I'm excited to be exchanging blogs this week with a great writer and friend, Scott Morgan - who doesn't hold back. Scott was the first person I met on LinkedIn last year and we instantly started online communication discussing all things writing. I got to meet him face-to-face at a book expo in NYC (where I think I got more out of talking to him than the break-out sessions, but I digress). Check out Scott on his website. Writer, editor, and very interesting blogger! And grab a copy of one of his books from his bookstore. (Character Development... is a MUST for writers and his Short Stack is a great collection of stories.)
And now Scott has something to share that few are afraid to say. Take it away, Scott!
Every family has one person who makes everyone walk on eggshells. We all feel the tension in the room whenever he enters. And we all wish this person would pack up and move to Burma, where he could get a good shave in a nice tiger trap.
And to this person, this entity making all of our lives less rewarding, what do we say?
Nothing. We just pretend everything's OK because it's easier than dealing with the butt-ugly truth that everyone knows but no one talks about.
So, I hear you ask, how does this relate at all to being an author? Simple: We all know something about marketing our work that no one actually wants to say out loud––Twitter doesn't work.
There. Don't you feel better? Or do you also need to hear this: Facebook doesn't work either.
OK, now you feel better. Or, wait. Do you need to hear this: Blogging doesn't work either.
Whoa! Wow, that took a lot out of you. You look dazed. OK, well, I promise I'm done with the here's-one-more-thing things. But now that someone has said it out loud, doesn't that feel better? To know that you're not alone in how you feel? I know I do.
The thing is, all these strategies that we as indie writers employ––the tweeting and friending and Goodreading (I don't know what else to call it) and blogging and giveaways––are already done. And by done, I mean, it's over. The very benefit of the Internet (that it's free and that anyone with access can put himself out there for the world to see) also is its biggest drawback. There are simply too many people doing the same things––mainly because those things work just often enough to keep the rest of us holding on.
This isn't just me talking. Studies (real ones) have shown that the absolute least effective methods people use to sell books are print ads, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs––in that order, from the bottom.
The reason, at least as far as I can see it, is simple: Indie authors are trying to convince other indie authors to buy their stuff. Now, if we all wrote bibles and took them to the same church, what would be the motivation for anyone but me to pray from mine?
If you've read my blog regularly (and a few have) you've noticed that I'm the type to give steps on how to do something. But here, I can't. Because I don't know what the answer is. The only useful thing I'm doing here is saying "There's an elephant in the room." Because there is.
A lot of indie writers are frustrated and tired and exasperated with all the shiny promises and bottomless hype, and I'm one of them. And, contrary to popular belief, a lot of us do want to make money as writers. We do want to sell our books. We're not in it for the pure love of writing, because if we were, we wouldn't be trying to convince people that we have awesome things for them to read. We'd just write some things for ourselves and never tell a soul.
My approach from here on is to continue talking to people on Twitter, where I've met some fine peeps (including Greg, who so graciously is hosting this blog). I will continue my blog too. And I will continue writing, because it's what I do. But I won't expect these things to move product for me. I'll do them to stay in touch with a community of good, motivated people who want to be part of the world and share their creative voices.
And maybe for now, that's good enough.