I read an article the other day telling writers they should be connecting with readers online instead of other writers. He gave a few suggestions like going on Goodreads, following people who read the same sort of book you wrote, leaving comments on their reviews or joining the same groups and responding to the same discussions they do.
Is this what online promotion has come to? Authors stalking readers like prey? Many readers do like to interact with authors, and perhaps they would be flattered if it were an author they knew, but an unknown author trying to connect with an unknown reader seems tacky at best. I know I would hate it if I found myself in some author’s sights, and I can’t imagine I’m the only one who would.
I am not a reader who likes to connect with authors. (Though I love when readers connect with me!) To me, a book exists separate from its creator, a thing in and of itself. In fact, once I started coming in contact with writers, especially writers whose book I have read, I lost all interest in reading. It made me more cognizant of the person behind the story, and made the book much less personal.
I do have a group for connecting with readers on Facebook, the Genre Book Club, but most of the people who participate are authors in search of readers. The main problem is that I don’t seem to be able to get people to discuss the books they read. Everyone has different tastes, and few of the participants read the same books.
It is a conundrum, this online promotion. I do realize that connecting with other writers is not the way to sell a ton of books, but writers send me a lot more invitations to connect than readers do, and after all, many of us writers started out as readers.
The article also suggested attracting readers by blogging about the subject matter of your books. I do this, of course, when it comes to grief, but I said all I want to say about conspiracy theories, government intervention in our lives, and the scary possibility of an unstoppable epidemic in my novels. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life talking about such matters. The books were a way of my putting an end to those topics of research, and to keep them in the forefront of my mind and this blog would be appallingly boring. (For me, anyway.)
Still, this blog is a way of connecting with people, not as stalker and prey, but simply as two individuals who happen to be in the same place at the same time and like what each other has to say. And that’s more important than running after readers in the hopes they will buy my books.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.