What I’ve Learned from CSFF and CSACS

The last few days I’ve gained some insights into the publishing business as I’ve flitted from blog to blog reading what participants in the November CSFF Blog Tour for Curse of the Spider King had to say, and as I’ve counted votes for the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction (CSACS). (No worry – voting isn’t over until November 30. I just didn’t want to wait until the end and then try to count all those votes. And double don’t worry – I’m not giving away any results! 😀 )

First what the CSACS vote counting taught me. There’s a two-fold point here connected to “platform.” Publishers are right—platform matters. But the second point is equally important: when you tell them, they will come.

Here’s the thing. Since I receive news from a number of fantasy authors, I know some of those nominated for the CSACS mentioned the Readers’ Choice survey to those on their email list. Within days, votes started pouring in for their books. Within days!

In some cases, I began to think a book had built up an insurmountable lead, until a different author mentioned the Reader’s Choice survey, and votes started pouring in for that novel.

Amazing but true – if an author has a following, then he or she needs only to inform those fans, and they will come. In every instance I was aware of, no author used “strong arm” tactics. No promises for votes, no coaching how to vote, no begging, pleading, wheedling, or cajoling. Just making readers aware that his or her book was on the list of nominated books and here was the link to check out the award. And they came.

So my conclusion is this: platform matters only if it’s utilized.

Now, what I learned on this last blog tour.

Writer involvement matters. Some of the bloggers participating, myself included, have met Wayne Batson and Christopher Hopper, co-authors of Curse of the Spider King, in person. But on many blogs where there was no such connection, these authors popped in and left comments, in some cases thanking the blogger for their negative comments! 😯

Reader anticipation makes a blog tour work better. While we didn’t break a record for the most bloggers touring a book, we may have broken the record for the most bloggers posting all three days. Why the difference? I think part of it is this anticipation factor. When you’ve been looking forward to a book, a tour, it’s something you don’t want to have over-and-done-with in one short day.

Good books help, too. It’s easier to talk about good books. Interestingly, I even think it’s easier to talk about good books that may be a little controversial or that have some flaws. It’s harder to talk about so-so books or poor books unless you’re into slamming them.

Thankfully the blog tour is about showcasing books that are worthy of attention. And doesn’t that, in turn, add planks to an author’s platform?

Published in: on November 19, 2009 at 3:50 pm  Comments (2)  
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