Monday, September 1, 2014

Worst Mistakes Authors Make

Copyright © 2013 Rowena Cherry
Originally Published by 1st Turning Point, 2010
No one likes gatecrashers, and it seems that one of the top promo mistakes that authors make is to do the virtual equivalent of gatecrashing someone else’s party.
Worse still, authors who’ve made a Promo blunder go on to compound their initial mistakes, either by attacking the readers who point out that they (the author) or the promo post don’t belong, or else by leaving damaging “stuff” lying around for all the reading world to see.
On GoodReads.com there is a special area known as “The Spammers Circle In Hell” where readers discuss authors whose misplaced promotion attempts have offended them. Friends of 1st Turning Point should take note. The “Next Best Book Club” group has a readership of just under 6,000 members strong. Potentially having that many readers vow never to read anything by you could be a very major mistake.
The following lists are posted with permission.
FIONA’S list of Worst Mistakes Authors Make On GoodReads.com:
1. Trying to slip their own book into group nominations (to be read by every member of the Book Club Group) especially without even trying to be honest about it.
2. Throwing a hissy fit when they are asked/informed to read/keep to group rules, etc. (for instance, about self promotion and spamming the forums.)
3. Creating multiple accounts and pretending to be different people so as to pretend they actually have friends who have read the book.
4. Failing to use paragraphs, punctuation or spelling in their attempts to advertise their ‘book’. Obviously these people probably aren’t serious authors.
5. Only seeming interested in their book, only ever wanting to talk about their book, trying to twist every other group conversation into something to do with their book…(as in)… “This is an interesting topic… blah blah this is my book.”
6. Also, promising to give away £10,000 worth of free stuff if you buy the book probably doesn’t work very well either.
7. And people should introduce themselves first. You know, “Hello I am so and so, I like these books…” and try not to mention the fact they are an author for five seconds.
(Here’s an example of what NOT to say)

“I am a big fan of James Patterson books and I have written so and so which I think is very good too.” It’s just SO cheesy and fake. And who are you to say your book is good or as good as some top-named author?
8. GoodReads is first and foremost for readers. I think authors on GR should think of themselves as readers first and maybe get to know the group first before posting to it.
Also try to actually pay attention to where (within a group’s topics) they should post such advertisements. Some groups, such as TNBBC (The Next Best Book Club) have special folders. Others of course may not but it doesn’t take long, much thought or much intelligence to actually look.
For instance… the Important Messages folder (on TNBBC) is for group messages/information from Lori (the group owner) not for authors to advertise their books.

People should check out the group rules and with the new group rules feature on GR. I don’t think there is an excuse not to do so. At least look at the group description before doing anything! Anyone can make a mistake, but it feels very annoying that people can’t be bothered to at least think a little bit before acting.
A correspondent on Facebook echoes Fiona’s seventh point about authors who try too hard:
over-doing. Driving people crazy because every single thing they say, every workshop they attend, every comment is all about them. Their book. Their sales. Their pitch. Until people cringe to see them coming.
Sometimes authors need to remember the best way to make a friend (or a reader) is to be one. Take some interest in what others are doing. Offer something your readers can enjoy and be involved in.”
Another GoodReads group member agreed that one of the worst promotion mistakes she has seen is where authors use Amazon and other book discussion forums to promote their own books in really irrelevant threads. It happens far too often.
A Facebook friend of mine made a similar point about the importance of being relevant.
“If an author describes the book they have written, and the reader buys it because of the description-and the book actually does not match the description, the reader will become very reluctant to buy any other author’s book because of an author’s description.”
Cindy from GoodReads spoke about “Friend Spam” also known in some circles as “Author Spam”:
“How about authors sending friend requests without any attached note? I’m shocked how many friend requests I get from authors when their books aren’t even in a genre I read or participate in. I can only presume they are sending out mass friend requests just for promotion. Blech.

I can’t imagine that friend requests or private message solicitations gain authors enough royalties that it’s worth their time.”
Becky from GoodReads enlarges on other ways that excessive promotion can backfire.
“There is one author in this group who is not only notorious for talking about her own book in almost every post, but more than that, she’s just stuck on one subject: the one her book seems to be about. ( … comments to the author’s credit redacted …) She’s very earnest about her book, and wants to spread the word, but her method removes all credibility.
And more than that, her posts are all poorly written with run-on fragmentary sentences, little to no punctuation and misspelled words.
That’s the worst thing that authors can do, in my opinion. If I can’t read or understand the post you made about the book, why in the world would I want to read the actual book? An editor can only do so much.”
Becky also points out that some authors seem to regard GoodReads.com as a place to make money, and readers resent that.
“I think that they don’t see “Goodreads” like we do. They see “Goodread$” instead.
And therefore, they post their “advertising” anywhere and everywhere they can, and then get their feelings hurt when people, like group moderators or vigilant and active members, ask them not to.”
Several respondents mentioned authors behaving badly if and when readers object to inappropriate sales pitches.
As Lyn M said:
“The one I would like to add is authors who spam a group without being (an established, regularly participating) member and then throw a hissy fit when you call them on it. It’s bad enough when they spam, but then if the follow it up with comments like “I thought this would be a fun group, but obviously not” or other demeaning comments about the group and/or its members. Those authors go on my Never To Read list.”
Another Facebook friend summed up the mistakes authors make
“Going where you’re not wanted and pushing your book, such as lists on another author’s day. Posting promos that are too long without a hook. Not maintaining a neat website. Not having a website at all. Misusing Twitter and Facebook by ONLY using them to promote. Doing a huge push on release but then not keeping it up. Expecting the publisher to promote for you. There’s a few…”
I’d like to thank my reader friends who gave me permission to quote their powerful words of advice and caution to authors who wish to learn from others’ mistakes. I haven’t enlarged on the damaging stuff. It’s said that once you post something on the internet, it is there forever, but if you post an ill-advised promo as “News” when it isn’t, or to a Discussion where it doesn’t belong, you usually can return to the site and delete it. Sometimes, discretion is better than ending up on a Never To Read list, or in the modern day pillory for authors in The Spammer’s Circle In Hell.

Award winning author and talk show host, and outspoken copyrights advocate, Rowena Cherry has played chess with a Grand Master and former President of the World Chess Federation (hence the chess-pun titles of her alien romances).
She has spent folly filled summers in a Spanish castle; dined on a sheikh's yacht with royalty; been serenaded (on a birthday) by a rockstar and an English nobleman; ridden in a pace car at the 1993 Indy 500; received the gold level of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award; and generally lived on the edge of the sort of life that inspires her romances about high-living alien gods. Find out more about Rowena at the following:

SPACE SNARK™ www.spacesnark.com









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