I will, right after you kiss my A**

I’m sorry but I’ve hit the wall. I’m tired of it. I don’t want to be asked to “like” your product page or check out your website or buy your book. The fact that we follow each other on Twitter or are brand new Facebook friends just isn’t enough. We might get to the point where we talk about each other’s work and I may be interested in buying your book at some point but it can’t be the first thing you ask me to do. It absolutely has to stop.

I follow people on Twitter that I find interesting, and I “friend” people on Facebook based on the same presumption, but when I receive an automated (or even worse, real) message instantly coming back telling me I HAVE to buy their bestselling book because it’s #43 in Fiction/Suspense/Baltic Mysteries/Protagonists whose name begins with the letter “L”, I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a short-term relationship. Now, just to set the record straight, I do know a little about marketing and I understand that as Indie authors we are responsible for a whole lot more than just writing. I’ve managed and trained salespeople for the past twenty-five years. I know sales, but I would never ask a salesperson to immediately ask for the order. It’s not as simple as that. So, I’m going to tell you what it takes to earn my business. After all, if you’re an author, I’m your customer, your reader. I love my kindle and I love finding great reads before any of my friends have found them. I’m the guy who likes to say, “I just finished Laurie Boris’ new book and I loved it. You’ve read it, right?” Or, I’ll say, “That book, what’s it called, The London Blitz Diaries book by Victoria Aldridge, didn’t that blow your mind? You haven’t got it yet? I got it when it was .99 cents.” Yep, I’m that guy. I’m the guy who found the new band before they were even on the radio and I want to be the guy who discovers the Indie author before anybody else has heard of them. I just need to feel like I’ve made the discovery on my own, because if I feel like you’ve spammed me, it doesn’t matter how good your book is or how much I want to read it, I won’t. I’m funny like that.

So, as a fairly typical reader, here are some of the things you can do to earn my business:

1. Invest in our relationship. Get to know me and what I like. That’s easy to do. Whether you check out my Facebook or Twitter page or even one of the blogs I write you’ll get a pretty good idea what floats my boat. In sales it’s called “qualifying”. Qualify me first before you try and close the deal.

2. If you’re going to try and impress me with your work make sure your product page is the absolute best it can be. I’m a recovering cynic. Most of the time I’m very open-minded but from time to time I have a slip and instead of giving the benefit of the doubt I look for faults. For example, if I think a book cover is extremely amateurish I’m going to move onto the next book. Or, if the synopsis sounds like it’s trying too hard and not quite making it, I’ll pass. For example, although it’s okay to compare your book to other books, don’t make it sound like every other novel out there. It needs to be fresh and different and of course, professional. In other words, presentation is everything. If the car hasn’t been washed the customer probably isn’t going to want to test-drive it, is he?

3. Make sure your reviews are legitimate. If you’re an Indie author, chances are I know the same people you know. So, if the majority of your reviews are glowing praises, calling you the next John Irving, and the reviewer’s names all sound very familiar to me I’m not accepting them as unbiased. I know, this is touchy because we all have reviews written by other authors but if I’m checking out a book I want to see the majority of reviews being written by random readers or professional review sites. When a random reader reviews a book it reads differently. The rating is secondary to me. I don’t necessarily need to see a 4.9 rating from 200 reviews, in fact sometimes negative reviews can get me interested too but I need to get a sense that the majority of your reviews are written by either professional reviewers or random readers. In retail sales, if you’re going to “talk up” your product, whether it’s a house or a car or a recreational vehicle, you have to make sure the information you’re giving is one hundred percent accurate and it’s no different with our books.

4. Finally, don’t try and “hard-close” me. You may be able to sell me your book but as I said earlier, I need to think I made the decision all on my own. This is a soft-close. This is when I feel that you have my best interests at heart and you’re not trying to sell me something I don’t want or need. This goes back to my first point. Once you’ve gotten to know me, feel free to tell me what’s going on with your book. You never know, I might just want to take a look at it.

So, as I sit here in my glass house, throwing stones, I will tell you that I haven’t always been this spiritually enlightened. I’ve come dangerously close to that line in the sand and I’ve probably crossed it from time to time in some reader’s minds. When I first published my book I thought I was so unique that everyone would want to know about it immediately. Little did I know that you guys were all out there with your own unique self-published books, too. And, I’m the guy who wandered around Vancouver International Airport a few months ago handing out business cards to fellow travellers who were reading on their kindles. And, if you’re a book reviewer or blogger or even better yet, a book club administrator, I will try and “friend” you. I’ve been thrown in Facebook jail many times because of my um, assertiveness when it comes to having the right kind of friends. And, I’m sure there are probably other lines that I’ve crossed too, but I always try and consider whether or not what I’m doing is blatantly spamming and I always try and abide by the four guidelines listed above. And, if I don’t, if you ever see me deviating from this and spamming, let me know. This is a very transparent industry. Whether it’s with genuine concern or because we’re waiting for somebody to fall, we watch each other and I’m sure if one of you sees me crossing that line you’ll let me know. And, if I receive the link to your book without at least a polite introduction I will, without a doubt tell you to kiss my a**. It’s permitted, and I hereby give you all the permission to do the same.

Author: Martin Crosbie

Martin Crosbie is the administrator of and writer of seven published novels. His self-publishing journey has been mentioned in Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes Online Magazine, and Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. You can learn more about Martin on his Amazon author page.


  1. This site offers some awesome articles and interviews. I have pinned many to my Pinterest “Interviews” and “Blogs that Rock” boards – this one included. So glad you had the guts to write about what many of us feel about newcomers always asking for “favors” from us.

