Sunday, October 9, 2011

Authors! Want to Impress Book Bloggers? Don't Do This.

Most self-pubbed authors realize that platform is important and therefore establish a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and their own website.  Though I want to be a published author myself, I'm writing this post from the perspective of a book blogger.  I often visit authors' websites to gather information to include in my reviews, and I'm starting so see problems in their websites that make my job much harder.

Do:
  • Have clear contact information on your website.
  • Have a clean, uncluttered appearance.
  • Have good graphics.  Our culture is moving more and more toward the visual sense.  Consequently, my toddler can operate an iPad with a considerable degree of skill.
  • Use professional and ethical language.  It's nearly impossible to rebuild burned bridges.  
  • Include a professional headshot, not a cutsie pose in front of your webcam.
  • Invest in decent cover art.
  • Spend time writing a good pitch line.  You're pitching directly to the public, but the rules are about the same as pitching to agents.  There is a ton of information out there for developing a good pitch.  
Don't:
  • Make references to how famous you're going to be.
  • Include rave reviews that are really from your mom.
  • Include a "FAQ" section unless you really have been asked the same questions frequently.  Even then, limit it to questions like, "Where are your books available?"  I've seen several authors use the "FAQ" section to massage their egos.  One author included the question, "How do you think you wrote women?"  The author's answer?  "Good question; don't think I've done too badly.  What do you think?"  Truthfully, his portrayal of women ticked me off.
  • Others may disagree with me, but I hate it when authors compare their books to other bestsellers.  One author compared hers to a bestseller I felt was very weak.  Consequently, her book contained the exact same things that bothered me about the bestseller, plus a myriad of other problems.
  • Fluff your site with things that really don't matter.  We can tell if you're trying to make yourself look important.  
  • Never brag about your Amazon rankings.  Victoria Strauss points out that Amazon rankings are not a measure of success.  
I think most of the silly things on author websites stem from insecurities, egos, or both.  If you haven't got any credentials, impress us with your content.  That's the only way to snag and keep readers in a market flooded with half-hearted attempts at fiction.

**I need to note that I've reviewed several self-published books, but I've only posted one.  I sent my comments to the other authors via email because of major quality issues.  I no longer do that.  All reviews are now posted.

2 comments:

  1. Good tips! Especially on the cover art. There are far too many horrible examples that didn't invite me to read the book. But I'd add a couple more don'ts (mainly because someone just did these with a book I reviewed).

    Don't require the reviewer to submit the review to every site. I kind of felt like I was doing the author's promotion for him when he required (after I agreed to the review) that I post to my blog, Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. Five sites! I would have been fine with any two. But all five?

    Don't give yourself a five star review. That's just tacky.

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  2. Ack! You were doing the author's promotion for him! I've been fortunate. No one has asked me to do that.

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