As so often happens, someone says something on Twitter and it ends up inspiring a blog post. For today, that “something” was said months ago, so I can’t find it to embed it here. But it was tweeted by an author and it went something like this:
“Why do authors market to me? I’m an author, too. Shouldn’t they try to sell books to READERS and not their competition?”
And as usual, lots of people click the fave star and reply with “I know, right!”
I agree that many, many authors market on twitter like doing robo-calls. There are accounts set up to incessantly post the same advertising tweet every hour on the hour. They aren’t specifically trying to market to any group. They’re just hoping someone, anyone, notices. Do they know that most people have them blocked? I don’t know. But, we all agree they are annoying and should think of a better (more personal) way to market.
But, yes, some authors do try to sell their book specifically to other authors. Why? Because authors are readers. Are you not?
In 2013, before I began any serious attempt at becoming an author, I read maybe three or four books that year. The only reason I read those was to share the experience with my daughter. I read for her, not necessarily for me. I had a passion for books, but mainly children’s books, and again… mainly because I could share the experience of reading with my children. I just didn’t think about reading for my own pleasure because it had been so long since I had.
In 2014, I began writing a novel. I read more and more often as time went on and now find myself reading other people’s work nightly. And I don’t just read any old book. I specifically seek out self-published authors who write similar themes to what I am working on. I read to become familiar with the genre I’m writing and the other authors in that category. Most importantly, I read these types of books to practice what I preach: that people should seek out gems which are not fed to them by bestseller lists or paid advertising.
Of all the people in the world, new self-published authors should be marketing to people like me. I know what it’s like to be self-published and try to prove I can write a book worth reading. I am willing to take a chance on books others may shun until enough reviews come in. I am only this way now, as an author, but would not have been a couple of years ago despite my love for books.
Why shouldn’t authors market to me? Perhaps those in agreement with the tweet believe that I won’t buy a competitor’s book. I’m still not sure what we are competing for, and is there only going to be one winner? That’s just not how the industry works.
If someone has written a book similar to mine, though it might technically be my competition, most likely I will want to read it. The reason for this is simple: If I spent months (maybe years) writing about a subject, chances are it interests me. Also, anyone who has taken the time to buy my book on that subject is obviously interested in that subject as well. They may also buy this other author’s book and I’m okay with that. People don’t just read one book and stop.
It’s just cattiness and makes me think of listening to my girls talk over each other for attention, which promptly turns into them criticizing everything each other says. It’s the descent from “I want to be noticed” to looking at peers and saying “You’re so stupid for thinking I’ll notice you.”
Which is a strange marketing strategy. Because, on the one hand, some authors might fall for it and stop marketing their books to authors for fear of being called out for it. So, competitors are silenced, right? (At least in that particular author’s circle.) But at the same time, trying to silence other authors is not, in itself, a good way to sell your own books.
Or perhaps it works for you. Whatever.
Suffice it to say, I count other authors and writers as friends in the same boat. I trust their opinions and support their efforts to write great stories. I’m not alone in this belief and support, and I value the other authors who have done the same for me. If you don’t have other authors on board with your efforts, you are missing a valuable asset. And if you are shutting out new authors because you already formed your perfect clique, please send those new authors my way. Please, please, please and thank you.