There’s one part of being an author I’m not looking forward to: Asking people for stuff. Specifically, asking them to buy and read my books.
It’s an awkward thing, self-promotion. Part of it is sending out query letters to book bloggers and other review sites and asking them to review my book. That I think I can do. It’s not all that dissimilar to sending out query letters to editors and agents – you give ’em the gist of the story, tell them why you’re asking them, and let them know you have review copies available.
But it’s the other side of it I’m not comfortable with. The whole tweeting and Facebooking and Goodreadsing side.
I’m not a promo tweeter. I don’t have a Facebook author page, and I’m not very active on my personal profile. I reserve my Goodreads account for the book review side of things and tend to ignore most friend requests I get there. I have a Tumblr I’m still figuring out how to use, I tried and failed at Pinterest, and while I have a Google+ account, it’s like my Facebook profile – it’s not intended for public consumption.
I think a lot of it has to do with my personality. I’m a serious introvert. I suck at small talk and I’m uncomfortable in large groups of people where I don’t know anyone. I actually left a wedding early so I could go home and finish reading a book (it was for one of the BF’s bandmates. I stayed for the ceremony, cut out before the band went on stage). So the thought of having to really put myself out there is just…cringe-inducing.
Oh, and I tend to get nervous when I have to speak in public.
The unfortunate thing is, you can’t actually learn all that much from my favorite place to hang out on the internet – Twitter. My feed is populated by authors, editors, the occasional agent, and book bloggers. The authors I tend to follow don’t promo tweet very much. Same with editors and agents. Book bloggers and other review sites will tweet links to the reviews they do, which is fabulous.
But Twitter isn’t where the readers are. I mean, think about it. Why would your average person have a Twitter handle?
It used to be that most book recommendations came from word of mouth. Whether that’s still the case, I’m not sure. For me personally, most of the books I’ve actually bought and read immediately (rather than letting them languish as suggestions to buy later or sit collecting dust on my bookshelves) are titles recommended by a friend. So how do they find the books? Was it something that popped up on a Goodreads list? Was it reviewed on a blog you frequent? Or was it a flashy ad on one of those review sites?
Somehow I’ve got to find where the readers are all hiding and start making small talk with them. Elbowing my way into their little cluster and yelling, “I’ve got a book for sale! Who wants to read my book?” is not gonna cut it.
Here, readers. Heeeere, readers…