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Authors time to stop being doormats!

Last night was it. Last night I wasn’t going to take it anymore. Last night Book Rooster told me A Clear and Feathered didn’t have enough appeal to get ten reviews so I’m getting my money back(waiting to hear on Barbarian Girl). What the fuck? That’s why I paid them in the first place, because A Clear and Feather Danger didn’t have built in appeal. But Bookrooster was playing nice, they didn’t shove it down ten members of their community’s throats and say “REVIEW IT OR YOU’RE NOT GETTING ANY MORE BOOKS!”

Then I went on Twitter and said in bold caps and curses “Why are you all following me(all 7971 of you) if you won’t buy my books?” That’s didn’t get the reaction at first, but what I said next did caused a little firestorm: If you don’t have any interest in buying my books, unfollow me, I have no interest in you. P.S. I got your attention didn’t I? ūüėČ

That did it, I got scores of tweets going “You’re the rudest author I’ve ever met.” “You don’t appreciate other people”¬† And I hemorrhaged 75 to 100+ followers. And I didn’t care on single bit. Why? That whole stunt sold four books, putting me(as of this writing) at 25 kindle books sold over 22 days(not counting a book I gifted which I’ll get to in a moment), putting me well ahead of my very modest goal of 30 books over 30 days.

And that is the only metric I live buy, the bottom line; not how many followers you have, or facebook friends or customer reviews or likes on amazon or guest blog posts you have. What I’ve found is they don’t sell me one single book. What has sold my books is doing the hard sell, going on twitter, getting on my soapbox, and going: “You like fantasy? You like cyberpunk?¬† Are you tired of the same old tired slop? Then buy A Clear and Feathered Danger. Come on people, click that link, click buy it now what are you waiting for?” And if that doesn’t work, I get even pushier. It works. While it maybe only one or two sold at a time,¬† its a start.

But what I’m doing is considered taboo in the book industry. Authors aren’t supposed to be pitchmen, we’re supposed to be friends. We have to engage and connect with our readers. We’re not supposed to be pushy. We’re supposed to be nice to people, befriend them, and then hopefully, when do we post a promo, they’ll click and buy our books.

Fuck that!!!

The reason is people are lazy. I know I am. We won’t buy something unless we’re pushed into doing it. See that product on the shelf? We won’t touch it unless someone comes along and pitches it to us, giving us the reasons and keep on giving the reasons until we buy. And if we won’t buy, they’ll move on until find they someone that will, or quit if nobody ultimatly does.

But somehow I’m the villain in all this. I’m the asshole.¬† Yet what I’m doing is simply selling my books how the rest of the world sells their products. Would you condemn a real estate agent for refusing to continue to show homes to people who won’t commit on a house(as my own agent did)? No. So why should I be condemned for refusing to have anything to do with people who won’t ever purchase my books? I shouldn’t.

Authors, its time to wake up and release the way we’ve been conditioned to sell books is retarded. We’re supposed to sell books by doing everything but sell books. We’ve been conditioned to go “Hi, how are you? It’s so nice to meet you, let’s connect up and chat. P.s. here’s my book, check it out ūüôā ūüôā :)”¬† Quick poll, how often does that work? I’m betting the answer for most is none. Because even when I connect, I have to bug people to buy. I have to bug people to even read my free stories. I used to complain about this, but then I noticed it worked, and so I embraced it, and viola, finally I’m beginning to sell books.

One woman said to me, “So you’re sacrificing 20+ potential sales for 5+ immediate ones. Good going!” What she didn’t understand, and I do, is that there were never 20+ potential sales, there were 0. The people unfollowing would never buy. No amount of connecting would never result in a sale.¬† I had over seven times the followers she did, so this is a dynamic you only true see you get a ton of followers. When you have very few followers, your followers tend to be the ones that care. But as you gain followers you stop getting people following you simply because they care about what you have to say.¬† You get followers who follow due to your¬† following size and nothing more, spambots, online marketers, #teamfollowback ect

I ended up blocking that woman, but I don’t miss her, I didn’t know who she was until she yelled at me. And guess what, I’ll do just fine without her.¬† It’s a process I call sifting. I sift through my followers, getting the ones who don’t care and won’t buy to unfollow, therefore leaving just ones that will buy. And I engage those who will by on a level few authors seem to. Consider these three points:

A) I’m letting my readers choose what side stories are going in the Side Story Anthology. No other author would let their work be shaped by will of the people. I am. Aside from 36 Hours in Gruck(which is half a story), I have the 4 other short stories I’d put in already picked out. But what my personal favorites may not what others enjoy the most. Hence the poll. K23 is still my world and I’m still the final arbiter of what goes in, but giving others input doesn’t hurt from time to time.

B) I gifted a book to a woman out of the blue for her birthday because I felt like it. She’s not only liking the book, she said she’s going to buy the others. Mission accomplished. Authors give books away all the time, but they have to promo the give away, entice people to get free stuff. I could always make A Clear and Feathered Danger¬† free but not in the near term. Instead, every once in a while, unannounced and unexpected, I’ll gift a book. It makes the reader feel good, and if they like, they’ll buy the sequels. This is the only area where being nice really works, but only if you have a book worth reading, because remember that horrible video game you got last Christmas…

C) With 7900+ followers, there has to be a way to be seperate the wheat from the chaff on twitter. Therefore, I have a list, a list of those people who interact with me on a regular basis. These people are the people I soft sell, these people are the ones I befriend and chat with. But they have to take initiative, they have to show interest. They’ll get rewarded for doing so. I’m being an equal here, not being a doormat, but that’s only if I get something in return(and for a few feeds on my list, its not book sales).

