A long time ago, before Radio Shack was “The Shack”, I stopped going into my favorite place to buy nerd things because the salesmen were all so pushy. I also always refused to step foot onto a car lot because I knew I was in for a heavy-handed sell. I wanted to make a tee shirt that said “If you try to sell me something, you won’t sell me something.” And now, I’m finding a glut of new indie authors out there doing everything they can to SPAM the globe with promises their .99 cent book will be worth the price of admission.
The truth of the matter is, that .99 cent (or 2.99 or 3.99 or whatever price it’s set at) might well be the next The Stand or Imagica, but if you’re pushing it down my throat, there is only one thing I can promise you — I won’t buy it. Let me set a stage for you.
I realize that brick and mortar book stores are pretty much all giving up the ghost, but try to hearken back to when you would make your weekly trek to the bookstore in search of that new hardback or paperback printed with ink seeped in awesome. When you walked in you were probably greeted with a friendly face and then you were pretty much left to your own devices to find whatever it was you were looking for. No one bothered you because it went against bookstore etiquette. There was always a quiet reverence that belonged in the bookstore — an understanding that books were special things and should be treated differently than other products. You didn’t “Buy one, get one” and you were never pushed into a sale or upsale. You walked in, you searched, you found, you bought. The reader had a special relationship with those shelves of books.
But now so many of us are cutting out the middle man as well as the brick and mortar bookstores and publishing ourselves. Because that middle man is out of the picture, we are having to take on extra duties. One of those duties is serving as our book’s Pimp.
There are a lot of Pimps out there now.
Imagine each and every one of those Pimps pimping their wares at once. Not only that, but imagine the Pimps pimping to other Pimps. Can you see it? Can you imagine how well that goes over? Especially when each Pimp is pimping a specific “ho”. You have a Paranormal Vampire “ho” and you don’t bother to check into who you are about to pimp it to. So in your pimping you wind up spamming other Pimps of Paranormal Vampire “hos” about your Paranormal Vampire “ho”.
How do you think those Pimps are going to take this? Maybe the first time around they’ll write it off as amateur attempts at marketing. But when that Pimp gets hit with the third, fourth, and fifth pimpage…things are going to take a turn for the ugly. And there’s nothing uglier than a pissed off Pimp.
Here’s the thing — there are a LOT of indie authors out there. And unfortunately our collective attempts at breaking new ground is greatly affected by each and everyone in the game. So when a small handful of writers decide to throw caution to the North Winds and just SPAM the hell out of readers and writers alike, it makes us all look bad.
I get it…you want your book to sell. We all do. But the difference between those that will succeed and those that won’t, is the big picture. You might see that one book of yours as the key to the kingdom and you want to make sure it sells as much as possible. Or you might have grand designs of a series of books and you KNOW it will sell like mad if you only can get the title and link seen by as many people as possible. That is when you resort to SPAM. And SPAM, my friends, is B.A.D. SPAM does not taste like chicken and it will clog the arteries of your blood and soul-soaked work.
Me? I do NOT spam. Instead, I have a brand to sell. I am a human being and my goal is to get people to WANT to get to know and be a part of ME — The Zombie King. That does not include spamming the jeebus out of every possible social networking venue I can. I want to bring myself to the people, not drag the people kicking and screaming to the waters that are Jack Wallen.
Now, this gets really tricky when dealing with other writers. They are your best friends. Those other writers can help you in ways you can’t imagine. To that end, you cannot (and should not) use them, abuse them, or SPAM them! The indie writing community is a very special and wonderful thing and the privilege of being a part of that special community should not be taken lightly.
Ultimately though, you have to remember this: There have been MILLIONS of dollars spent on getting rid of or avoiding SPAM. When you just shoot out random “Read my book” SPAM, you are nothing more than part of that problem. On top of that, you are creating a horrible image for every indie author out there. We are not snake oil salesmen, nor should we be treated as such. But if those of you SPAMMERS out there don’t stop behaving like your actions don’t effect the rest of us, you are going to not only lose friends and connections, you’ll continue to help paint a very ugly picture of a group that doesn’t deserve to be defaced or disgraced.
If you want people to read your book, then think about the tenets I use:
- Be interesting.
- Be available.
- Be professional.
- Be yourself.
- Be truthful.
- Be real.
Nowhere in that above list does it say “Be an ass and SPAM the crap out of readers and fellow writers.” Why? Because that will only get you banned from two communities you should hope to depend upon some day.
Treat readers and writers as precious cargo — because that is what they are. And we DO NOT like the taste of SPAM!