Over Thanksgiving weekend, Literary Nymphs (www.literarynymphs.com/) hosted a huge author chat. I had the opportunity to meet and chat with other M/M authors and readers. It was a wonderfully bewildering experience, trying to keep up with all of those emails, but I found a trick that worked for me (more on that later perhaps) and I had a blast.
First of all, I’m a huge introvert. I signed up for a chat that had enough authors listed on the promotion to make my head spin. What was I thinking?
I was thinking this: Self-promotion is required. While my publisher does partner with a promotions business, they can only do so much. Authors in this genre (and from what I hear, in all genres) must be willing do get out there and spread the word about their books.
Do you see my problem?
The chat was my attempt to overcome my introverted nature and get out there, but without the pressure of feeling like a salesman. You see, what I learned – the most important lesson, even above revising a manuscript and patience – is that being yourself is self-promotion. As I eased myself into a couple of interesting threads and got to know a few authors I hadn’t known before and chatted with those I did, I realized something. As a reader, I was more likely to read the excerpts of the authors being friendly and chatty, and when I fell behind on the emails, I skipped the excerpts for the authors that would just post them and disappear. Being friendly, even when not talking about your book specifically, does help sell the story.
Curious about this observation, I posted in chat about it to see if I was an anomaly or a typical reader. No surprise, several other authors and readers agreed that they’re more likely to buy a new book from someone they’ve talk to via chats, or Twitter, or other activities.
I highly recommended new authors try out one of these chats. I’d recommend it for established authors too, but they seem to know that secret already. There were plenty of them dropping in all weekend long. And, for you introverts like me,don’t worry about being sales-oriented. I wasn’t. I posted a total of three excerpts all weekend – two for Fallen, and one for Crank. Crank, my freebie webfiction, got more responses than Fallen. Freebies get people to read, so I’m happy with that for now.
Next up on the list: How the heck do I get work done during a chat weekend? I’m still trying to figure that out, so that blog entry may take a while to finish.