    1. Thank you Margot, and you’re right, the information on Indies Unlimited is invaluable. There’s rarely a day when I don’t refer to something on here. It’s like an encyclopedia for the Indie author.

  2. You are absolutely right Martin and the only reason I went through that last like me stuff because I was asked to do so right here on Indies Unlimited. I don’t feel that me click on a like is going to sell more of your books and definitely not mine. I really would like to get to know you better Martin and even communicate through a more private media – email (if that can be considered private) and my email address is – [email protected] – write me, yell at me, complain, whatever, and I promise I’ll respond and won’t try to sell you any of my books even though they are wonderful (in my eyes).

    1. Bud, I initially had some questions about the IU like-fests, too. But I have come to see that as a different kettle of fish – as Kat and Steve say, more like ‘high five’, not a push to buy.

    2. I don’t do many like fests because I read the sites I visit and that takes a lot of time. But. When I do go on a fest tour I discover some very good books so I guess a fest is as genuine as you want it to be.

    1. Aha, but you’re wrong, my friend. I do own one of your books. Mother-in-law is coming to visit and I’m memorizing all the answers in your trivia book so I can impress her : )

  3. I used to read at least three books a week for years. Now that I’m writing I don’t have time to read anymore. Sad, but the writing is rewarding. Where do you all find the time to read?

    1. I can’t go to sleep, literally can’t settle, without reading for at least 10 minutes. Mostly I’ll read for 1/2 an hour.

    2. I make time to read. The habit has been ingrained for most of my life, so if I don’t, it feels like something’s missing. Half an hour before bed at least.

  4. Ah Martin, you are my favourite cynic! Well done.:-) (I did, however, enthusiastically post links to your books in my last blog and I truly meant that)

    1. I’m using a program (it’s free for the first month), that Jim Devitt wrote a post about on Indies Unlimited. It’s called Mention, and it flagged me that you’d posted links to my website and books, Dianne, so thank you very much. And, thanks for taking the time to comment, it’s very much appreciated.

  5. LOL Martin I think I remember your buy my book phase and have enjoyed watching you evolve. Social media is about being social, building relationships, creating an unofficial sales force of word-of-mouth fans, and soft-selling. Yes you need to let people know you are an author and have books for sale but that should NOT be a 1st interaction. Nor should it be a frequent interaction. My friends talk more about my yet to be written books than I do. My friends recommend me as a social media coach way more than I mention the fact. It’s easy enough for someone to find that information as its on my profile of every social media tool I use as well as my blog. The chances I’ll drop you a link to a post about why your behavior is inappropriate is 80%+ if my 1st interaction is buy my book/like me on these other social media places (I do it privately). Depending on how I feel that day I may also unfriend/unfollow you or I may give you a 2nd chance to read the link(s) and change your behavior.

  6. Good advice for any indie author (any author, in fact) who wants to establish his or her brand. I know some other sales people in other fields who could also profit from thjis advice.

  7. Martin, Holy S*@$, that was awesome. I think we’ve all probably crossed the line at some point, but most indies authors have probably never done anything remotely close to representing sales.

    I love your walking around the airport and spotting kindle readers. That’s legendary stuff.

    Sales is a transference of emotion, if you feel the same way as I do about my book, you’ll buy it. That comes with developing the relationship, being honest, truthful and professional, just as you said. Perfect.

    I handed out about 12,000 bookmarks before a Seattle Mariners opener the weekend my book was launched. I didn’t have a clue about Facebook and Twitter back then. Sales really works.

    This post is going in the Hall of Fame!

    1. Jim, I want to hire you as my publicist. I don’t know how I’ll pay you but I need to figure out a way. Thanks for your encouraging comments and for sharing the post.
      The bookmarks at the ball game is a great idea and there are a ton of similar projects that we could be doing. When I brainstorm with other like-minded authors we sometimes feel like the great promotional idea is right here in front of us but we just can’t see it yet. Maybe it is, and maybe one day it will appear but for now I’ll just keep building relationships and trying to create a little positive energy here and there, and I know you’re a proponent of that too.
      Thanks for taking the time, my friend!

  8. So, now I don’t feel so bad about the total lack of chutzpah. I am totally turned off by buy-my-book/like-my-page stuff and I thought I was just a nasty person. There are subtler ways to build relationships and garner fans but I guess we all have to feel our way to the stuff that a) feels right and b) kinda works a bit sometimes. Loved this post. By the way, can I interview you on my blog Martyn? (Not in any way a cynical ploy to make you like me!)

    1. It’s too late, Carolyn, I started likin’ you a long time ago already. And yes, I can totally be bought by being invited to interviews and guest blog posts. It really doesn’t take much, as long as I see my name on the page : )
      Thanks for commenting!

  9. Great post, Martin. I totally agree and relate 100%. Especially the DM on twitter right after a connection is like receiving a cold shower.

    Now that we are on the same wavelength, can you buy my books? LOL

  10. Excellent post. This sort of behaviour seems alien to me though. I tend to be the opposite (not always a good thing either!) – Most of the time I fail to mention my books to people.

    It’s been known for readers to come and hunt me down at my day job. I’ve been cornered by the soft drinks and tinned goods shelves, when a customer-turned-reader stops to ask “Why didn’t you tell me you’re Alina Voyce and those books at the front are yours?”

    Umm… that would be because I wanted people to buy my work on its own merit, because they like the cover/look of them or because the plotline or blurb on the back intrigued them – NOT just because they know me!

    Thanks for this, Martin. I’ll aim for somewhere in the middle then…

  11. Outstanding post, Martin, you really struck a chord with a lot of people. I think, however, it does take time to learn “netiquete”, and your post is a great example of what people should and shouldn’t do.

Comments are closed.