Recently, I read this blog that was posted in a Facebook group about the new trend— forming a “personal relationship” with readers. I suppose with the flood of new authors into the market, not just in Lesfic/WLW, but mainstream as well, authors have to do more marketing on their own and apparently, this is the new shiny ball.
I haven’t been in Lesfic/WLW that long to know if this is a trend in our tiny corner of the world, or if, as I suspect, this is what we’ve been doing all along. Granted, there are a lot more of us interacting now, so I suspect this phenomenon is more visible. Or maybe not? What was astonishing to me was the way the article described authors getting personal. This was not a one-sided relationship where the author feels free to share personal details about their life. No….apparently, authors are asking readers about their lives and they are doing it via spam mail. And….they aren’t stopping at that. They are piling on the guilt with impressive efficiency. My catholic grandmother would be impressed. If you unsubscribe, they want to know why? If you haven’t left a review…guilt times 1,000. And on and on. The author of the blog was not in favor of this new trend, for very good reasons.
Well, that is not the kind of personal relationship I am comfortable with. Nor do I believe, for the most part, that is the kind of personal relationship Lesfic/WLW authors should nurture and grow. I think our world is different, or at least mine is. When someone reaches out to me, I always answer. If that turns into a friendship as it sometimes has, I am all the more enriched by that experience. I don’t have thousands of followers like the mainstream authors, or the top echelon of Lesfic/WLW, so I can easily keep up. As long as those back and forth communications don’t cross a line, I rather like the interaction. Crossing the line would be not respecting my marriage and leading the discussion into flirty/propositional territory. Truth be told, I’m much better behind a computer interacting with readers, than in person.
I had a reader once who e-mailed me about one of my books and we continued to communicate back and forth for a bit of time. She lives in China. When she came to the states for an extended vacation, I invited her to stay with my wife and me in Moses Lake. That was a profoundly wonderful experience. Another reader, who is now one of my betas, has become a good friend, along with her wife. I never would have been gained the richness of that friendship had I not been open to communicating with her.
There is one other reason I think our world is different. Like me, many of the readers out there are also authors in my genre. It makes sense to form personal relationships with other authors.
People come and go on my mailing list. I’ll never ask why you left. Some readers leave reviews, most do not. I am very grateful to those that leave reviews but have zero judgment on those who do not. Why would I judge readers who don’t leave reviews? I fall into the trap of not leaving a review or doing a Lesfic PuttyCat Review on every book I read. And…it isn’t because I don’t enjoy a particular book. It is simply that I am super inconsistent. There aren’t too many Lesfic/WLW books I don’t enjoy, so if I left a review for every book, there would be 1,000’s of my very inadequate reviews out there for people to read.
If I ask you about your life, it will only be after we’ve become friends and had several interactions that would suggest those questions are welcome and not invasive. And…it won’t be because I want to sell you a book. Bottom line is that I haven’t developed personal relationships with readers as a marketing ploy. I’ve done it because it feels comfortable to me. Has it generated sales…maybe? I don’t really know, but it doesn’t matter. Marketing is not something I am particularly good at, so I won’t adopt this strategy or cease communicating with readers on a more personal level simply because it is good marketing.
Instead, one marketing strategy is to close every blog with feel free to check out my links. Oh, and if you want to unfollow this blog, I won’t ever track your ass down to ask why you’ve decided to unfollow me! I suppose I also send something out every time I have a book release to my mailing list, but there isn’t much that is personal about that. For those on the list, you’ll be getting something soon when Pleasure Workers releases on September 1.
But for today, here is my traditional blog closing line…check out my links below if you are so inclined….
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