So in conclusion, Its a balancing act, I can’t solely pitch, nor can I solely soft-sell, but my methodology is slowing beginning to get me noticed. I’m impressing people with my methods because I’m an indie who is beginning to move books by trying something different, just like my work is something different.

And I’d love it if more people copied me. It would make twitter a far more interesting place and I’d buy more books if authors gave me a reason to. Because right now, hardly anyone is, and that’s a shame.

 

Addendum 11/27/11: I meet my 30 book goal on the 23rd. Now up to 34 books sold! So this does work.

Opinions

#teamfollowback = not following back!

#teamfollowback¬† is the twitter hashtag for those people who want to amass followers simply to amass followers. It is the gutter, the slum, where the worst of the worst twitter has to offer congregate. These people have nothing to offer you. To them, you are nothing more than a number, one more person they can add to their cult of vanity. Tweet using #teamfollowback signals, “I don’t care who follows me just as long as they follow.” If I see someone in their profile or tweets using #teamfollowback, I’m not going to follow back or will unfollow you if tweet adder followed you.

#teamfollowback people are quite sad to me. They might have 100,000 followers but not a single friend. They are alone in life, not having anyone outside of the net, so they create a world where they’re popular, where people¬† care about what they have to say, but they don’t, because most of those followers are other fellow #teamfollowback users or spambots.

And even if I am wrong, and some of users are social butterflies off the net,¬† using #teamfollowback means you have nothing meaningful to say to begin with. Go ahead, go scroll down the listing of #teamfollowback. You will find bots of all kinds, people making random comments about nothing or replying to others in unrelated conversations, just with the hash tag. Except for possibly the news spambots, there is not one useful or interesting feed on there. Why? Because the interesting feeds don’t have to resort to cheap tricks to gain followers. They gain them because they have merit and are worth reading.

As much as I hate it, I don’t want it to go away. #teamfollowback and those hashtags like it(#autofollow) signals not to follow for those who actually want to use twitter for anything other than to boost their ego.

So thank you #teamfollowback for having the exact opposite effect of your intended purpose.

Opinions

My blog post about IJustine

Meet Ijustine aka Justine Ezarik. Don’t know who she is? That’s fine, up until about 9pm last night,¬† when I stumbled upon her in twitter’s who to follow¬† tab, I had no idea who this woman was either.

not a photoshop, though how can Snoop Dog see out of those glasses?

She’s an internet celebrity who rose to fame back in 2007 with her 300 page Iphone bill video. In essence she makes videos and posts them on her youtube channel. Her videos seem to be all “Hey boys, I’m Ijustine, I’m hot and doing nerd things, look at me!” Her twitter feed @ijustine has over a million followers.

As far as I can tell, her fame is predicated on a simple social phenomenon, lack of hot female nerds, or rather, hot female nerds who are palatable to the average male nerd, ie. non-threatening . Being a non-threatening hot female nerd, she gets worshiped.

Hey boys, look at my body and ignore the fact that I’m an obviously talented graphic designer and video editor with a college degree. P.S. Do you know I play video games? ^_^

Now to my run in with her. This isn’t some long epic flamewar, she merely posted two tweets at me, but they say a lot. For my tweets leading up, I’ll just text post my own relevant tweets, as there are many and I don’t want to drag my followers into this.

My first tweet: I’m confused as to exactly what @ijustine did to get famous other than being hot and female in an otherwise male dominated nerd culture?

Note the @ijustine, that was intentional so my followers know who the hell I’m talking about, it also means she’d see the post.

A few Tweets later: @(follower) oh and @otherijustine will respond to tweets from lonely nerds. Probably tweeting @ijustine enough may even get a response.

@otherjustine is her twitter response account. My guess for this is to keep her main twitter feed clean.

Now it would be dishonest not to share this tweet (in response to hey guys what’s up): @(2nd follower) bashing @ijustine.

I’m playing with fire, but hey, I’m having a little fun, besides celebrities get hate mail and flames all the time and most of them, if they’re smart, shrug it off. I have a continued conversation with this second follower, and then I get to this gem:

Note my response, in which I tell her that I know she works hard(and she does) and I was just having a little fun a her expense, which I obviously was, which my followers seemed to get.

But this tweet is still telling.¬† In a series of tweet I state: Basically Ijustine proved my entire point because deep down inside, she knows why she’s famous and fame is fickle. Why else would she feel the need to lash out at a nobody. I am a nobody, last night I had a little over 2100 followers, most of the internet doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall. I must have pushed a button.

This was my conclusion when I went to bed about 11pm.

Then I woke up to this:

So wait, she responded to me simply because she could?
There’s two ways to read this:

First, she’s none too bright, walking right into an obvious trap, communicating simply because she can. I say as such in my response: @otherijustine but social media often require brain cell usage as well(read more of my tweets about you).

But upon further reflection, I came to an epiphany: She’s being professional. She really doesn’t care about what I said and took the bait intentionally to give me some fun at her expense.

But if she is being professional, then her popularity is still troublesome.

You can be more than this

I only even started tweeting about her because I wish we lived in a world where being a hot female nerd catering to lonely male nerds not does not make you famous in and of itself. And even more, assuming her behavior is largely an act Ijustine acts ditzy in her videos because she wouldn’t be as popular if she acted intelligent. If she acted smart and independent, she’d be intimidating to lonely male nerds and smart women are a no-no to men in our society. Women like Ijustine prove that while women might have come a long way from being chattel, but they have a long way to go to being equal.

I hope one day women like her can be sexy and popular without having to dumb themselves down.

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