Running the Numbers – Indies Saturate the Water with Over Promotion by Dana Sitar
As quickly as I discovered them, I realized that I do not support those follow-me-I’ll-follow-you-back cabals that exist among authors online.
The idea behind them is fine: we’re all independent authors, and we need the support of like-minded folks. However, from what I’ve seen, these groups don’t add much support; they just add numbers.
With the availability of analytics tools online, numbers have become the center of attention for bloggers, avid tweeters, and others who do their work mainly online — like indie Kindle authors. We think that padding our numbers will prove our credentials to potential readers, and maybe even agents.
Our potential audience is not stupid, though — or, at least, we shouldn’t act as if they’re stupid. If they look at your Twitter feed and it’s nothing but blatant self-promotion with a few cat references sprinkled in, they’ll know you didn’t get 1,457 followers based on the value you add.
My numbers are small — before you jump to “You’re just upset because you don’t have a lot of followers” — and they should be. I’ve been blogging for just over 6 months, and I just published my first ebook a couple of months ago. I’m still building my tribe. But, I’m building it naturally. I am proud and appreciative as hell of every single follower, subscriber, and comment that I’ve gotten, because they have all come from a genuine interest in the work that I’m doing.
When it comes to selling a book, growing a newsletter list, booking speaking gigs, or gaining clients, these are the people who will matter. They will read my books, follow my work, hire me to help them.
People who follow just to follow aren’t going to pay attention to what you’re sharing. They’re only following you because they wanted you to follow them, and you’re only following them because you wanted them to follow you, and you’re not going to pay attention to what they’re sharing.
If an indie author tweets into a forest of other indie authors, will she really make a sound?
Dana Sitar is a freelance journalist and author of the ongoing memoir series This Artists’ Life. She shares writing tips and anecdotes at her blog by.dana.sitar. Follow Dana on Twitter.