Tired of hearing authors blathering on about their books, especially on social media? Me, too. I’m a reader first, an author second. As an author I’m sure I’m just as guilty as anyone else. I tout glowing reviews and share articles and interviews in which my book is mentioned. I promote contests and events such as readings and signings. And I certainly remind my friends and followers and fans when I have an upcoming release date. (I do, by the way: my first international thriller Good As Gone hits store shelves next Tuesday, August 20, 2013!)
There I go again, see? It’s difficult to refrain from talking about your book when so much is riding on it. For many of us, this is how we make our living. This is how we feed our kids. This is how we buy our alcohol and drugs! For an author, it’s easy to feel guilty about not talking about your book. Publication day for authors is a lot like Election Day for politicians. When you get out of bed on the morning of Pub Day, you realize your fate is more or less out of your hands. It’s a chilling reminder that the public is about to decide whether or not you’ll continue to work.
As a reader (and a voter), I don’t really give a damn. I don’t care whether you’re hoping for a new contract from your publisher or running for President of the United States, I want to be entertained! And if you fail to entertain me, our relationship is over. It’s not me, it’s you. It’s your books. Suck isn’t exactly the right word, but…. Well, you get my point.
But then there are the books that get my pulse racing. The books that make me laugh out loud on one page and start to tear up on the next. Those are the books that keep me reading long after the lights went out and the Ambien’s already kicked in. Those are the books, as a reader, I want to hear about. Just not from their author. I want to hear about them from other readers. I want to know about the good stuff, man, not from the dealer but from someone who’s already tried it and got him- or herself hooked. (Wait, are we still talking about books?)
Yeah, sure we are. Because good books and good drugs are sold the same way. By word of mouth. See, a dealer can’t exactly advertise. And publishers, well, they don’t want to spend the money on ads. So dealers and publishers try to hook you in much the same way. Here’s a dime bag of Kush; here’s an excerpt from Corleone’s Good As Gone. Ya like it, huh? Well, there’s more where that came from, baby.
What I’m saying is, as a reader, it’s our job to let fellow readers know who’s got the good stuff. Try a little, then turn to your friends with a knowing wink and say, “Buy the ticket. Take the ride. You won’t be disappointed.”
Being an author, there’s little I can do online to help the author of a book that kept me up all night and left me without a hangover in the morning. Thanks to a few bad apples, I’m not permitted to post reviews on Amazon. I have to be careful what I say on GoodReads. I can’t wildly promote Tom and Dick and not Harry, because I might just see Harry at the next St. Martin’s Press cocktail party. And he might just have a good left hook.
But most readers can spread the word in a number of ways. On Twitter, by saying, “My #FridayReads is Good As Gone by @douglascorleone, and it’s a blast!” On Facebook, on Pinterest, on Tumblr, on Google Plus, on Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, on Comet, on Cupid, on Donder, and Blixem!
Wait, what the hell was I talking about?
Oh, yeah. I’d like to see authors, myself included, talk less about their books. And by the way, apologizing profusely before launching into a rant about how damn good your book is doesn’t help; in fact, it draws more attention to that fact that all you do is talk about yourself. Because you’ve been apologizing an awful hell of a lot lately.
But seriously, readers can change the way we authors promote ourselves. If you love our books, you can share our posts and retweet our tweets, so that we don’t have to post and tweet the same thing 42 times. You can leave a review on Amazon, and then head over to GoodReads, and go on and on about how damn good Good As Gone is. You can spread the word. You’re the best messenger. You have control over who remains published and who returns to their day job. And your favorite authors, I can tell you, will be eternally grateful. Because the only thing authors like more than praising their own books, is reading praise for their books written by others.