It was a dignified gathering of two professionals discussing important things like
I bought several of his books for myself and friends – including new release DAY ONE – and Bill kindly signed them for me there at Murder by the Book in Portland, OR.
|Me with Bill Cameron (and yes, I do notice the camera flash apparently made my top semi-transparent. Classy. I tried to Photoshop it, but it made me look like I had a mutant nipple.)|
This has been on my mind a lot in the wake of recent online discussion about the value of social media like Twitter and Facebook for authors. First came Chip Macgregor’s post discussing whether these tools are a worthy use of authors’ time. Then there was Maureen Johnson’s post on how some authors believe “branding” means smacking people on the forehead with your book until they fall to their knees and beg for the throbbing to stop.
Both make some terrific points.
Prior to my recent three-book deal, I spent the last 10+ years working in marketing and corporate communications, which means
Here’s one: it typically takes seven points of contact to prompt a consumer to act. That means you have to see the bologna commercial seven times before you get off your sofa and trudge to the local market for some wholesome meaty goodness.
I believe it.
I’ve been a devout reader of Janet Reid’s blog for eons, and since she’s Bill Cameron’s agent, I’ve heard a lot about his books over the years. I always meant to read them. I even added one to my Amazon cart once.
But I didn’t make the purchase. Maybe I’m lazy, maybe I’m easily distracted. Probably both.
What prompted me to buy Bill’s first book was simple – I followed him on Twitter. He followed me back. We swapped some 140-character tweets about bacon and murder.
And suddenly, he went from being a nameless author to someone I knew.
That’s the idea behind social media. People want to conduct business with someone they consider a friend.
Within a few days of that first contact, I hustled out and got Bill’s first two books – LOST DOG and CHASING SMOKE – and sent him a quick tweet asking which I should read first.
And get this – he replied within a few minutes.
A far cry from the days I licked stamps and crossed my fingers the author of TRIXIE BELDEN would respond to my fan letter before the time came for me to select a retirement home.
Bill Cameron never once told me to buy his books. He never put me in a headlock and forced me to listen to a detailed description of his branding strategy.
He was just a funny, engaging guy who made the effort to connect. That’s how social media should work.
Regardless of what stage you’re at in your writing career – whether you’re querying agents or peddling your twelfth bestseller – there’s a lesson in there.
Be friendly. Be real. Engage with agents and editors and potential readers in online communities in ways that show you would do so even if you didn’t want something from them. Remember it's a dialogue and not your personal soapbox.
Oh, and since Bill Cameron is too gracious to give you the hard sell, allow me. His books are amazing. Stop whatever you’re doing now and go get one. I loved LOST DOG, am devouring CHASING SMOKE, and can’t wait to read my new copy of DAY ONE.
Buy now. Don’t make me use the headlock.