As I continue to ponder over controversial topics involving new authors, there’s another issue moving amongst us in cyber-space. We help each other. It’s great. Features, interviews, Likes, and sometimes, depending on the author(s), we purchase and review each other’s books (not suggesting the latter’s a fit for all). I have a habit of doing what I want, so if I want to review a book, I buy it, read it and post a review if above two stars, if not email, as written before.
The question I have is, leaving out purchases and reviews, do the “Likes,” and features help with sales? What about interviews? I’ve done radio, blog and podcast interviews, but as a new author, it’s quite a dream indeed to be interviewed on a radio show then hit a bestseller list.
Let’s bring the question to something more specific: Tweeting. Does hyper-tweeting others’ books outside of reviews help? I love to tweet, so why not tweet about a colleague's new work? But, does tweeting about reviews help? If I forget to tweet a virtual friend, is that a betrayal? Am I making a battalion of on-line new author enemies by asking these questions?
I don’t consider myself any kind of oracle of answers to these questions, but the answers, if out there, are important for the new author. I don't mind doing favors for talented people. If we’re going the distance to do all this work for our virtual writer friends, will they “Like” and “Tweet” for us? Who gets the most results? Are we taking sales away from ourselves by using so much energy promoting others? Another question: Are we driving away our blog traffic?
Let’s turn the question around. I know writers that self-promote only. Sure, they may throw out a tweet or two for someone, but I had no idea a year ago that some writers on social sites say Hi, join the networking, and on twitter, tweet so much about themselves it’s like a Xerox machine. And one of them may be C.C.Cole! I never point out defects in others without also pointing out I may not be so different.
This virtual back scratching gets complicated quickly. I don’t consider myself outside of this loop; as I’ve checked out blogs and FB fan pages. But now, when asked to do so, now I expect a bit of quid pro quo. For months I found myself Liking FB pages from DMs on Twitter, and finally thought, “Hey, why can’t they do that for me?” So now, I ask. It’s hardly an obligation on the part of either writer. Ask me to follow your blog, I ask to follow my blog. I've never directly asked for someone to buy my books and haven't seen others do that often. "Check out my book" translates for most readers.
So, what’s to be learned from all of this virtual back scratching for the new author? I say quid pro quo for the simple things, such as a tweet, at least, sometimes. Check out a FB page and “Like” it. No biggie, these aren’t lies. You've seen the pages, you've seen the author profiles. False reviews? No. Joining blogs? Up to the author. Purchasing books? Totally up to the author, and don’t expect a return there; when one gets involved in money, that gets a bit personal, so tread lightly.
Promotion is necessary. New authors, in the beginning, your best friends are other authors. Some will get more mileage out of the promotion you give them. But that's life; it doesn't help to make on-line enemies. Plenty of people are available to provide that service.