On this blog I’ve mediated a lot on the nature of friendship and also described the shortcomings of being an expat in a constantly shifting community. Becoming a self published author has ratcheted up the nature of this long standing inquiry towards larger questions about the nature of friendships in the 21st century. Friendships that make up networks which are supposed to be the backbone of a distribution channel. If people mystified me before I started publishing ebooks, I’m out and out stumped now. I”ll give you three case studies as to why.
In the nearly two years since I’ve been a blog tour host, I’ve never won the traffic breaker poll. To win, a blogger has to get people over to a poll to click their blog name. That’s all. There’s no merit involved. The average winner has 100 votes. The most I’ve ever had is 3. According to my network stats, the goal of 100 should be fairly easy to reach as this is about 1% of my “friends” on Facebook.
During a Skype chat, my mother admitted she hadn’t yet liked my Amazon.com page for a newly released title. My own mother. No wonder the goal of getting to 50 likes on Amazon was a monumental task, even for someone with a newsletter distribution of 75 people.
Perhaps you’re not that compelling, you’re thinking and it’s an idea that has occurred to me as well. Imagine our surprise when our son was a finalist for a “Beautiful Baby” contest sponsored by a photo studio. Here surely was a cause that our friends and family would rally around. Well, he has yet to break 100 and the winner has nearly 400 votes. And yes, someone in our family went to the voting page and actually like another baby. (Voting is open until the 25th, so give the kid in the blue a like).
As someone who has funded friends to walk/run marathons, produce their own music, or live their dream at a certain moment, imagine my surprise when at least these same people didn’t join a Kickstarter campaign to fund a pilot for a TV show I was working on. I didn’t want to push, since of all the examples, this is the one that is tied to money. But the mailing list of another Kickstarter campaign sent me weekly updates on their fundraising. Updates that included a “we did it.” Sadly, my campaign could not say the same.
So what is it? What is that the others who are getting the likes, winning the traffic break, the mamma whose kid has 400 fans, what are they doing I’m not? I don’t quite know but I do know that the answer will be important to me as I continue to write, market, and promote my work. There are dozens of articles telling us not to spam people with our links or requests. But how else to explain the phenomena of in a world of online voting?
The last two activities are the ones that make me cringe. Self promotion has never come easy. After all work should speak for itself. Apparently not in the era of social media. Relentless self promotion is how to mobilize. Perhaps irritating someone is better than people not knowing that a contest is even happening (as two of my friends professed on the baby contest at lunch this weekend). What do you think? What makes you give a click? Where is the line between friendship and support?
One thing is certain: indie authors rely on the kindness of strangers who often become friends. I’m hosting Michelle Cornwell-Jordan today and her cover reveal for Night School for this very reason (and why I have the Writer’s Studio). Michelle’s solo debut YA title Night School: Vampire Hunter Bk.1 (Angel) releases March 31st 2012. The first in a trilogy, Night School mixes a little of Michelle’s favorite obsessions: Twilight versus Buffy the Vampire Slayer! (Amazon,BN.com, Smashwords &Goodreads). Read more about the heroine Dasheen and Michelle’s work below.
Dasheen Bellamy has lost everything. Now with just her brother, they enter Ame Academy. Soon her only family is threatened… That’s unacceptable… Dasheen enters Night School…where the monsters play…. Angel is born… She is a Vampire Hunter and also…Angel is like any other kid…except the monsters are afraid of her…
Michelle is a book lover, with YA paranormal adventures as her favorite genre, although she can be a glutton for any young adult title. Michelle’s other love is writing, Michelle has been writing about as long as she has been a bibliophile! Losing herself in a fantasy world that she or others have created is how she loves spending her spare time. Along with author Danny Jones, Michelle Cornwell-Jordan completed, a YA paranormal called Reahket, which is available on Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, Smashwords and Goodreads.