Hi gang, Craig here once again with an odd topic this time, etiquette. It may seem like an strange topic for a writing blog, but I promise you it’s applicable.
If you read enough about writing you’ll come across a line similar to this: Never give them a reason to say ‘No.’
This dates back to the days of huge New York publishing. You needed an agent, but those agents desperately want to say no to projects. Imagine one person, with about ten-thousand manuscripts, all begging to be read. They must get through that pile somehow, and any reason to put one down allows them to move to the next one.
Step it up to the publisher, and the job is no simpler. The work has been vetted, but they still have more than they can handle. It’s lather, rinse, repeat.
I mentioned this to walk you into the modern world. Today, we don’t need an agent or publisher to bring our work to market. Those piles of books have been foisted upon the buyers to sort through.
From here, this post could go a thousand directions, from editing, grammar, story structure, etcetera, but I promised a post about etiquette.
You’re going to get to a point where the book exists, your family and friends have purchased their copies, and you’re going to need promotion.
You can pay for a lot of different kinds of promotion, with mixed results. The one that always performs best for me is to visit blogs where I am welcome and talk about my new story over there. My friends have friends who I may not know yet. Reaching those people is kind of important.
Making that first layer of friends is paramount. You do this by interacting with people who come by your sites. Pick your poison, could be Facebook, Goodreads, your blog, your newsletter, etc.
Interaction is not definitive enough here. Don’t be an ass. There, I said it. When you are online, you are an author with a public persona. If you’re a member of private Facebook groups or various rooms elsewhere, you might let your guard down. Even then, do so with caution.
Your political view, social opinions, views on current events, and others may not be acceptable to some people. Ask yourself if you’re giving someone a reason to say “no” before you press that last button. Things tend to live forever on the internet. There have been several smear campaigns against the newly famous based upon something they posted on Twitter ten years ago.
Eventually, you’re going to make some online friends. If they have something to promote, make your space available to them. Don’t wait, offer your space. I’ve done this for years, and it works miracles. When I occasionally have something to promote, there are any number of people who will let me borrow their space. I might note, I’ve never given them a reason to say ‘No.’
When you are a guest at someone else’s Facebook room, blog, Goodreads room, act as if you’re standing in their living room with their children present. Don’t start a donnybrook in the comments thread. If someone else posts something off color, don’t escalate the situation.
You are expected to participate in the comments. It’s your book being promoted, so consider the comments as yours. Obviously, some will be directed to the host, but you can still hit the like button to let them know you’re reading along.
If someone says something encouraging, or nice, it is appropriate to offer a thank you. If they mention buying your book it’s expected. Believe me, people will buy books they decide not to read, or return to get their money back. If you happen to move a few copies, your next anticipation will be a favorable review. Nobody owes you one, but it would be nice, don’t give them a reason to say ‘No.’
Personally, I try to return to posts for three days. Some readers won’t get there for a while. It only takes a moment to sift through the comments. On WordPress blogs, you can follow the comments, so you’ll get notification of when there is something new for you. While you’re there, hit those sharing buttons one more time. This is how you get the word out about your product.
Inside your post, it is expected to invite people to follow you on social media and provide a few links. Places like BookBub and Goodreads are pretty helpful. Even if someone merely adds your book to their Goodreads list it helps you. Never give them a reason not to add you.
I’m fast approaching 800 words here. I write speculative fiction along with about a million other authors. This includes paranormal stories, and Halloween is fast approaching. You may never pick one of my books out of that gigantic pile, but I haven’t given anyone a reason to say, ‘No.’