Thursday, August 4, 2011

When a recommendation is not a recommendation

I'm the first to admit the nuances to technology escape me most of the time. When I was a kid there was no Internet, no computers. "Television" meant a huge black and white TV set with rabbit ear antennae sticking out of the top which received three stations. Four, if you counted PBS. Five, if you wanted to watch Channel Nine out of Manchester, NH, which came in as mostly snow.

The point is, while I'm as up on technology as a fifty-one year old man with little interest in tech stuff can be, a lot of the rules of the road associated with that tech stuff mystify me.

Case in point: Like most authors, I'm constantly looking for ways to promote my work. I thought I had stumbled upon one when I discovered the "Recommendations" section in Goodreads. If you're not familiar with it, that's where readers can go to post genres or other information they are looking for from potential books, and other Goodreads members can suggest books fitting their requirements.

Perfect! I figured I could network with readers looking for the things I write about, and respectfully suggest my book to those readers. Which I did. To probably a dozen or so readers, before being informed that what I was doing was highly inappropriate and could result in me being banned from Goodreads.


If you know me, you know self-promotion doesn't come easy to me under any circumstances. If I had my way, I wouldn't do any of it. The last thing I want to do is be known as someone who tries to skirt the rules. I looked at the Goodreads thing as an opportunity to connect with people looking for what I was offering. I didn't mass-email anyone, I personalized every contact I made, and I only contacted people interested in thrillers who were looking for a new book to read.

Obviously, I won't be doing that any more, although it still seems to make sense. Supply and demand, and all that.

I've always felt that if you didn't make a few mistakes every now and then you weren't trying hard enough, and it was an honest mistake, so it doesn't really bother me that much, but to everyone I contacted on Goodreads who was seeking a thriller recommendation, I apologize, although most of them didn't seem to mind.

So now I'm back to trying to think of ways to get my book in front of motivated readers' eyes. Anyone have any ideas? I'm open to suggestions...


Dani said...

Social networking!

Not only did I review on Amazon and B&N, I also posted on my blog, on facebook and on google+. I don't have twitter.

Hopefully that gets your story "out there". And don't be shy to ask your friends to read your work and then recommend if they like it. People naturally want to support a friend. Plus we can brag we know the author once you are famous. :)

Al Leverone said...

Thanks, Dani, for your optimism, although I'm not sure any of us are going to live that long!

Rachel Cotterill said...

There are some groups on Goodreads which openly welcome authors - most groups I'm involved in have a section specifically for authors to promote their work.

One group I'm in also will make sure members post reviews if an author donates a book. The group started with hard-copy books being posted between readers in US/Canada, but now also welcomes ebook codes. if you're interested, tell Naomi I sent you ;)

Al Leverone said...

Hi Rachel, thanks very much for the info; I'm absolutely interested!

pixymagic said...

Nice man. Extremely informative post. I'll be sure to pass this along to my friends.
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