When I talk to authors about marketing, the first thing I tell them is: Sell Yourself. No, not on the corner with a cardboard sign – but, it’s similar. In a world when millions of books are being sold, what encourages a reader to give you money?
Your reason for writing?
The fact you have three kids at home and want to quit your day job because it sucks out your creativity through a red solo cup and a torn straw?
That’s all well and good if you can communicate enough of that info during a brief meet and greet. That’d be one interesting conversation. Chances are, a reader will run across you through social media. Through avenues such as Facebook, twitter, and wherever else, you can reach across the technological barrier and enchant readers. Kitten pictures, lolcats, writing memes, Ryan Reynolds, and… a very strong political soapbox. In our current day and age, everyone has an opinion. And politics are a hot topic.
As we all know, nothing makes friends faster than sex, politics, and religion. </sarcasm> Riiight. Those three topics can ignite a flame that burns brighter and hotter than any lolcats.
If you have the fan base of Anne Rice, well, you have enough fans you can easily lose a few here and there without blinking an eye. Hell, by now you’re an institution. The fact is, very few of us are Anne Rice. The fact is a new author, or even established authors, cannot afford to lose readers. Your early career is a numbers game. The amount of emails you gather for promotional purposes. The people you romance into buying your book, into believing in you. Then keeping them hooked for book 2, book 3, etc, etc. Repeat buyers are your bread and butter.
Taking a strong political stance can seriously damage all that effort and we both know marketing is a lot of work. Marketing can be the undoing of a good author. The time when a hermit can sit behind a typewriter and merely produce without interaction is gone. Social media, websites, conferences, signings, readings, giveaways, blogging, and whatnot. It’s over whelming. Sometimes I feel caught up in a unyielding tide pulling me under.
So, is there a time when new authors should be political?
As always, you can ignore this advice and:
1.) Be ready to defend your ideas. Stand up, speak out regardless of the outcome. Any reader who likes your work will have to accept your views.
2.) Your book has a certain political stance – preach it loudly then! This goes for religion too. Erotica writer? hell, post those sexy, half-naked kilted men.
Things posted on social media have been known to bite people in the rear end. It’s also inspired sales and made amazing connections. I, myself, have found and contracted several authors due to the ease of communication. I get to know an author beyond the frightening query and dreaded synopsis.
Being an author is a great accomplishment, but be thoughtful of what you post and be ready to stand behind it.
“You can’t right the wrongs because you’ll never understand the cause and you’ll be too busy dodging the effect.”
Author: Henry Rollins