Admittedly the things I don’t believe are exponentially larger in number than the things I believe.
One of the things that always makes agnostic in me rear up is “the new, new thing for self-promotion.” There is a herd instinct in my field, and honestly it seems worse in indie since no one knows what works.
Right now the new new hot hot thing is newsletters. I’m agnostic on these. I know they work for a ton of people, I don’t know if they’ll work for me. And they don’t seem to work for me as a reader. I’m subscribed to the newsletters of about a dozen writers, whom I like well enough to wish to hear when they have a new book out.
So, do I? No.
Why not? Because the philosophy driving newsletters right now is to treat them as something between this blog (note not necessarily other blogs) and twitter. You send something out every couple of days, so people feel they know you and want to buy the book when it comes out.
I don’t know. Maybe most readers’ mailboxes aren’t as busy as mine, but any given day, on skimming the emails I divide them into three categories: must answer right now; must answer by end of day, and don’t have to answer.
Honestly, these last few weeks (we fly out of the country tonight, and it will be even messier for two weeks upcoming) my “Must answer by end of day” haven’t been getting answered, for which I beg pardon, and it will get better around May 15th. The “don’t have to answer” though are pretty much on perma don’t-answer. At least when I go through one of these phases when life is hitting me with the busy stick.
Which means my email learns. What it learns is that these emails are spam. Which means I then don’t hear when a book comes out.
IF I can figure out how to do emails (honestly, like putting the donation button on my blog it might be a job for husband) I will probably have two email lists. One is for updates, snippets, what have you, and the other ONLY releases. So, if you see it in the email, you know there’s something to buy. I think that MIGHT work, in the sense that the author tracker in Amazon used to work (Right now my email also puts it in spam, so I can’t tell you.)
Right now the hot hot thing which is confusing a lot of readers and social media users is to have a nice picture with an embedded quote from your book. This is an attempt at getting around Facebook’s limiting of links. I’ll be honest, I don’t think that works most of the time. It MIGHT work marginally, if you can then put a link for purchase in the first comment. But if the book isn’t out yet? Again, going on my experience as a reader, I’m going to say nuh-uh. Why? Because my memory sucks. Unless I’m your most fanatic fan ever, why on earth with fishes do I want to look at this, think “Oh, that’s interesting” and not be able to buy right away? You know as eggs is eggs I’ll have forgotten it when it comes out in a month or so. With a link in first comment, and if you pick the hottest, bestest of your quotes? Mayyyyyyyyybe.
And then there’s book trailers.
I used to be downright disbelieving on them, and like him I can’t remember when I last saw one. They were the hot hot thing of the early oughts.
But as I was writing why I didn’t believe in them, I realized things had changed.
You see, I used to say “When you’re in youtube mode, even if the trailer knocks your socks off, what are you going to do? Run out to a bookstore and buy the book?”
But things have changed. If a trailer, or something knocks my socks off, I open an amazon window and buy the book for the kindle.
It also, like the quotes and pic might make a good way fro readers who ADORED your book to share with friends that is stronger than “You must read this.”
Caveats, of course, that it must be good, it must not be crazy expensive, (I used to be able to make them from static pictures, and now that I can render…. um…) AND it must come out after the book, so people can buy right away. But I think it might have some value.
All the vale it used to have is what I think email lists have now: they tell the publisher you’re invested. Seriously, you used to write “Has book trailer” and the publishers thought it was teh hottest thing. Because NY publishing is Hollywood for ugly people.
Now… well, now book trailers might be worth it.
I find the herd instinct weird, because most often what everyone is doing has no more effect than a pardon me in a hurricane.
So periodically I need to reevaluate things and at least become agnostic on some…