Friday, November 11, 2011
No Rules: ALLAN LEVERONE
ALLAN LEVERONE is the author of the thrillers THE LONELY MILE, THE FINAL VECTOR, POSTCARDS FROM THE APOCALYPSE and DARKNESS FALLS. In a very short period of time, he has carved out a place for himself in the crowded world of thriller writers. How has he done this? By being DAMN GOOD, that's how. Reviewers have compared him to the likes of Michael Crichton or Robert Ludlum, and there's some validity to those statements-- but frankly, I think Leverone is a more solid writer than either of them. If there was any justice in the world (and there's not, I checked) the name Allan Leverone would be just as huge as the icons of thriller writing he's compared to.
I am proud to introduce you to my friend, the terrifically talented ALLAN LEVERONE, addressing a tricky issue that every writer struggles with these days...
We’ve established what you are, now we’re just haggling over the price
I want you to buy my book. Let’s get that out in the open right off the bat. And not to generalize, but I think that’s the case for most authors, too. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they just keep a journal?
If you can accept that I want you to buy my book, just as Heath Lowrance wants you to buy his (and you really should; it’s unbelievably good), and Charlie Stella wants you to buys his, and so on, the question becomes, “What’s the right way to try to convince you to do it?”
Here’s where it gets sticky. One of the many many MANY things I’ve learned since publication of my first book is that there are almost as many opinions regarding authors marketing and promoting their work as there are authors. Some look upon any attempt by an author to market his work with a disdain bordering on contempt; others seem to believe a strategy of promotional carpet-bombing is something worth attempting.
So, what’s the proper course of action? How much promoting should I do? Should I remain virginally pure? Or should I strut my stuff on the nearest street corner, decked out in hot pants and fishnets? And don’t worry, I’m not speaking literally; it’s too late for the first option and I wouldn’t inflict the second on my worst enemy.
I wish I knew the answer.
I can tell you this, and if I had to hazard a guess—based entirely on unscientific observation—I would say the vast majority of authors would agree with me: Promoting myself is not something that’s comfortable for me or that I enjoy doing in any significant way.
Don’t misunderstand. This is not to imply I don’t enjoy social media (I do), or that I don’t enjoy interacting with readers, especially readers of genre fiction, and other authors (I do). What I mean is I didn’t begin writing fiction seriously five years ago with the goal of pimping out myself or my work.
I’ve never been an attention-seeker, either in my second job (also known as The One That Pays The Bills) as an air traffic controller, or in my personal life. In virtually every case, I’m more than happy to stay in the background and let others enjoy the spotlight. I take to photographs like vampires take to sunlight (traditional vampires, that is, not vampires of the more recent sparkly vintage).
The problem, of course, is that for a largely unknown author to stand in the background means his work will be relegated to the background as well. And as I’ve already mentioned, I want you to buy my book. So I’ve tried a number of different strategies to bring a little attention to my work.
I’ve asked (okay, begged, I’m not too proud to admit it) more well-known authors to blurb my work. To my astonishment, some did, for which I will be forever grateful. I believe their quotes have helped give my work some legitimacy, but as far as affecting sales, I’m not convinced there has been any correlation.
I’ve done blog tours. They were a lot of work, but also a lot of fun, and I’ll probably continue to do them to promote my work. But did they affect sales? I don’t believe they did in any significant way, although if an author believes in his work, he also believes that readers introduced to that work through a blog tour will be more likely to check out his next book when the time comes.
I’ve sent my books out for review, devoting hours upon hours to giving away copy after copy in an attempt to generate some buzz. The resulting reviews have been almost unanimously good, but how many readers buy a book based on reviews? You’re not sure? Me neither.
I’ve joined Twitter and have been Facebooking for quite a while now, and I try not to overwhelm people with news about my books via those outlets because, let’s face it, constant promotion gets old after a while, especially when it’s the same people reading the same promotional messages over and over.
I’ve tried buying Facebook ads, I’ve tried promoting through various sites for various amounts of money, with varying levels of success. A Kindle Nation Daily sponsorship was very effective, but also very expensive, and the bump it provided for my sales didn’t last long.
All these efforts come at a price, though, and not just a monetary one. If I’m working on promotion, I’m not writing, which is what I really love to do. The “experts” say the best thing to do is write the best book you can, then follow that up with something better, and then do it again. And when you come right down to it, the quality of the work is the only thing any author can really control, anyway.
So what’s the verdict? Stay virginally pure or get down and dirty? I guess in the end I’m just like everyone else: I’ll end up somewhere in between the two extremes. We’re all stumbling around in the dark anyway, hoping to hit on a formula for developing readership that Einstein probably couldn’t chart.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go tweet about my Goodreads book giveaway…