I’ve been trying to build up my Twitter followers this week, in the hope that if I ever finish this book and get it out there, I’ll have a conveniently amassed audience to whom I can promote it.
That’s the idea, anyway.
I also just enjoy using Twitter. Interacting with fellow writers, sub-editors, journalists and professional piss-takers is a lot of fun. It’s all witty quips in brash brevity – a skill in itself.
Even on a purely psychological level, the favourites/retweets aspect is like gaining experience points in a weird social RPG. Each arbitrary milestone you reach for the number of followers you accrue feels like leveling up.
Often, when I follow published authors, they’ll send me a direct message (some I assume are automated) with a link to their Facebook page asking for a “Like” or nudging me in the direction of their book on Amazon.
I don’t currently use Facebook for this kind of thing – for me, it’s a place to interact with friends and family – so I rarely head to author FB pages.
Perhaps they’ve been told to do it by their agent, or read online somewhere that FB promotion is an inevitable necessity to reach potential readers. Maybe one day I’ll have to accede to this too.
As for sending me links to Amazon, the writers that do this are usually self-published, which means it’s e-books only – and I don’t own an e-reader. I ought to, really. I ought to finally wade into the river of technology and let myself drift away, but I love books too much – the feel, the weight, the smell.
However, I recently received a direct message of genuine desperation from one such writer:
Bleach! Imagine having exhausted every marketing tool at your disposal; imagine shouting about your book for so long into the ether and still no one’s reading it. Might you be tempted to corrode your own eyes in their sockets in order to win the pity of a few more readers?
Poor bloke. He’ll publically blind himself for Amazon reviews. The man clearly needs help.
And yet, I have no e-reader, so my arms are tied.
Then, perhaps a day or two later, I received a troublingly similar direct message:
Battery acid! This poor woman is going to eviscerate herself from the inside, melting her guts for the mere chance of a glance at her creation.
I can’t live with the guilt if they go blind or blister their bowels with battery acid. But I’ve not the capacity to help them – I own no Kindle; nor Kobo; nor Nook.
What I can do, however, is mention them here, to my meagre readers, who may or may not wish to read further; but at least my conscience will be clear.
These weary writers have co-penned a psychological horror series called Awake in the Dark, to largely positive reviews. Have a look, buy it; do as you will.
There, I’ve helped now.
I can sleep soundly.
And yet, I’m left a little envious of their self-harming pleas. I’ve not yet completed anything for which I can scar myself trying to get people to read.
The lucky bastards.