Hey great news everybody! Book 2 of my fantastic fantasy series Hard Vampire Loving is now available and is free for the next 24 hours. It is my gift to you. Please grab a copy, you won't regret it.
Want to read a story of heart stopping suspense and weeping romance, check out Hard Vampire Loving. It's great.
Hey everyone. Buy my latest book, Hard Vampire Loving, or I will cut myself. Go on. Buy it.
Buy it! Buy it! Buy it!
You get the idea.... I hate this! Now, I must admit that on occasion I will post about my own work. It is a necessary evil, but I do so perhaps once a month (if that). I tend post a link to my books on the following occasions:
1: A book has just been launched and I want to let people know.
2: A book is available in a free promotion
That's it. I don't see the need to post other than that. Doing so does nothing as far as I am concerned. I'll go into why later.
Now, a writer is by definition a smart and intelligent person. They have to have a decent grasp of English and have a deep knowledge of general trivia and human psychology. Of course that isn't always the case, but it should be. So, as intelligent people, why do some writers think that constantly forcing their work down people's throats will find them success? It's nuts! Just think about what makes you buy something. Would you buy a book from a guy who is spamming you every five minutes? Would you heck! No, I imagine most of you buy books for the following reasons:
1: You have enjoyed previous books from the author.
2: Somebody you trust told you the book was great.
3: You searched Amazon and enjoyed the book's description
4: You read some reviews and made an educated purchase.
At no point have you brought a book willingly because, 5: A guy battered you with Facebook posts until you spent you hard-earned cash on his book.
The thing that upsets me most is that I want to see other authors do well, and I see them making these mistakes and I cringe. But most of these constant spammers lack the self-awareness to ever change. You can't tell them to be any other way unfortunately.
Now, I hate talking like an authority on being a writer as I am just an infant in many ways, but I have achieved a decent living from my monthly book sales and I do so without ever resorting to the above, so I feel I have a certain right to make a public rant about this issue. In the last two years, I have made self-promoting posts sparingly and instead try to interact with my fellow authors and fans as human beings, rather than dollar signs and download numbers.
And if you are a despairing reader, being barraged on all sides by mercenary authors, take solace in the fact that it's not just you. Other authors get the same shit just as much.
I have other authors - some wannabee some established - adding me on Facebook and then immediately sending me a Private Message. What do these lovely people say? Do they say: Hi Iain, pleased to meet you? No, they say: Hey Iain, love you work. I have a new book coming out, wonder if you could spread the word (here they be links). Now there are several things that piss me off about this (FYI, I have never introduced myself to author in this way. Never! In fact if I add an author, I usually do so as a fan and not a fellow writer).
1: "Hey Iain, love your work." This annoys me because it's obvious this writer has not read my work. They think I am so vain, that the briefest and vague complement at the beginning of the message is all it will take to manipulate me?
2: Secondly, it took me 2 years to build up my current network or friends, fans, and colleagues. What makes this author feel they are entitled to it? Why should I expose their work to my friends, just because they ask?
3: What are they going to do for me? (sounds selfish but I will explain).
Anyway, a couple authors did this recently. What did I do? Well in this case, I did as they asked, but then I unfriended them. I genuinely want to help other authors, so that's what I did, but I did so only once and then banned them. Far as I'm concerned, if you behave this way you will not get ongoing support from me. If you are a gentleman like Craig Saunders, Eric S Brown, David Wilibanks, Ian Woodhead, Bryan Alsapa, Ryan C Thomas, R Thomas Riley, Armand Rosamilia, Billie Sue Mossman (gentlewoman) and countless other authors whom I respect, then I will constantly do what I can to help spread work of your books. Anybody that knows me, knows the following:
1: I will regularly do blog posts about other authors than about myself.
2: Most of my posts on Facebook are sharing the work of others. (Probably 10 for everyone 1 I make about my own work)
3: I will almost always do a favour when asked. I have endorsed books, done blog interviews, contacted local papers for other authors, set authors up with reviews, new fans, artists, and anything else they need. I like to think other authors think of me as a pretty nice guy in general and this is mainly because they know they can come to me for a shoulder to cry on, a buddy to laugh with, and a friend to do them favours. The caveat to this is that the relationship is organic. I do them favours after knowing them a little while, not from the moment they meet me.
4: I am not selfish with advice. I know a few things about making money from selling books. Do I keep this advice from other authors to ensure I stay at the top? No way. If I learn something useful you can guarantee I will let other authors know about it.
5: I often randomly share other authors links if I don't even know them. If they seem polite, grateful, and respectful then I will often make the effort to help them without even knowing them. You don't have to be my friend to get my help, just a decent human being.
Now, this selfless approach to publishing isn't completely selfless. I am successful after all. By being a nice guy and helping other people, I know that the following things will happen:
1: Other authors will talk about me positively (even mentioning me in the acknowledgements of their books sometimes)
2: On the rare occasions where I do try to promote my own work, these other authors will help me (without me even having to ask usually because they are nice human beings and want to return the favours I did for them).
