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.