I read a blog post this week where the young author was promoting his new middle grade fiction release with a tongue-in-cheek, quasi, pledge drive. He wasn’t forcing readers to buy the book. He wasn’t actually taking money for a real pledge drive. He was just asking his regular blog readers to check out his new release and “consider” buying it. Who the author is doesn’t matter. My twelve year old nephew did read his book and loved it, so I left my rating on goodreads. (Kids books are about kids, not adults. I left the rating for my nephew…I paid for the book and he doesn’t have an account.)
Well, this author’s simple, harmless post sparked a cyber riot that rivaled that last democratic primary. I was shocked, saddened, and frustrated all at the same time.
And it really was a harmless, tasteful post. The readers who went after the author had no right to do it. But it made me think about how difficult it is to promote your own books on the internet, and how you never really do know whether you doing a good job or a bad job.
I don’t have any set promotional stragey going on. I never did. And though I wish I could come up with something, I probably never will. That’s because I don’t just write fiction to sell books. I write fiction because I love writing fiction and sales aren’t always my primary concern. This is why I always spend more time writing than promoting.
But I have learned one thing while promoting my own books and watching others promote their books: to lighten up. In other words, I don’t get mad at other authors anymore for spamming me with announcements and knocking over the head with their new releases. I used to get mad. I’ve even ranted here on the blog that I often think authors hurt themselves with aggressive promotion. I still think that is the case. But I don’t get annoyed with them anymore, thanks to the way I watched blog readers attack the young middle grade fiction author. I know authors are only trying to get the word out there, and I’ve learned it’s not always easy getting the word out.
So the next time you see a nice young author trying to promote his middle grade fiction on his blog, give the guy a break. The next time you see any author trying to announce releases with aggressive e-mails and notifications, let them slide. The author is not out to “get” you. He/she is only trying to have a little fun and promote a new book at the same time. If you don’t like it, all you have to do is ignore it.