3: If anyone criticizes me, I have people who will jump to my defence.
4: They will share their contacts with me (giving me access to other authors, artists, pubishers, etc)
5: They will collaborate with me and share their network of fans with me. (Eric S Brown lent a story to Animal Kingdom for free and Ryan C Thomas lent one to Sam).
So, in a nutshell. I am making a living writing books, and in doing so, I have not pissed off another human being once. I have not come across a single person badmouthing me. And I have made some really great friendships. I must be doing something right, huh?
Essentially, I am trying to give some advice here to other authors. GIVE BEFORE YOU TAKE. It may sound anti-intuitive but it works, I promise. Don't be a douchebag and don't ram your work down people's throats. If you're a good writer then slowly your positive reviews will build up, fans will flock to you, and sales will increase. Word of mouth is organic, not forced. It takes a while to get success and you can't make it happen any faster. Just keep writing and putting out quality work and you will rise to the top.
And also, if you are an author who has just met me, bear the following in mind:
1: If your first contact with me asks for a favour, I will do it, but then I'll never speak to you again.
2: If the only time I ever hear off you is when you want something then I will eventually unfriend you.
3: If you want me to help you, then that is fine, but I want to see you helping other authors, too. If I see you are someone who supports others then you can be absolutely sure that I will support you
4: If I ever do say that I am too busy to help, then it is the truth. I will always do so otherwise.
This brings me to another way to conduct yourself. Be good to fans - don't treat them like indentured servants.
I once contacted an author called Rick Mofina. I did so entirely as a fan. I enjoyed his work and wanted to tell him. So I did. I sent him a quick message saying how much I enjoyed his last book. His reply: "Thanks, check out the next one at....." That was it. He said nothing else to me. Never replied to my next message either, just rammed his next book down my throat. I never brought another one of his books ever again and I never will. I will forever now think of Rick Mofina as a douchebag and I cannot enjoy a novel knowing that the guy who wrote it is a dick. If he was kind to me then I might just be writing a chapter now about how talented a writer he is, but what goes around come around. Be nice to your fans and they will be nice to you (which will mean more sales).
It genuinely dumbfounds me that any writer can not appreciate someone taking the time to, firstly buy your book, and then secondly contact you directly to thank you (you should be thanking them. They gave you money). When a fan contacts me I am 100% overjoyed and sincere in how I reply. I reply immediately back to them and thank them. I wish them well and tell them to keep in touch (and I mean it). I try to email my fans regularly to stay in touch and to let them know I appreciate them as human beings and not commodities. In my real life, I have no friends. that sounds sad, but it is by choice. I am very family orientated and don't feel a desire to socialize - it may be weird but it's just me. I want to spend all my time with my partner, Sally. She is all the friend I need. Now if I go out, I am friendly and often make people laugh, but I take no relationships home with me. I do not form bonds. But for my fans I have genuine affection. After family, they are the closest people in the world to me and I genuinely care about each and every one of them. Without their support, reviews, and word of mouth, I would have to go back to doing a nine til five job and being miserable. My welfare literally rests on their shoulders. So how they hell could I ever be a cock to any of them? How could I ever be too busy to reply? How could I ever do what Rick 'fuckface' Mofina did to me? The answer is that I couldn't, and if you are an author, neither should you! Ever. I don't care if you are Stephen King, if you have a fan contact you, you better say thank you and mean it. Otherwise you don't deserve the easy living you have now or are hoping to have by being a writer. You have to give back in this world. You have to respect the fact that success is gained on the backs of other people and when you get up high you have to reach down and help those who helped you. If you are a fan of mine, then I genuinely love you. If you are a fan that is considering contacting me, do it! I promise you that I will be happy to hear from you and will gladly be friends.
Anyway, that is enough of my rant for now. I hope I don't seem like an arsehole, because in reality I try to be anything but. I think I get so annoyed by selfish people because I am the opposite myself. I know that by helping one another we will all be better off.
P.S. Just want to wish everyone a big MERRY CHRISTMAS (to those who celebrate it) and a great start to the new year. I will be taking a break till 2013 now, so I will not always be available to talk to or do favours. I will be clearing my schedule of all jobs except the commitments I have to SalGad Publishing Group. Christmas is very dear to me and, after years of working the unsociable hours of retail, I am now at a point where I can drop everything and enjoy being with family. Then, on February 11th I will be getting married, followed by a three week vacation at Disneyworld (my favourite place on Earth) - so it will be a fair to say that my availability will be somewhat spotty until Spring. Just know that during that time, you are all still important to me and I will be glad when I come back to see you all again (I'll be bringing a new novel with me, so don't worry). Merry Christmas everyone.
Iain Rob Wright