Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Stefanie Sloane: A Few Things I've Learned
So here, in no particular order, are four things to remember when interacting with book professionals.
1. Do not bash a bookstore online. Granted, Amazon took a beating—and rightfully so—for a few of its more memorial moves. Remember the “Buy used copy” button posted on the new book page? Yeah, I thought so. Everyone was upset and a lengthy dissection of Amazon’s decision dominated the industry sites for some time. This only made sense. And I fully support an individual’s right to free speech. But when an author makes unintelligible, lengthy, expletive-laced rants on multiple sites, someone is going to notice. Actually, many people will notice, one of whom will most likely be an employee of the bookstore in question. And honestly, said author just comes off looking bad. As an author, you’re your own business. So don’t act in an un-business like way. Period.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t grow your brand through tasteful, USEFUL items that make sense for your books. I can always use another pen, especially one that works well. And one that has an author’s website stamped across the side—you know, the side that I’ll see every time I use the pen? That’s smart. And bookmarks seem a no-brainer, though I’d love to see something useful for the e-readers too. Beyond this? I say think long and hard about not only what you expect to get out of offering the item, but also the responsibility you carry for putting the swag out there in the first place.
4. Do help your fellow authors out. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Big conference, lots of people, and I’m still in good standing—pre-used button incident. A very well known and successful author approaches along with another woman. I make myself ready to fawn over the bestseller—she happens to be an author whose work I’ve admired for some time. She introduces herself calmly, smiles, shakes my hand, then makes a point to steer the remainder of the conversation toward her companion, a debut author whom the bestseller clearly has a lot of enthusiasm and respect for.
This. Is. Awesome. Was I already considering featuring the bestseller on the Amazon site? Yes. Did her kindness and plain, old quality human being-ness help? You bet. But more importantly, she wasn’t just being nice. She was actively helping her fellow author, which only makes us all better. Seriously, do good. Be good. You never know when, but it will come back to you.
Posted by Lee Hyat at 12:02 AM