I’ve gotten lax in a lot of ways. I used to be all over the internet. Of course a lot of that was arguing which was of only questionable benefit. Annoying potential readers to death seems like a less than awesome business plan. I’m just saying.
Now it seems like I’ve gone too far in the opposite direction. There was a time when I would be the squeaky wheel because I HAD to be or nobody would know I existed or read my books. It’s really easy for somebody to say: “God, that person self-promotes all the time, it’s so annoying”, but if we don’t have “somebody else” doing it for us, or some big advertising budget or front table space at Barnes and Noble, how are readers going to find out about our books?
Is an angel going to descend to tell them about it? Will somebody famous stumble upon the book and then tweet it to their five million followers? We all hope for magic and luck like that but the reality is that writers who want to be read, tell people about their work. I do hope some big lucky break happens for me at some point (like major high sales rankings where suddenly everybody is buying my book for themselves, their friends, and their neighbor’s abnormally smart dog), but… while I’m waiting for some magic to happen I’m going to publish a bunch of books… and talk about those books, and try to figure out the best way to engage without being off-putting.
One of the difficult things with mediums like Twitter and Facebook is… people are on at all different times, so if I tweet something 5 times in one day, someone who is on Twitter all the time and doesn’t follow a ton of people might be “annoyed” because they saw the tweet five times. But what about all the followers who only see it ONE time because they aren’t on Twitter all the time, they follow a bunch of people, and they don’t read every single tweet that happened while they were away?
So it’s a balancing act. When I say something 5 times, it’s not to tell the same person five times. I figure if you want whatever I’m offering you will go get it. And if you don’t, you won’t. I’m just trying to reach different people who are on at different times. My hypno-direct-to-mind beam is only in the prototype phase so… these other methods of communicating with you will just have to do.
Though when I’m in promo-mode (like for my Easter Egg Hunt themed contest to win a Kindle Fire… what? I was totally going to mention it… this is sale week for the contest.) I’m hyper-paranoid that I’m alienating/pissing off/annoying people… to the point that sometimes I miss good opportunities.
Like, in addition to my newsletter list, I have several people who I communicate with occasionally or frequently in email. We’ve had positive exchanges. Asking them to mention my contest is not the equivalent of asking them for a kidney or asking them to buy into a pyramid scheme. Sure, I shouldn’t do it every week for tiny things, but if I’m giving away something like a Kindle fire, then maybe I can email a few people and ask for help in getting the word out. Because I’m just one person, everybody is busy, and it’s an election year so the theme of the year is: distraction theater.
The benefit goes beyond just this one contest… it allows me to “not lose touch with people” to the point where asking them for something small like this would seem weird. It also opens the door for them to ask for reciprocation. i.e. if THEY run a big contest or have a new release, or whatever that they would like me to tweet or facebook or… whatever.
On the one hand, I have isolated myself in some ways… because I want to avoid unnecessary drama (which still isn’t always possible if I post something on my blog that offends somebody, but my odds of unnecessarily pissing people off go way down when I don’t get too involved in the “wider internetz”), but at the same time, shutting myself totally off is unwise. It also makes me look snobby, which is untrue.
I want to write and piss off as few potential readers as possible. Wacky life goals, I know. But now that I’m on this other extreme end of things, I need to learn how to re-engage and stay connected with people because it is important to have a network. Especially for an indie.