by Tristi Pinkston
Many authors believe that when they start marketing, they're only marketing their books. This isn't the case - when you become published, you're marketing yourself just as much, if not more, than your book. People will buy things from a person they like. Then you wow them with a great product, and it's a total win.
I recall being at a bookstore and feeling completely annoyed by a particular author who was being super aggressive with his sales pitch. He was like a mastiff, practically demanding that everyone buy his book and insinuating that there was something wrong with them and amiss with their parentage if they did not buy his book. Truth be told, I was rather interested in it, but his behavior and attitude were so irritating that I wouldn't have picked up that book at gun point. I'm just rebellious that way.
Additionally, I am following an author on Twitter who does nothing morning, noon, and night but post "Get my book here." "Here's an excerpt." "You should come buy my book." There's no personal interaction of any kind, and I can't get a sense of who she is. That means I have no idea if I'll identify with her world view and if I'll connect with her book.
Then I know another person on Facebook who just sighs and moans all the time. Nothing is ever right, this publisher or that publisher rejected her, on and on ... I eventually stopped getting her updates because they were so depressing.
These are all examples of ways in which our personalities, if we're not careful, (or lack of personalities) can turn a potential reader off.
Of course, there are times when we pick up the book before we meet the author. But what do we do when we find a book we like? We hunt down the author. We read their blog, we check out their site, we "like" their page on Facebook. And we get to know them a little better as people. You know what - there have been plenty of times when I've enjoyed someone's book but couldn't abide them, and so I didn't purchase more of their books because they just rubbed me the wrong way. It might not be entirely fair, but that's just human nature.
The point I'm making here is that as a professional in the writing industry, you should be building a positive online presence and preparing to show the world the very best of yourself. Of course you'll have bad days and there's nothing wrong with posting about them on Facebook. However, your bad day posts shouldn't overtake your entire wall, and you should try to balance them out with a touch of levity. That makes you approachable. Keep in mind that the minute you put yourself out there, you are out there, for good or for bad. People might not recognize you in grocery stores, but they are watching you and your career (that sounds rather stalkerish) and you have the chance to either make yourself a compelling person or a repelling person by the way you present yourself. Be genuine, be yourself, but be mindful of your potential readership and the impact your words and behavior will have on them.