Friends who love what I write and personally comment
A few who genuinely appreciate
A group of Grammar Nazis ( A few who care to correct, and many who would love to grammar shame the other/ who think it gives them a crown)
A few readers who don’t read but love to buy/borrow/take books and post pictures of the book online calling it bookstagram
A few who claim that reading is like breathing, they can’t live without books, etc..
One category that pisses me off — the wannabe writers/authors!
According to me, a writer should first give REASONS to buy their book, not JUST gift cards or money.
I read because I seek information, it takes me off from the real-life troubles; I like to improve my skills and vocabulary, it improves my imagination/creativity, etc..
I don’t buy a book because it is free of cost, or because I know the author (sometimes, yes, if I am aware that he/she is a good writer)
I don’t want to read or rather, I don’t want anyone to read a bad book or a poorly written book. I don’t want a book that would drag my knowledge down. A few wannabe writers only want fame, they write some bad college-hookup story, a boy meet girl – girl meet boy story with poor words and bad grammar.
I focus on being a trusted writer. I write micro-tales, short stories, thoughts, blog posts, etc.. eventually, even if people don’t read my book per se, they at least get to know and trust me as an author.
Let me give a sample messenger ping from an author I know — “Grab a copy of my book that’s on Amazon, the book is only 225 INR, and you know what? Am giving you a gift voucher worth 200 INR, you’re spending only 25 INR. Buy Now!” — I find this crazy, how can I buy a book just because it is just 25 INR? I’d be spending at least 3-4 hours reading it, is my time worth just 25 INR? No!
How about writing a good book, interacting with the writers/authors/readers with the genre, plot line, a few quotes from the book and asking them to politely choose the book if they are interested? Why don’t you hook me as a reader with what the book has in store for me?
I find it funny when the authors post their Amazon link and say “Grab a copy,” “Irresistible offer,” “Just buy now!” etc.. It sounds like a person who wants to get married yelling “Am good at sex, marry me!” , “Am an excellent lover, fix the marriage date,” — Insane, I tell you!
No offense my wannabe authors – but, please, focus on becoming a good writer than a famous author. Focus on genuine reviews and interacting with readers than paying 500 INR for each fake review, the minute you say 400+ 5 star reviews on Goodreads – we know it all! Be an author who has a story to tell and not someone who has 20,000 INR to get fake reviews. Be genuine, you’re not fooling the readers, you’re fooling yourself. Give gift vouchers, market your book as much as you can, bring the word out, etc.. but be genuine. Give your readers a reason to read, then provide them with a gift card, will you?
Writers/Authors — Work on your skills, improve your grammar, read more books, learn new words and how to use them, interact with readers, write a good story — the book will sell well. It will take time, years together. But, as I always say, the view from the summit is damn worth it!
P.S – Sorry that I used this title and image. I would like this post to be read by many wannabe writers, authors, readers, book reviewers, etc.. to change their notion a bit.
This was the recent conversation with someone, questions against answers from the chat below:
So are you a writer? – Yes, I have published a novel a few months ago
Wow! Great, which country you belong to? – India
Indian author? Okay, how is your book doing? – Just paid XXXXX to my book marketing team. Waiting for something good to happen.
XXXXX – oh my freaking goddamn loser! – Whatttt, why??
Can you just send me the so called book-marketing-strategy to me? – Yes
Let’s take the so called strategy one by one!
Create posters from your novel and swirl it (read flaunt it) over Facebook at various groups where 1 lakh users are there and we tweet it to 1 lakh followers
Facebook groups – are created free of cost and you use twitter free of cost. Have you clicked any of the Facebook group and have witnessed a post by some random literary services company that has post likes, comments, and shares of over a 1000 so far? Even if it is so – are you sane to think it’s true? Do you think with these frigging posters, mankind would go gaga over your book, buy a thousand copies and make you world famous or the next Chetan Bhagat?
How do I create posters? – Dude, even if you don’t know coreldraw and photoshop, MS Paint is freaking easy to use. All that it takes is good content – meaning a catchy phrase or a dialogue to attract not a glamourous image unless it is Kim Kardashian, none would click open. Sit, read your manuscript, pick the catchy phrases and design posters by yourself. Or, get in touch with one of your friends. Am sure every circle will have a good designer friend who will design not for money, but for you and trust me, it would look much better than any of those XXXX amount you paid.
Every post of my book “I don’t wear sunscreen” were created by me, and my brother. I didn’t spend a penny, sample below:
Book reviews – 30+ Bloggers would review your book on their sites
This is the most freaking part ever. Author pays 500 INR (minimum) to the intermediate who calls themselves as a literary servicing agent. Say, you pay 5000 INR (minimum again) to get 10 paid reviews. All that the “Literary-Service-Agent” does is to post a status that there’s a free book for reviewing which bloggers ask for, and reviews the book for free because the book reviewers are book freaks in the most cases who don’t ask for money or get paid pretty lesser than what the intermediate makes for sure.
Do you get it? You are not paying for the book reviews, you are paying for that one status message. And it costs you XXXX amount.
Most book reviews of my book are from readers, and I personally sent to a few reviewers whom I followed (Stalked) their reviews which are brutally honest and worthy enough. I spent for the courier, and a few were cool enough to take the eBook in exchange for an honest review which worked wonders. Paying for good reviews – I see it is in a worth, but what’s the point in paying those frigging literary service money gobblers?
