I (Johnny) started this show off with two shocking announcements.
After our discussion last time with Joanna Penn, I admitted to being intrigued by the promising nature of the erotica genre and to having downloaded and read 50 Shades of Alice in Wonderland during a brief family getaway at the beach last weekend. Sean asked if I decided to write erotica, if I’d talk about it on the show and I dodged the question. Dave offered his visage for potential hot and sweaty cover photos. Or at least sweaty.
I further admitted to eating during the taping because I hadn’t eaten lunch: sunflower seeds and beef jerky. Dave asked me to talk at more length about my eating habits.
An update on our Better Off Undead podcast guerrilla (not gorilla) marketing plan
A few episodes ago, we talked about reaching our potential readers via a new zombie podcast called Better Off Undead, and now, after releasing just four episodes, I gave an update on how well that’s going.
Short version: It’s going great, and is actually growing faster than SPP grew at the time. Our episode on fast vs. slow zombies was particularly huge, netting almost 1300 downloads so far, which is a number it takes an average SPP episode a month or so to hit. So yeah, it’s going well, and after only a month of recording.
Oh, and if you’re into horror or the supernatural (or just enjoy three guys who can’t stop laughing and making fun of each other while pretending to talk about horror or the supernatural) be sure to subscribe to Better Off Undead.
Buying reviews is for scammy douchebags
This all began for us when Dave passed around a link to an article about a guy who was selling reviews to self-published authors. The basic gist is that for a fee, the guy would say that your book was awesome — and he’d say it more times if you paid more, of course. The hammer was that self-publishing success story John Locke used this guy’s services… which in our minds kind of invalidates a lot of what John said was his route to success.
There’s a ton to this, but a few of the bullet points are:
- There’s a fine line between buying reviews and quid pro quo reviews and the kind of natural, organic reviews that result from solid relationships built with fans… but like obscenity, we all know the bullshit stuff when we see it.
- It’s tempting to lose faith in the system of reviews on the internet and on Amazon in particular, but we believe that it’s in Amazon’s best interests to develop algorithm changes that will weed out bogus stuff… and so they probably will, in time.
- The worst thing about this is that it’s tempting to feel like we’re all suckers for NOT cheating, because it’s like trying to swim with ankle weights while all of the bullshitters are making big and seemingly easy gains. But don’t be tempted; it’s ultimately not worth it and not as valuable in the long-term as building a real business and readership based on quality. Fodder for this discussion: Tommy Walker’s article on the truth about online manipulation and the follow-up.
- ALL kinds of “gaming the system” strategies are short-term games that sacrifice long-term success. The stuff we talk about in this episode is no exception. Your best strategy if you’re serious about being a real author with a solid, loyal fan base is to be honest and not try to cheat by buying reviews.
We had a few minutes at the end to catch up on some of the questions people have sent us. (We love questions! Call us to submit yours.)
- Steve asked about which fonts to use. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much to say on the topic. Dave likes Georgia, though.
- Christy asked if writing fiction was our full-time job, and if so, when we made the switch. I am DEFINITELY not a full-time-income fiction writer, but Sean and Dave are essentially there, though Sean says they leapt before they were truly ready, which was ballsy.
- Christina asked about picking titles for fiction. We basically were totally unhelpful and said, “Pick something interesting and don’t overcomplicate it.” Bonus Marge Simpson impressions from all three of us.
And that was it. Enjoy, folks!
To view the video version of this episode, go to: Self Publishing Podcast #19 – Buying Reviews and Other Scammy Bullshit We Hate