Dear (Jackass) Writer,
Yes, I know you wrote a book. Your novel, the first of many (you are sure), is a thrilling/scary/original/erotic/captivating/special story that only you could have written. It is sure to include thrills, spills, and some sort of romance. Probably “paranormal”. Unless you are, dear writer, of the male persuasion, in which case your hero will only find romance as a side note while he is doing thrilling and heroic things, probably including the saving of a romantic/erotic character at some point. Good for you. The world needs more horror/fantasy/erotic/paranormal/romance novels. I have no problem with the fact that you wrote the book. I have slightly more problem with the fact that you appear to have published it yourself, but do not appear to actually have had your novel edited by anyone. Well, that’s a personal choice, and one you’re free to make. I would never judge a book by its cover, as they say, unless of course your cover was created in some sort of computer graphics program, one which manages to make your artwork look as if it was drawn by a not overly-talented 9th grader. In that case, I will judge your cover, since if you can’t be bothered to pay for a professional artwork (or, let us remember, an editor), why should I pay for your book?
No, Dear Jackass, my problem with you is your preferred method of advertising your novel, which appears to be spamming my Twitter feed every hour, on the hour. Yes, I know that you want people to buy your book. We all want people to buy our books. Some authors accomplish this by writing a book so good that of course readers will want to buy it, and others do this by offering a 99 cent e-book version of their latest masterpiece for sale on Twitter. Every hour, on the hour. I do not care if you have slashed the price on your novel to ridiculously low levels. I do not care if you offer an excerpt from Chapter 3, the one your roommate found especially gripping. And I especially will not be clicking through to purchase your work simply because you have posted the link to Amazon for the 14th time today.
If you want my money, you’re going to have to put in a little effort. Be creative. Being creative is supposed to be something you’re good at. I followed your Twitter feed in the first place because you said that you are a writer, and I like to hear what writers have to say.
Step 1: Say something. Not about how you want me to buy your book, but about what book you’re reading now, or the kind of beer you drink, or even pictures of your cat. It is a well documented fact that all respectable writers have a cat*, and pictures of said feline. Give me a reason to think that we might have something in common. I’d like to know that you are the sort of person who also enjoys having a lazy Sunday brunch in the city. Perhaps we would have brunch together, discussing your latest novel while drinking tiny yet overpriced beers. Also, I like bacon.
Step 2: Give us something. Make a book trailer. Host a giveaway. Offer up free Livejournal icons and desktop backgrounds. Put together a recommended play list for those preparing to read your book at some point in the future.
Step 3: If you’re going to toss links at us, make sure they go to reviews. Nothing sells a book like finding out someone else liked it first. Yes, there is a fee associated with mailing out copies of your books to potential readers, but if you don’t believe in your novel enough to spring for some postage stamps, why should believe in it enough to buy it?
That’s all for now, Dear Jackass, but rest assured, I’ll have something else to say to you soon.
* And a drinking problem. And a tweed jacket.