Supposedly, professional book publicists can look at an author’s platform (website, blog, Facebook) and say. “No wonder you’re not selling many books” and/or “If people aren’t buying your books, they’re nuts.”
Short of paying a professional $25,000 to provide us with that information, most of us (authors) are blindly wandering in the dark with no clue what helps us and what hurts us. With that in mind, I spent the afternoon updating my website with no idea whatsoever whether the changes will increase sales, decrease sales, or put me on the “no-fly list.”
Much to my horror, I’ve discovered that if an author is crazy and broke, s/he tends to draw crazy and broke people to his/her website, blog, and Facebook author’s page. So, what this means is lots of people are stopping by, but few of them are going out to Amazon (or wherever) and buying any books. This isn’t good.
Gurus say, “Be yourself.” Well, who else the hell can I be? The thing is, I wonder if I ought to stop being myself and put up a website that looks like I’m Dan Brown or Jo Rowling. Prospective readers would look at the site for a nanosecond and buy everything they see there. There might be some negative repercussions, but I wouldn’t care because I’d be rich.
As authors, we’re never sure what exactly will draw people to our books, to consider buying them and seeing if they like them instead of automatically purchasing the latest novel from one of the BIG NEW YOUR PUBLISHERS. Heck, I buy from the big publishers because most of the reviews, lists of the best of the best, interviews, and feature stories ignore authors from small-press publishers. Why? That’s all I hear about in literary sites. Even sites that focus on helping aspiring authors don’t interview or feature aspiring authors.
So, what to do? I thought about using malware to automatically sell a copy of one of my books to everyone who logged onto my website. Somehow, that seemed wrong. So, I didn’t do it.
I thought about putting a hex on everyone who logged onto my website so that they would buy copies of all of my books. Yes, that would help my Amazon ranking and maybe even get me on the New York Times bestseller list. Yet, it also seemed wrong.
So, when promoting my books I’m pretty much stuck being me. All of us are. And who knows what will come of it?