Connections and Relationships Sell Books

Reflective Robin - Guenette photo

Coffee in hand, I make my way out to the deck and sip as I watch the mist lift slowly off the lake. Sunday morning and I’m feeling reflective. My office space is crowded with boxes of softcover books. Hopefully, at least half will find their way to store shelves and into people’s hands in short order.

I randomly grabbed a few copies of Chasing Down the Night from within the boxes for a quality control test. As I flipped through to ensure all was where it should be, I decided to read the last couple of pages. I was brought to tears. Oh, what a feeling. You may say I lack objectivity but you must read yourself to be sure.

Chasing Down the Night was released as an e-book on April 28th. It had a bigger bump in the Amazon world than my other releases and I worked that as hard as I was able over various social media channels. But like most bumps – it soon became a recurring blip and I have been taking a rest the last couple of days.

Daily itinerary – coffee, smattering of social media activity, go for a walk, knit a few rows of these wildly coloured cabin sweaters I am making for my granddaughters, read a couple of chapters of someone else’s book – repeat.

A chance to be reflective leads me to reiterate, for myself as much as I wish to share with others, my book promotion policy. If I genuinely connect with the right readers, they will buy my book. The choice to pop over to Amazon (or Nook, or Kobo, or iTunes) and download my book is because you and I have developed some type of relationship. You came to my blog or saw me featured on another blog, we interacted, you followed me on Facebook and liked the eclectic mix of things I tossed up there, we interchanged tweets out in the twitter-sphere or you scrolled down my list of tweets and got a laugh. There was some personal connection that tweaked your interest. Or one of the above happened to a friend of yours and this friend told you about me.

My books on the shelf at Overwaitea, Pt. HardyIf you walk into a local store and see my book on the shelf, perhaps the cover will grab you and you’ll flip it over and read the back. Maybe you’ll be hooked without ever having heard of me. It’s not unheard of in the world of paper and ink books. More likely, you’ll see the book and think of some type of connection you and I have had. It might be as simple as recalling that I’m a local author.

There are no shortcuts, no tricks to cheat Amazon algorithms, no magic solution to be found in the words of slick promoters who sell the self-published author’s latest version of bottled snake oil and no one size fits all way to get onto the shelves of real stores.

So followers, this is me connecting with you. I stare at the lake that stretches beyond the confines of my little cabin in the woods and send words out that might bind you to me. It’s like an incantation – though don’t let that concern you. It’s much less double, double, toil and trouble than Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come. I wish to make you curious enough about me that you might like to read one of my books.

But really, it’s all just throwing pebbles into a wide pond. I’m not about creating a tidal wave. Just ripples extending out and out. And lest I despair of the seemingly small nature of such tossing, I consider the words of Blaise Pascal:

The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.

Ocean waves - Bruce Witzel photo

16 comments on “Connections and Relationships Sell Books

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Always interested to hear your thoughts on selling Francis, as someone who can’t be bothered much. But hey, the corner shop around the corner from me just sold a couple of copies of ‘Tess’ 🙂

    • Nothing like knowing a copy of your book had the cash register around the corner going cha-ching 🙂 Now I wonder if that buyer said to him or herself, “Hey, I know Roy. I’ve been meaning to check out what a guy like him would write about.” Or maybe it was something like, “Gotta fill the time on the boat with something.” We never know, right?

  2. In life, there are never shortcuts to success. Wishing you the best on your latest release, Fran.

  3. MariHoward says:

    I love connecting with people. I don’t like connecting with Amazon much – let’s hope my people-connections will make their own way over to Amazon! Quote of the day, ‘It is more effective to spend 10 mins brushing your cat than to spend 40 minutes hunting down how to edit your book description on Amazon…’

    • Lucky for your cat that Amazon can be a tad confusing 🙂 I hear you on the frustration. With every new release, I keep hoping I won’t miss anything or want to make changes later because it really turns into one big hassle. Best of luck.

      • Sign into Kindle Direct Publishing. Once at your bookshelf page, find book in question and click on edit details – it’s in the little box under book actions to the right of your book cover. Once in there, you should be able to scroll down until you come to book description and make your changes. Best of luck!

        • MariHoward says:

          Ah! Amazon has so many sections:had not thought of signing into the actual Kindle bit …however, will that leave the p/back version with the old description, or are Amazon clever enough to change both???? I shall try, whatever: most people seem to bebuying the Kindle version at present.

  4. Shelley says:

    Found your blog via Jill. Have added your book to my reading list. After all I live on Vancouver Island.

  5. Gwen Stephens says:

    The internet and social networking platforms have brought the world together, and it’s really mind-blowing when you think about it for a spell. We’re able to connect with folks all over the world in the blink of an eye. I think these personal connections that you so eloquently write about here are key. They help build careers, but they also mean a lot to the consumer.

    Here’s an example: my kids watch a long-running TV show called Supernatural. From my adult perspective, it’s kind of silly and cheesy, but then, I’m not a member of the target audience. Of course the show’s principle actors are heavily involved in various social media platforms. My girls follow them on Twitter, and they subscribe to a series of silly cooking videos one of the actors makes with his kids on YouTube. These videos are totally unrelated to the show, but it gives the viewing audience another way to connect with him. Recently, one of my girls tweeted that he should make more of these videos, because she enjoys them so much. Within a couple of minutes he replied to her tweet, and informed her that a new series of videos are currently in production. She was over the moon! He replied directly to her — how cool is that. All I could do was marvel at this personal connection, and how years ago this never would have been possible.

    Keep doing what you do, Fran. The connection goes both ways 🙂

    • Love this story of your daughter getting a personal tweet from a fave TV star. When my son was a teenager (he was a huge fan of horror stories) my mom wrote to the author Clive Barker with a special request that he send her an autographed photo that she could iron onto a T-shirt for her grandson. He did! And included with the photo was a handwritten personal letter to my son. Talk about over the moon. Things have changed and this new way of communicating makes it possible to have a wider and more instantaneous reach but things like the personal touch, no matter how it is delivered always makes a difference. Thanks so much for affirming connection, Gwen.

  6. True–it really is all about relationships.

    (I’m a knitter, too! –although a sporadic one; I have too many hobbies!)

    • I have come back to knitting at certain times over my life like rediscovering an old friend. I find it a very comforting activity. Thanks so much for stopping by and connecting 🙂

  7. Woo hoo! It’s now available in paperback! I just ordered it!

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