Howdy. This weekend I will shed the robe of introverted shadowiness (somewhat) in order to embark on a new journey as a writer. I’m forming a Facebook group, title of which is the title of this blog.
Another group? Argh! People start panicking from the image of another, Gojira-like beast taking up time and space on the internet. So why bother? Well, it came to me in stages.
First, last year I started the first novel. All along, I told myself writing is a social art. I’m nonsocial. So I would need to get my brain rewired to be sociable. So far the bionic implants are working, though no one sent any get well cards. Oh wait. I never told you about the surgery? See? Nonsocial.
So I joined groups to learn writing, marketing, talking, etc. I think by now I’m in Nth number of groups, trying to reach out. It has helped a lot I daresay. Scribblers Den on thesteampunkempire.com is where I hang my hat the most (which means like, one post per week, a high amount for me). That brings me to my next jump in thinking about a group.
Empire Booksellers and Jack Tyler, MC of Scribblers Den. I cannot express how much this friend of mine has encouraged so many of us in our writing, in promoting our books and reviewing whatever rough drafts I spit out. His push for Indies was my inspiration to go all indie as much as possible with my reading. And it gave me food for thought. What can I do as an indie author to help others, not just moi? The synapses started firing.
So then I got into reading blogs and books on selling your book. The ideas offered were the same. We’ve all tried them and watched the sales of books trickle in (is this trickle down economics? Hmm…). But only one recurring theme tugged at the corners of my mind: you have to socialize in today’s market, build up fans by getting to know them. Now for we shady writers, that’s a big step. But I started to find it worthwhile. Good discussions were going on in groups, motivating arguments. So I kept plugging my book, while seeking out a question here, a short conversation there. It works, but still the sales thingie slagged and that moved me to Exhibit D.
Promotion. I hate it. There, said it (You got me. I didn’t say it. I wrote it). READ MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! PLEASE! I’LL SLICE MY EYES WITH A PLASTIC SPATULA IF YOU DO! Makes us seem even nuttier than we really are, huh? I mean, we’re artists not crackheads. All along I’ve had this urge that there has to be a better way, even mentioning so in my blogs. But nothing popped.
This week, after praying on, mulling it over and losing sleep (thanks root canal) the boom struck Monday at three in the morning.
‘You’re going about this all wrong, Jackson. You don’t sell yourself. You sell other people. You sell connections. You sell books.’
And dumb me is like, ‘Uh…how?’
‘Start a group only for readers. Kick out the sneaky writer doing self promo. Only allow members to promote OTHER AUTHORS BOOKS. Have them proclaim to the group, “Hey! This book here is great and here’s why you should buy it!”
And dumb me says, ‘Uh…that’s a whole lot of being social there.’
And the Answer to my prayers sighs and says, ‘We’ve had this chat before, haven’t we?’
Me: ‘Oh! Right. I’m supposed to be doing just that. Right?’
Answer faded away. As I got jumping Monday, my slow brain kicked into gear. Yes! You need to form a group, specializing in promoting ~punk books, but others too. Everyone sells everyone else.
Two days ago, I posted the question of such a group on my many FB groups. Took awhile. I’m in a lot. Some were glad I stopped in to say something other than ‘BUY MY…!’ But the response was fast and overwhelming. Why? People saw what I saw. Groups get so into talk of cosplay and events and life, books get left behind. Even in writers groups we talk about themes and what ifs. When I asked why, if we gripe so much that our favorite punk genres aren’t well known enough, why aren’t we spending time pushing the great punk books we read? The answers were mainly, ‘ Huh! Good point.’
Take dieselpunk. A few want it to stay in the corner to avoid dilution by the masses. But most I talked to are a tad sad they can’t get it more recognition. But if the majority of DP can be accessed by, say, its books, then where is the guy or gal going, ‘You like WWII? Try this.’ Or, ‘Hey dieselpunk! I just finished reading ________, and it’s great because _______! You need to be reading this!’
I see it on occasion, but a rare occasion. So, if I can funnel this cattle drive into one seething mass of hysterical readers pushing the books they enjoyed, the reasons why, the link to get it, then maybe I’ll contribute more to the scenes than ‘BUY!’ Because I love the punks and fiction and the folks I’ve met along the way. Maybe one more group will be too much, but I argue that posting a book you live with a review and link isn’t taking much in the way of time. And, dropping by might get you a gander at a good book, your NEXT book to read. We can debate the merits of a book in comments. And, we can post books we want read, and what about it caught our eye over other ones.
Is this Goodreads for Facebook? No my friends. It’s Punkreads for Indie Lovers. I’ll form it and send out the invites. How about that? A social gathering, and yours truly is excited about it. Solarpunk, atompunk, dieselpunk, steampunk here we come! And for the romance, mystery and other fiction Lovers, I won’t ignore your picks either.
Have your books armed and ready.
Know your alternate history!