Friday, April 15, 2011

The Golden Rule for Increased Book Sales


This week (3/15) Kristen Lamb had a great blog post http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/  asking, “Does Likeability Matter?” I think it does. When it comes to buying books do you tend to buy books from authors you like—personally? It doesn’t mean you have to really know them, or have met them in person. But in the world of social networking, authors have a presence and readers do feel they “know” them. They hear about authors who go ballistic and get nasty with a reviewer for giving them a bad review. They get rude with a reader or another author on Facebook or on a Forum, or behave less than stellar at a conference. Or maybe a reader has met the author at an event and was snubbed.

Would you buy a book from that author again? Even if you’ve loved previous books by that same author??? We all have bad days, and sometimes people not only pushed that damn button at the wrong time, for the eighth time this week but they twisted it too. And maybe your boss yelled at you, you got a flat tire, you burned your favorite blouse with the iron, and your son failed the math exam, whatever. The readers don’t know that, so when you snub, snap at someone, they remember. And maybe you lost a reader or two. If you did it online, maybe you lost several readers.


I think it does pay to follow the Golden Rule—Do unto other and all… When at conferences and on social media sites, I believe NICE DOES MATTER.

I was at a conference years ago and the lovely Sherrilyn Kenyon was the keynote. I was standing next to her in the lunch line and thought she didn’t look well, so I asked. She said she had a migraine. I asked why she didn’t go lie down, someone could bring her lunch. But she was doing the keynote during lunch and the book signing right after. She did an awesome job. At the signing, she greeted each reader with enthusiasm as if they were long, lost friends. And stood for photos too. Poor dear. Another author sitting nearby barely acknowledged the readers who held out books to sign. This author just signed them without looking up to smile and pushed the book aside. She didn’t talk to the readers and pose for photos either. These readers were her fans, spending $7 or $8 on a book. Who do you think will get repeat sales? Or word of mouth sales?

It doesn’t take much effort to be nice. When I was in high school, I was sent to a twirling camp. Don’t laugh. I was the captain of my baton twirling team and this was a week-long camp in the Poconos.

The cabin where I stayed was full of bunk beds, and high school aged girls from a number of states were there for the week of training. Many of these girls were hardcore competitors going to state and national competitions and the rest of us were from high school squads. I noticed one girl who looked a few years younger than most of us seemed pretty shy and wasn’t hanging around with anyone. The snobby “competitors” ignored her. They ignored me too because I was one of the high school lowlifes. So the first morning I asked the young girl if she wanted to go to breakfast with me. She did. I told her I’d never been to a camp like this before and was hoping to learn new things to teach my squad. I also said when I first arrived, I noticed someone twirling a fire baton! And I hoped I’d get a chance to try that.

After breakfast, there was a demonstration by some of the staff. It turned out the young girl was one of the instructors and a two-time NJ State Champion. Not only that, she was teaching the fire baton class. Not everyone was allowed to try it. Guess who was asked? I didn’t set anything (including me) on fire. Singed a few hairs on my arms. It was awesome fun!



It does pay to be nice on blogs, forums, social networks, at conferences and book signings. And it’s a bad idea to get on a nasty rant or in a pissing contest with someone. What goes around does come around, especially in cyberspace. It goes around and around forever.

Check out Kristin Lamb’s Blog http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/

And I have to recommend her book: We Are Not Alone For someone who isn’t all that computer savvy (me), this book helped me a lot with social networking. It’s very easy to follow. And it’s such a good feeling when you can figure things out on your own. If I have easy instructions, I can do it. This is easy instructions.

29 comments:

Mary Abshire said...

Kathy,
Good blog!!! I agree, it does pay to be nice. Being kind and respectful to others, even if we don't agree with them or get along with them, can go a long way. I do believe in karma, and sometimes she can be a nasty witch.

I agree, if someone isn't nice, I'm not going to want to hang around with them. And for an author to act in such a unfriendly way...yeah, that won't help sell books. I'd definitely stop buying from the author.

Niceness counts, always!

Mary Abshire
www.maryabshire.com

Rebecca said...

This is a great post- I really enjoyed it! And I totally agree that nice does count...

BTW- I love that you went to twirling camp in the Poconos. :)

Maeve said...

Excellent post! You're absolutely right about NICE DOES MATTER. I'm a big believer in the law of attraction too. You tend to receive whatever you send out. Send out snarls - and you're just liable to get bit - either figuratively, OR literally!

:-)

Margie said...

What a super "on target" post. I totally agree with your premise. I am also a realist and understand that authors are real people with real lives who have bad days and family hiccups just like all the rest of us do so I tend to give an author a pass on a misstep or two. But there is a limit. I think you have proposed a winning philosophy here. We owe you a big thank you.

PS: I am not so forgiving when politics comes up in these groups and blogs. Does not belong in a romance novel setting - too dividing. Romance novels bring together a group of people who enjoy the genre and like to share news and opinions on the subject. Don't ruin that with politics or other non-common aspects. Go to a political blog/group if you have something politcal to say. I think in this day and age half the prople will agree with your political position and half won't. Let's skip it and we will all be happy.

Margie

Ari Thatcher said...

What a great post! And I'm a bit jealous about the fire batons, even if it does make me think of Miss Congeniality. I'll check out Karen's book. I am comfortable with technology but have trouble finding balance.

Karen Katchur said...

great blog, Kath! ;-) I think we went to the same camp! I'm going to get Kristin Lamb's book. Hope it can help with the tech side of things. thanks!

