If you’re an independent author, and are focused solely on getting to traditional publishing houses someday, you may be missing a BIG BOAT. (I tried to write that like John Candy says, “Big…big bear!” in “The Great Outdoors.”) Here’s an article with some background on the shifting landscape of publishing industry:
Archive for October, 2011
Tags: independent publishing, indie, marketing, publishing, self-publishing, Writing
Background first. I started the Twitter hashtag #AmazonLikes in late September when sitting in a hotel room brainstorming how authors could help other authors. Little did I know it would result in almost more headaches than benefits. The latest is an attack by a blogger with a post entitled “Are Reviews Useful?”
Ostensibly, the post should have been about book reviews, right? Sure, to a certain extent it is. And, naturally, the blogger who is a book reviewer concludes that reviews are useful. But, the blogger also slips in a dig at the #AmazonLikes hashtag and likens it to “cheating.” Let’s take that apart for a moment.
First, an implied assumption of the blogger’s post is what “liking” a book’s Amazon page means. She doesn’t address this in any fashion, even superficially. She simply assumes that people see a “like” and they believe it means, “I like the content of the book and would give it a high rating.” But, what are the customer reviews for then? Going deeper, what exactly does “liking” mean? Can’t you like a cover? A book description? The sample? The price? The genre? Any other hundred of things? If you like the content, won’t you potentially write a review, instead of just clicking the “like” button? I would posit that the “like” button on the Amazon page actually ranks much lower in a reader’s decision to purchase the book or not because it is such an amorphous and vague little thing.
Second, what about asking people to like your book’s Facebook page, or your Facebook author page? Is this “cheating” too? Should your Facebook likes simply grow “organically”?
Third, organic growth? Eh, come again? I’m pretty sure that as an indie author, with little to no following, nothing comes organically. It comes through poking, prodding, asking, giving away, and some reciprocation from other people in the same position. And, with that in mind, should we stop all giveaways that ask for readers to like a Facebook page, or hopefully write a review after they read the book?
Fourth, the blogger concludes that “tagging” a book is okay, but liking it is not. Yet, as far as I know, tagging has A LOT more to do with search results on Amazon than liking does. In fact, your tags can qualify you for other subgenres in which you can be highly ranked. And, the high ranking books REALLY sell. So, why isn’t tagging cheating, Ms. Blogger?
Fifth, because I like round numbers and I’m feelin’ particularly ornery, what about the other mutual-help author programs that would constitute “cheating.” #Melissa_Foster has done a tremendous job of helping other authors, including her #sharethelove4authors tag, where authors can post everything from webpages, to Amazon pages, to Facebook pages to Twitter links. Is she cheating? Nope. There’s the #TagNLike hashtag–did all those people cheat? Nope.
Then, regarding authors, let me say this. This blogger is essentially taking the picked on and disadvantaged kid who sits in the back of the bus (us indie authors) and throwing him/her out the window. Really–is there a need to preclude those of us that have what amounts to the most uphill climb imaginable from helping one another? We have no marketing department, oftentimes no agent, no money, no traditional publisher, no editor…can’t you let us have one another? And, regarding readers, the blogger goes on about “protecting” or “saving” readers. I give my potential readers more credit. I am fairly certain that they can discern what they want to purchase, and whether something they see is a quality product. I don’t think they are so feeble minded that they are unnecessarily swayed by a “like” button.
In short, rubbish. #AmazonLikes has helped the “like” total for my book, Enemy in Blue, and I hope it has helped the other authors involved. I’ll go on helping other authors as much as I can, and maybe, just maybe, one of us indies will make it out of the pile.
We are facing a situation in Aurora, Colorado where there have been six fatal shootings by police officers in 2011 alone. Here is an article describing all of the shootings, as well as the locations of the shootings: http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2011/09/six_fatal_shootings_aurora_police_google_maps.php
One of my recommendations, which I recently made to the Mayor of Denver and the incoming Manager of Safety for Denver, is regular and rigorous psychological testing of police officers. Entry examinations are not enough. We can possibly alleviate these escalated situations if officers are tested for their mental status at regular intervals. This isn’t about anything else than re-establishing community/police department trust. We can do it.
See an article quoting my comments here: http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_19034139