Setting The Record Straight
As I imagine most authors do, I routinely Google my name to see if any new reviews of SILENCED CRY have been posted that I am not aware of. A few weeks ago, a link to the November 2007, Southern Review of Books blog http://www.anvilpub.net/november.htm mentioning my name in an articled titled: “Authors seeking publicity turn to virtual blog tours for attention” written by Noel Griese. It naturally caught my attention. The article criticized authors who conduct virtual book tours by stating: “While best-selling authors tend to regard book tours as passé and a waste of time, others less successful, desperate for attention, are turning to virtual tours of blogs as a less expensive alternative.” He made examples of two recent virtual book tours; mine and that of a fellow author friend, Marilyn Meredith. Marilyn was on of several who graciously agreed to sponsor and interview me as part of my August tour. I chose to ignore Griese’s comments and took it for what it was, his opinion.
This morning, I received a Google Alert that led me to Frank Creed’s post on http://blog.lostgenreguild.com/ referencing Mr. Greise’s comment. This time I was more than curious. After reading Creed’s blog, I wrote the following comment, but as yet, more than eight hours later, it has not yet been approved by the blog’s author.
Since neither Mr. Griese of “The Southern Review of Books” nor Frank Creed contacted me for information, readers should know that the comments made in their blogs relative to my virtual book tour were not based on facts, but assumptions made about this author and the goals for her August virtual book tour.
This author doesn’t measure success by sales alone. Had they asked, I would have gladly told them my purpose in conducting the August virtual book tour was not increased sales, but to reach a diverse target audience and create name recognition for myself and my novel, SILENCED CRY (released on April 23, 2007 by BeWrite Books, UK). Griese didn’t measure the response from readers, the increased traffic to my website, or list a summary of the reviews; all these things would have given his readers an opportunity to reach their own conclusions, but they were conveniently omitted from his “study.” Had he asked, I could have also informed him of the number of reviewers who contacted me and asked to review the book, the number of new interviews the tour generated, or the number of offers I received to be a guest writer on other sites. Further, a true case study of book tour vs. sales would have also included an interview with my publisher who would have been glad to inform Mr. Griese that sales went up in August and September, not only as a result of the exposure the book received via the tour, but due to all the other marketing efforts I had been involved with over the span of several months.
For the record, SILENCED CRY has been internationally reviewed and is available in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, South Africa, and Australia. Since I launched my website on March 12 of this year, it has received over 25,000 hits from visitors in 77 countries. To post an opinion based solely on the US Amazon ratings over 4-8 weeks is a meager attempt to manipulate the information to fit a one-sided view.
What is truly unfortunate about these articles is that aside from being slanted, they discourage new authors to use virtual book tours as a networking tool. News flash, call it what you want, but every time an author posts an article or a commentary anywhere on the web, they are in essence promoting their writing and books. This is no different than what an author does when conducting a virtual book tour.
Sales are the results of continued, consistent marketing efforts and to imply that a book tour is akin to sending out a resume on the net followed by the comment, “ah, my résumé (or in this case, book tour) has reached millions of people, now I can sit back and reap the benefits.” is to accuse authors of being naive and uninformed individuals who think that a single marketing strategy will generate long-term sales. This is the biggest fallacy I’ve read thus far.
One final note, after quoting Griese, Creed wrote: “COMMENTS on story above:” implying that I wrote the comment to Griese’s article. I didn’t – it was written by Griese’s other targeted author, Marilyn Meredith. This is one more example of another misleading bit of information written to fit the author’s agenda.
Now, I am curious to know how Mr. Griese found me in the first place if not through my virtual book tour which, of course, makes my point. It caught his attention.
Keep in mind that once a comment or article is posted on the web, it will be available to readers for years, long after a site is shut down. Don’t believe me? Google my name or better yet, Google your own. And that Amazon rating? It has been dropping steadily over the past several weeks. Yesterday it had dropped to around 145,000, I had a rating of 88,000 at B&N. Today they're both up a bit, but I can't stress over this. I write for my readers, and what they have to say about my work. Success to me is knowing that I've touched someone's life and that my writing has given someone pleasure.
If you are so inclined, please read the latest review I received this week by Aaron Lazar on this blog. All other reviews are available on my website, http://www.martastephens-author.com/. To read all my virtual book tour articles, please visit the August archives on this blog.