There are umpteen book writers, readers, reviewers pages and groups on Facebook, but not all those in the groups would be interested in your book. I have witnessed posts by those servicing agents which had 0 likes.
When these intermediate money consumers ping me for book reviews, I ask for money up front. I don’t do this for money, but, hey! Someone else is making money doing NOTHING. An author spends almost a year, and money on publishing a book. A reviewer spends enough time reading and reviewing a book, and all that the intermediate does is to pass on the message, courier the book and make money out of it.
Giveaways: – Next big scam
I personally believed that book reviews of those who don’t know you work much better and did a Goodreads giveaway. I had to courier my books to the selected folks, and hosting the giveaway is FREE of cost. Please go through about the free book marketing strategies. Stop paying 5000 INR for a Goodreads giveaway which you can do all by yourself.
You pay 500 INR for an Author Interview. Trust me, no-one will click open and read your interview to know whether you like tea or coffee, whether you read Paulo or James Patterson. For the sake of sympathy you might gain a few likes but no-one will read. Stop paying for it, go ahead if it is free because you as an author will definitely have a good base of friends on your list and by sharing that interview on your timeline, you are helping the other blog to gain a few followers.
If you can put a few pictures, make good posters and create a book trailer, please do! Else, you can pay esteemed video makers who are indeed costly, but are worth it. Please do not pay for immature videos churned using an online free link. Professional Book Trailers are different, below is one of my favorites.
Events – Book signing or Book reading or Book launch
I am sure these events are costly and would cost you a few bucks. But, with a few posters stating that QWERTY literary services are launching it, you will actually be paying double the cost. If you can inquire a nice mini-hall for a high tea session, invite your friends over and share across social networks, and have an engaging talk. That would do. Don’t pay 2*XXXXX the amount for nothing.
Offline book distribution
This is something as an author, you might not have control over. This is a good option, if the distribution takes your book to places. But, keep in mind, how many actually walk into a bookstore – see your cover – read the blurb of the book – buy it? Please be prepared to get all the copies or lesser by 10 utmost back in a year’s time. You would be paying as much as a lakh for this, please be prepared!
Again, this blog of mine is all set to turn a website if I pay 18$ for the domain and spend a few hours on tweaking it properly. The domain name would cost me 1000 INR per year, if the QWERTY literary service does this, they would ask you for about 15000-25000 INR based on the features and stuff. Even if you’re not taking a pre-existing theme, and go for a proper HTML/CSS coding website, it would cost not more than 5000 INR. Ask me, I can refer some ace website developers. Don’t spend 5 times the money on cheap site creators.
Something out of your control again, give it a try with friends and families if they know any friend working for newspapers and media. If yes, go for it. Else, you can ask a PR agency for the same. The QWERTY literary services would ask half a lakh to post your interview on papers which mostly are used on the roadside Bajji wala shop. 50,000 INR for oil dripping newspaper interview? Depends, if QWERTY gets you to an ace newspaper like the Hindu, New Indian Express, Deccan chronicles then it might be worthy. Not the next street walk, area talk, etc..
I hired a PR agency and took their services which was satisfactory enough, here is my interview. (I know the picture is very bad, I look better in person) I paid lesser than what QWERTY would ask for.
If you directly pay for these Ads, you would be paying less. Ads in the sense, the Facebook ads, ads on Youtube that one can skip in 5 secs, Google ads, etc..
These are the services that I crossed and laugh over, I don’t remember the rest.
A few points to ponder:
A parent would probably take better care of the toddler than any babysitter. Work on your book promotions by yourself. If you feel ashamed, take help from friends who care about you. Ask suggestions!
Promote reading, promote your writing skills – make people think this person writes well
Don’t spend your hard earned money on QWERTY literary services and crib over wasting money
Interact with people, Interact with authors, get to understand what they went through and choose wisely
Last but not the least – A well-marketed cheap work can be sold only ONCE
A very good book with less marketing – will sell better any day just by word of mouth
Promote yourself as a good writer with your posts, stories or poems, one-liners, quotes. Stand tall as a good writer with good story, language, grammar, vocabulary, diction, etc.. Don’t publish your first draft and spend on your marketing but do the vice versa. Only good books win, only good authors make it big and others drown with a book or two.
*QWERTY Literary services is an imaginary term used
*Not to hurt anyone, but to help my fellow Indian authors from falling into a trap and spending money
What’s worth spending for?
There are really worthy authors and reviewers groups, where we exchange book reviews, blog tours are hosted with services that are the best in this industry at a much affordable cost.
Edit your book – spend on it more than marketing. A well-editing book is worth marketing for. I have thrown a few books that were sent for reviews because I didn’t want to dump myself with bad grammar as mine is equally bad for that sake.
P.S – I am not trying to stop you from paying QWERTY Literary Services, but since I have made good friends online with whom when I personally chat or talk and tell them about these details they exclaim “OMG! Kavi, wish I’d know this before” or “OMG! Why didn’t you tell me all this before?” This is just for you folks out there who are not my friend yet, or probably would never be, but if this post makes you think once before paying a huge sum. I WIN, Good day folks!