and my audience’s eyes light up. Yes, the plane! The plane! Tell us about the plane!
And, you know, it’s not that I mind talking about the plane. It’s a nice plane. And if there’s a chance I can eventually bend the conversation toward the reason I’m taking the plane in the first place, then all the better. On the other hand, I don’t really want to be “the plane guy” either. So I’m torn.
Anyway, if you’ve read this far, you’re probably one of the people who actually cares about my books, so I’m interested in your opinion. Are you sick of hearing about all this publishing crap? Are you relieved that when I’m talking about publishing, at least I’m not ranting about politics? Or (wonder of wonders) are you someone who found out about me from one of my publishing talks/posts and is now a fan of my books? Seriously, let me know.
I may not respond right away because I just got a request to appear on a local television show to talk about self-publishing. Don’t worry, I’ll be back as soon as I get off the plane.