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Authors Are A**Holes

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Oh, relax. I'm an author, and I adore authors. Most authors aren't a**holes. Really, only a few are, and I suppose it depends on one's definition. I'm usually pretty nice, with only the occasional bossy rant.

Rumor has it that Hemingway was an a**hole. So was H.P. Lovecraft. Orson Scott Card, J.D. Salinger, Jonathan Franzen. And just so the women are represented, Sue Grafton and Jodi Picoult have dug some pretty deep holes for themselves in recent years.

As a tongue in cheek take off on brilliant Huffington Post parenting blogger Sarah Fader's "Three Year Olds Are A**Holes," you'll see that there's some definite humor in this article. Helping authors is a topic close to my heart because I work really, really hard on marketing my own books, and pass along tons of free information to help others because that's how I give back.

I do hear a lot of whining, though. Many times, authors are overwhelmed by the sheer volume and learning curve of book marketing. As an author of three bestselling books, and an author marketing consultant, I finally just couldn't take it anymore -- the whiny, "I've done everything and can't sell any books" negativity I hear daily on social media. No way, they haven't. I'm sorry, but nope. Not possible. When someone tells me they've "tried it all," I rarely believe them because most people just don't know what "everything" is! It's taken me years to try and learn, to fail miserably and succeed to a degree (whatever that means).

This book marketing is what I do for a living -- for myself, for my clients. And new tools come out almost daily, so doing everything and finding it all unsuccessful is well, BS. Sure, we all have bad days. I get it. I do, too. Being an author is hard work, regardless of how one is published. So, what to do? Stop being an a**hole, and get to work!

Taken from my rare rant on my personal Facebook. (Warning: a few choice curse words ahead so bail now if that offends you.) Buckle up:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: ONE thing will not sell your books. It's a combo of:

-- a spectacular book (professionally edited, formatted, designed, proofed)
-- reviews (minimum 25) within the first few weeks
-- beta or ARC readers before you release
-- an optimized website (professional graphics, social media icons, key wording, HTML, CSS for faster loading, etc... all to increase your SEO). Not sure what it means? Look it up.
-- an active blog (once weekly minimum)
-- a book trailer (share on your own site, social media and YouTube)
-- participate in memes like‪ #‎MondayBlogs‬ or chats -- meet cool peeps, learn, promote others
-- interactive social media (not spammy) at minimum Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (important for your Google ranking) following readers, book bloggers, book reviewers, book clubs
-- groups (important to establish connections with peers) Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+
-- an eBook version (duh) Don't care if you hate eBooks. What do your readers want?
-- a virtual blog tour (won't sell books. DOES increase visibility, SEO, reviews, connections with readers and bloggers, and Google Ranking)
-- Google AdWords (get advice on how to do it correctly, study and research, or pay someone to do it for you), or FB or Goodreads or blogger ads. Something!
-- book clubs
-- book signings
-- swag (bookmarks, pens, postcards, etc)
-- guest blog guest blog guest blog (and not only about your book and how wonderful your toenails are)
-- interviews (give and do for others)
-- don't argue with reviewers (from The Author CEO Naomi Blackburn)
-- giveaways, promotions, etc.
-- email newsletter (aka, email marketing)
-- Give back, for fuck's sake. Stop talking about yourself all the damn time.

Bitch and moan that you've done EVERYTHING (bet you haven't), and still haven't sold any books. I don't believe you. Sorry.

When you've done ALL of the above in great detail, and I mean everything with a concentrated effort and still haven't sold any books, then guess what? Maybe you need to rewrite your book, or write another.

It typically takes FIVE books to start making a living on your work. FIVE. (Says who? Almost every writer who is making a living on their books --Steena Holmes, Bette Lee Crosby, Ryne Pearson, Liz Schulte, Hugh Howey, and on it goes).

Bottom line: Focus on building relationships, people. It's not all about you!

So stop with the whining about how Amazon sucks or blah blah doesn't work (nothing is magical), pull up your big girl and big boy pants, and spend that effort writing your next blog post, book or tweet. Or yell at me for bitching at you. I don't care. I can handle it. I'm used to it!

Besides, I won't be here. I'll be writing my next book TOUGH LOVE FOR WHINY WRITERS. Ha.