Saturday, July 16, 2011

Writers as How-To Gurus For Fellow Writers?

First, a public service announcement, and then I'll move on: I'll be in buzz mode for the next two weeks or so, as I shamefully lift my megaphone to promote the launch of my first novel, THE CITY OF LOST SECRETS. You'll officially be able to buy the novel on August 1, but to help promote it, I'm offering a FREE copy to the first ten people who respond to this post. All I ask in return is that you read it quickly (which shouldn't be a problem; it's only 60K words) and post a review on Amazon on release day (or as soon as possible after August 1).

If you're interested, simply leave me a note in the comments, or email me at kmcvay53 at yahoo dot com.

Moving on...

I say that I'll be shamefully promoting my book because wearing a sales hat doesn't come naturally to me; it doesn't to most writers. We suck at it. All we want to do is be left alone to write and let someone else do the promoting. Sad thing is, even best-selling authors have to do their own sales-pitching.

Which is why a lot of authors have turned the act of promoting on its head by morphing themselves into how-to gurus. The thought is, What better way to promote myself and my work than by offering wannabe successful writers information on how I became a successful writer? They may sell books or ebooks with such titles as: Nine Tactics I Used To Skyrocket My Book Sales Using Only Social Media; How I Sold A Gizillion Ebooks In Two Days; How I Became A Media Darling Using Twitter; and so on. (Those titles are fake by the way, so don't go Googling them.) Most of the time, this information is free, but sometimes not.
I've dubbed this tactic "Big Megaphone Marketing," because most of the time these authors make bold claims and offer big promises.

Then there's something I call "Small Megaphone Marketing," which is self-promotion on a smaller, quieter scale. The type of writers that fall into this category offer (usually free) tips and advice on anything from marketing your book for non-marketers, to formatting your self-published manuscript for Kindle, to how to start a Facebook fan page. No bold claims or fancy promises here, only solid advice from a writer who just wants to help fellow writers get recognized and get recognized themselves.

There's nothing wrong with either of these tactics, as long as it's done correctly and in a non-irritating fashion. (And you know, it has to be helpful). Hey, I'm a student of marketing, and I know that offering free information to people endears them to you, brands you as an expert, and makes them more likely to buy your books. By positioning yourself as a guru and giving fans a seldom-seen look behind the curtain, you are deemed as an authority on the subject, which breeds respect, which breeds sales.

Also, I wouldn't be where I am now without the help of writers/gurus. I subscribe to a lot of writer's blogs that offer advice and tips and suggestions and stories of failure and inspiration alike. I find them useful, so who am I to pass judgment? If an author has the chops for it, more power to him.

All I'm saying is, it's not for me.

I'm having a hard enough time figuring out Facebook and remembering to check my Twitter feed and finding enough time in the day to update this blog and write my next book, and oh yeah, eat. So branding myself as a writing guru by pumping out helpful information and advice for consumption by fellow writers ain't happening anytime soon because I don't have the time and I don't feel I have anything of value to offer fellow writers (yet). And because all I really want to do is spend my time writing great fiction.

But many writers find the time for guru branding. And I respect the ones that do it well. They've helped me and I thank them. I hope I'm honoring them here.
So, by me telling you all this, does it make me a Big Megaphone Marketer or a Small Megaphone Marketer?

Well, maybe a Mini Megaphone Marketer.

(Don't forget: if you'd like to get an advanced copy of my new novel THE CITY OF LOST SECRETS before it hits the streets, be one of the first ten people to post a comment or email me. And then please review it on Amazon the day it launches on August 1, or close thereafter. Thank you!)

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