“Winner Best Thriller; Thriller Of The Year; No. 1 Best Selling Author Of …; Best Selling Author Of …; Really Shines With Lovely, Fluid, Restrained Writing; One Of The Best Storytellers Around; Exhilarating, Intense, Addictive; … International Best Seller.”
They were all taken from the front covers of various books in the Amazon list of top 100 fiction books of 2013. And I say good luck and well done to those authors for being able to put such boastful phrases on the front cover of the result of their literary efforts. It doesn’t matter how you dress them up, they are definitely bragging and boasting about their literary skills in an attempt to persuade a potential reader to buy the new book. Again I say good luck to them!
So why am I writing about it? Well to be perfectly honest it’s because I wrote a book and I was so pleased to get my first three reviews giving the book 5 stars. (Pleased? – Pleased! I was chuffed to little mint balls! as we say round here). But I can hardly boast about it on the front cover, can I! It’s just not done.
The problem is how do you tell people, those people, you people, the ones out there in the big wide world, the potential readers? All of the selling and marketing advice to indie authors, especially those just starting out, and therefore unknown authors, is try not to ask “people” directly to buy your book. Even if you personally give them a copy, free or as a (questionable?) gift, you must then resist pressing them to read it, because they are still only potential readers! Let’s call them PRs for now. They know deep down inside that once they read your pride-and-joy creation you won’t be able to resist asking them what they thought of it. And Oh! how true that is. Come on new authors admit it! You want to know, need to know, are dying to know what they think of your book. The next step of course is to suggest, ask, even plead they write a review – probably the last thing that they would like to do. After all you’re supposed to be the writer – not your sibling, offspring, friend or long-suffering partner-in-life. So it’s probably best to resist all the opinion-stuff, and leave your family, friends and colleagues alone when it comes to telling your little corner of the world about that little something you are bursting to SHOUT about! Let’s face it, mostly, they seem to be impressed that you stuck with it long enough to actually complete writing a book.
In the Social-Media-obsessed brave new world we now live in the advice for new authors is to use avenues like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ etc to reach your PRs. Well, after all, without a Best Seller behind them an unknown author can hardly splash comments like the ones above across their front cover. Then you have to try to somehow link your blog, always assuming you write one, to the “friends” that you hope you have through those avenues, and wait for them to magically transform from PRs into actual readers – your treasured ARs! When I have the time I quite enjoy writing my WoW Blog; commenting on something that seems “wrong” to me is what I try to do anyway. But the key phrase in that sentence is “when I have the time” because I would rather be writing my next book. When I was teaching I saw things happening every single day that made me laugh, ponder, empathise, even gulp back tears of sympathy and I tried very hard to convey that in my second book. So it was immensely gratifying to find that the first three ARs who could find the time to write a book review gave it 5 stars. It made me feel that they “got it”; that something in my book said things to them that resonated with their frequency; writer and reader were on the same wavelength! Oops! A bit of science teacher creeping in there – sorry, folks!
But, and this is a big but, that has nothing to do with slimming, you have to avoid spamming everyone that you want to tell. This is the Big No! No! of course. For a start you will probably get your Twitter, FB etc account closed for trying it! When I tweeted about this as a problem a couple of tweets I got back said: Blog about it… Do a Boast Post!... and see what happens next? So if this Boast Post backfires and I “lose my stripes” in some way do I blame Carra Lucia, Michael Barnett and Cassandra Loskot for putting an idea in my head? No of course not! Nobody made me sit and write this blog and then tweet about it. It was the sheer frustration born out of spending nearly two years coming up with a story and characters that told a tale that I wanted to tell, and then honing it, copy-editing it, proofreading it, after and before endless re-drafts. When, finally, it becomes a published book with a front cover and blurb that the author hopes will encourage PRs to become ARs it’s a very delicate moment, that possibly only another writer can appreciate and understand. When the book just seems to sit there, hardly moving from real or electronic shelves, it is truly frustrating. But a 5 star review is like a shot in the arm and your instinct is to want to SHOUT about it like I mentioned before – but you’re not supposed to do that – not until you have already got a Best Seller, or maybe you are a celebrity of some kind (No! of any kind) with a ghost-writer in tow.
I am trying to include a little science in my stories, particularly natural science and things about the wildlife that can be found all around us: wildlife that struggles to survive alongside the relentless progress that sometimes humans seem unable to harness. This is probably because I have always been fascinated by life on earth, to borrow a phrase, and because I have watched scores of kids who have also loved “nature” and I enjoyed adding to their awe and wonder when I was a teacher. There are hundreds of animals and plants that seem to “boast” about their attributes in order to attract a mate, or even warn off competitors. Their displays shout out their message – Look at me! Aren’t I the Greatest! Lots of male birds have a much more attractive plumage to show off and they often sing about it, the peacock being an extreme example (though his song is not too great to our ears). And look at deer stags, lions, gorillas roaring and stamping about proclaiming how great they are. Even male baboons at the top of the tree (is that literally or metaphorically?) like to display their colourful bottoms to announce what a wonderful catch they would be for a potential mate, or PM. We’re back to big buts again. I have to hope that this blog doesn’t result in G J Griffiths falling on his backside and looking like an ARs but with an extra e at the end!
Review Links to So What! Stories: Amazon USA http://amzn.to/1b4lWP5
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1cnFsre
*** IMPORTANT NOTE *** So glad you're interested in my books.
Amazon USA ebook: http://amzn.to/1cA3H5O
Amazon UK ebook: http://tinyurl.com/o4s5uxd
Could you change from a PR to an AR?
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