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There’s a disturbing trend I’ve seen lately where authors post Tweets and Facebook updates asking for readers to support an author. As if authors are some kind of struggling non-profit organization that will not survive without charitable donations from readers. What worries me is the emphasis on what amounts to begging for support instead of earning it.
There’s even a hashtag on Twitter: #SupportAnAuthor
So we get messages like this (these are all real examples I’ve seen lately):
- Here’s a link to my book. Please Retweet! #SupportAnAuthor
- Post a review on Amazon and Goodreads #SupportAnAuthor
- Want to support me? Like my Facebook page. #SupportAnAuthor
- My book is on sale. Buy it here. #SupportAnAuthor
- My friend’s book is on sale. Buy it here. #SupportAnAuthor
Here’s the most ridiculous one I’ve seen several times a day:
Are you reading today? If so, thanks! #SupportAnAuthor
Thanks for reading? Really? We’ve been reduced to thanking people for doing something that they choose to do for their own pleasure. I can’t think of a single book I’ve read because I was hoping to be thanked for reading it afterwards.
Why am I getting hung up on this? Because all of the above messages say to readers, “my work is not strong enough to stand on its own. I need your charity.”
“But this is marketing. This is how it works online now. You have to self-promote on social media or you’ll never get anywhere,” you say.
Absolutely! There’s so much noise out there, you most definitely have to get your message out. My point is that instead of begging for support, earn it. Here’s a few ways you can accomplish this without asking for a handout.
- Before you do anything else, write a great book that will blow people away. If you don’t do this first, then the rest won’t work and you’ll be reduced to begging for charity from readers.
- Retweet other author’s links to books you liked. That means you need to read a lot (which you should be doing anyway to be a better writer). Don’t expect reciprocating. Just do it for good karma’s sake. I guarantee it will come back to you and others will retweet you.
- Do your own reviews of books you read. Champion other author’s works you really liked. Be sincere and honest.
- Create great content that’s unique, compelling, and interesting on your social media profiles. Give people reasons to follow you and listen to you. Then they’ll naturally want to buy your book.
I hope I haven’t sounded too harsh. I know all of the above messages are written by struggling authors who mean well and are just doing their best. I just think authors would be better served by focusing more on making a great product, championing work you love online, reading more & writing reviews for the books you love, and making their social media feed less about themselves and what they are trying to sell.