Jordan K Rose said...

Hey Kathy. Nice post. It's funny to me that any, writers, readers, editors or agents forget what we all know their moms taught them. If I heard it once, I heard it a million times. "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

And although that doesn't always work in life, we have to remember delivery- tone, physical presence, knowing our audience. In the writing business there are often times so many negatives that have to be said.- Rejections happen. A lot. It's always about the how and not so much about the what.

Your post is a great reminder of this. Thanks for sharing. Jordan

www.jordankrose.com

Kelli Scott said...

I'm super shy, dreading the day I might have to do a book signing. Sometimes I think the cold shoulder is a defense against being out of your element. I watch my husband work a crowd and I'm in awe.

But it's true, I went to a multi author signing one time and one of the lesser known (to me) authors engaged me in conversation. I bought her book. A better known author kind of gave me the cold shoulder. I did not buy her book.

Shawn said...

Very true. I find rude/mean people hard to tolerate. It amazes me that some people go out of their way to be nasty.

Cris Anson said...

Kathy practices what she preaches. She's one of the nicest, kindest people I know.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Mary, I believe Karma does balance things out in the end too. Thanks for your thoughts.

Kathy Kulig said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the post Rebecca. Nice does count. And I was surprised I remembered the twirling camp. LOL

Kathy Kulig said...

Maeve, I like you're way of thinking. Not easy to be positive all the time, but I think it helps when you can send out good thoughts. People like being around positive people too.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Ari, LOL. God, that was so long ago. I probably would set myself on fire now. LOL. Kristen's book is good.

Hey Karen, Thanks. After so many years, my step-dad pointed out the camp one day to me. It's off 209. I had no idea I'd been passing it and not realizing that's where I went.

Kathy Kulig said...

Thanks Jordan, Yep, we need to remind ourselves that mom was right.

Kelli, I hear you. I recently took a class called, "Act Like a Writer". It was taught by Jonathan Maberry(NYT author) and Keith Strunk(author & actor). They taught us acting techniques on how to better communicate at conferences, during pitches, giving workshops, etc. Many of us in the workshop (including me) were very shy. It was painful but excellent. A lot of it has to do with practice, gaining confidence, and pushing yourself to DO it. I did and was surprised how much better I feel about interacting with people. You can too.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Shawn, That's sad and true. Life is too short.

Kathy Kulig said...

Cris, You're such a sweetheart. Thank you so much. You are too, lady.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Margie, And thank you. People do have bad days and I try to give them a break but after a few times, you give up on them. Politics is a topic I don't like getting into. There are always more than one side and arguments are bound to start.

alexcannonwrites said...

What a perfect post. How true it is that sometimes the things that cost us the least are the hardest for us to do.

Jenni Holbrook-Talty said...

Growing up my father had two basic rules he drilled into us. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and don't screw your neighbor.

You're right, it doesn't take much to be nice and nice goes a long way. But even more than being nice, be real. That is another big thing with me when it comes to dealing with people. Yes, we all have our public personas being authentic is important. Nothing worse than finding out someone isn't really who they say they are.

amyshojai.com said...

Kathi, love the post. I was one of the "outsiders" in HS too and I had a similar experience with being nice mattered. As writers I think we all twirl our own brand of burning batons and it's easy to get singed. On FB recently I watched a best selling writer (love his books!) go "off" on a reader/poster who didn't agree with an opinion and...I gotta say, I'm not inclined to buy further books. He came back later and apologized but damage was done.

The other extreme, at a conference I forgot and left my books at home and missed getting Tess Gerritsen to sign...grrr! She found out and BROUGHT me an autographed bookmark. Classy lady, fantastic writer, and someone you LIKE.

Oh, and I just LOVE your pix of the puppy & fawn, and may need to swipe for my pet blog. *s*

writerwellness said...

Great post, Kathi. Nobody does social media advice like Kristen Lamb. Get her book!
Joy Held
Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Creativity

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Alex, Sometimes we get overwhelmed with obligations and forget the basics.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Jenni, I love your Dad's advice. LOL. And being authentic comes with honesty. Great thoughts. You can be nice if you're having a bad day. But it's best to be yourself. A fake will turn people cold too.

Kathy Kulig said...

Thanks Amy, very sweet of Tess G. to do that. Bet you'll buy more of her books too. Swipe away on the photo. :)

Hi Joy, Thanks for stopping by. Yes, Kristen knows her stuff.

Donna Coe-Velleman said...

Nice post, Kathy. It's so true.

I think I need to take that class "Act like a Writer". I'm terrible when it comes to interacting with a group of people. I just clam up which doesn't help at conferences.

I also met Sherrilyn Kenyon once at a book signing. She was so nice to everyone that I told all my friends about her.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Donna, yes, that was a great class, especially for us introverts. I won't ever do a pitch with note cards again. :) Practice, practice, practice. He wouldn't let us use note cards and we had to do it in front of a camera. Ack! Learned a lot tho.

Nina Pierce said...

It always amazes me when I meet mean people. It takes so much energy to be angry and I don't even know how they remember why they're angry with someone.

I know sometimes people are shy and that can come across as cold. I try to keep that in mind when I meet new authors.

Of course that's not me, I'm an extrovert with a capital E! I love people. I always warn people to step away from the moving mouth for their own safety. ;)

Great post.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hey Nina, I'm the shy one and hope I don't seem cold to people but I'm getting better. I can get chatty now. Love the moving mouth line. LOL