I am an author, an indie author. Which means I live on the internet finding all possible ways and means to interact with that most precious species – a living, throbbing, reader. And as I try to find that animal, I come across bloggers, authors, reviewers, publishers…many creatures that make up the writing and reading ecosystem.
This journey is not unique to me. Millions of writers do exactly what I do every day.
On one such journey I came across a brilliant blog by a fellow writer and loved a particular post so much that I wanted to write to the author. I searched all over the blog for an email address or a contact button. No luck. I went to the nether regions of the blog. Nada.
I gave up. However much I liked that blog, it was not worth investing any more effort in contacting the author. Maybe this writer had his reasons for not wanting to be contacted other than having a generic comments section.
But this remained in my mind and subsequently all those blogs that did not have a contact mechanism jumped out at me. And on Twitter, all those accounts that required some validation caught my attention.
Now in an alternate life, I am also into sales and marketing and I grew up on Kotler’s Four Ps; Product, Price, Promotion and Place. These are still relevant and the disciplines around these have been so drilled into me that when I communicate with anyone, I make sure my contact details are very visible in my communication.
Authors are also sales people. We are here to sell our stories, to attract readers and to grow a community of following. The same principles of sales and marketing apply to authors.
Think about Place, the fourth P.
Where do we authors, especially indie authors, sell our books? It is not on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or Kobo or any such site. Those are just the fulfillment sites.
We sell our books in our readers’ minds. And hence for that sale to happen, all of us hang out everyday on the web and in the physical world, trying to engage with those rare animals.
So I am stumped and bemused when I come across an author’s blog or website or Facebook page or Twitter account that does not have contact details or is not contact friendly. I am bemused when I am asked to undertake some Twitter validation by a user. Why make it difficult for me to connect with you?
I keep wondering why these intelligent authors, who have invested so much of their time in writing and promoting their books, do not make it easier for communication to happen.
Maybe such writers are so well known that they drown in correspondence and have to put subliminal barriers in place.
Or maybe they just haven’t thought about it.
What I do know is that any interaction I have with anyone could result in that person liking my book and spreading that in all directions. And I cannot take the risk of disabling that interaction.