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Manage Your Expectations

Posted by Association of Independent Authors on January 10, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Source: Sandra Beckwith, Build Book Buzz

An author known for her nonfiction work recently complained that her social media followers hadn’t purchased her first novel.


She was terribly disappointed. In fact, it was clear she felt betrayed by the thousands in her combined social networks.


I understand her frustration. I’m sure that she, like so many other authors, has heard so much about the importance of social media in book promotion. There’s a reasonable expectation that a chunk of those connections will buy your book, right?


Well, maybe not, especially in her case. I’m going to skip the explanation about social media algorithms and why most of your followers don’t even see what you share about your book because there’s another good reason why this author’s social media followers didn’t buy her book: They’re not interested in it.


Who’s in your networks?


Pretty simple, isn’t it?


This author’s social network is built around an impressive nonfiction body of work that has no connection to her novel. Because of that, it’s unrealistic to expect that those she’s connected to for one type of work will automatically be interested in anything she writes in a totally different arena.


It’s a reminder that you need to know your book’s target audience and find ways to get your book title in front of them. They might not be your colleagues on LinkedIn or your high school classmates on Facebook.


I hear from many authors who are crushed because they think that too few of their friends and family are buying their books. I feel their pain, believe me. I come from a large, but seriously disinterested, family. In their defense, my most recent books wouldn’t appeal to my siblings, so I never expected them to make a purchase. (I did expect them to watch my handful of appearances on national television talk shows, though. But that’s another discussion.)


Try to be fair


Chances are, your friends and family aren’t interested in what you’re writing about. And quite frankly, it’s unfair of you to expect them to spend their hard-earned dollars on something they won’t read. You might think they should do it out of loyalty, or maybe curiosity, but I disagree. And judging by the number of authors who complain about close connections who don’t buy their books, I’m a bit of a lone voice here.


Manage your expectations. Let your friends, family, and social media connections know about your books. It’s a smart thing to do, and it’s not a waste of time. But please don’t hold it against them when they don’t buy. They know what they enjoy reading, and it might not be what you write. It’s not personal — it’s “life.”


Accept that your book isn’t for everybody. That includes close and distant connections.


Who do you think is most likely to buy your book?


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Categories: Social Networks

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