Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dear Publishers, Large and Small, Authors However Published and PR people

Hi there, I'm a book addict. I have read two or three books a week, on average, for more than 40 years...longer than many, even most!, of y'all have been alive. I need stories the way a smoker needs nicotine.

If I have noticed your book, be glad! If I have reviewed your book, be ecstatic! It would behoove you to remember something, though. You're not paying me to read your book, or write a review of it.

Every time I post a review, your book gets free publicity. My opinions, pro or con, add to (and often enough start) conversations going on about your book in cyberspace. This is A Good Thing, in the old-fashioned Martha Stewart meaning of the term.

Nobody hears of your product until and unless someone talks about it. The entire economy of the US is based on this truism. I'll talk about it, especially if I loved it or hated it. Some several people will pay attention to my talk, and some fraction of them will act on it by buying, or borrowing, your product. This is more or less the point of making the product, isn't it?

So why then, publishers authors and PR people, would you think it's a good idea not to support reviewers? We're the ones you're NOT PAYING to warble our fool heads off, tweet our digits to the bone, and whomp up interest in the product you've made.

So what about doing a bit of gratitude work? If you see a mention of your product on social media, call attention to it. If it's a positive mention that makes good points, thank the mentioner. Privately is fine, since you don't want to endorse someone publicly...looks like collusion! ::eyeroll::

And just permaybehaps stop being cheapass begrudging pennypinchers. If someone who reviews books wants a copy of your product, GIVE IT TO THEM. Shut up about the cost. How much does advertising cost, versus the free publicity that an unpaid enthusiast gives you?'s simple. The more you do for that online reviewer, the more likely he or she is to feature one of your products. That has a lot more value than the cost of mailing a book. And those online services for ebook galleys? CLEAN THE TEXT UP FIRST. DON'T LIMIT THE TIME TO ACCESS THE FILE.

The ONLY thing you're doing for the reviewer is supplying the finished product. That you've already made. And you need to sell to people like the reviewer. Some of those people will listen to that reviewer. So what's the point in being cheap about supplying the product to the influential customer?

And authors...really...say it in the book. Accentuate the positive, otherwise, and emit happy chirps as publicly as your nature allows when someone "gets" your book. It's not immodest, it's just good business. And yes, you are indeed in business from the moment you offer your precious bundle for sale. You're ever afterward naked in the marketplace, and anyone can say anything without your say-so or agreement or input or explanation.

Drown out the haters with lovers. Pump up the lovers. They'll remember each and every time you said something nice to them, or even just said, "go look at this review." And you know what? Goodwill will be built! And you can not buy good will. Can. Not. Foster it. Spend the time. No one said you had to go be besties with these strangers, just acknowledge their work. After all, it's helping sell your product.

PR people should remember that publicity is always a two-way exchange. Want mentions, acknowledgments, pull quotes, retweets? Be prepared to provide same. Without grudging or complaint.

I got annoyed today by a private message from an author, asking that I not "spam" the person with mentions in my Twitter feed. Embedded in reviews of the book the author wants to sell.

Spam? Okay then. Please excuse me. I won't bother you anymore.

Or bother with you. Or bother others with mentions of your existing and future books. Won't hurt your sales, I'm sure. But it won't help them, either.

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