Forget the Big “Family & Friends” Plan

by | Jul 19, 2021 | Articles | 0 comments

About three months ago, I wrote a post entitled What I’ve Learned In Six Years of Growing An Indie Author Business. My idea was to share six lessons from my publishing experience, one for each year in the biz.

As time went on, my thinking evolved. I realized these six short points could all be expanded upon as part of an ongoing effort to help fellow indie authors in their inevitable struggle with marketing.

Thus was born a six-part blog series, ending today with Forget the Big “Family & Friends” Plan.

 

Family, Friends, and Other Creatures

Here’s part of what I wrote back in April:

Your family, friends and colleagues are not your audience. People who like your kind of book—maybe—are your audience. If there’s an audience for your book, you’ll need to find it…and keep looking to expand it. The majority of your best, most loyal readers will be people you’ve never met. That’s as it should be.

Sure, you can host a book launch event. Invite all your friends if you like. But once that’s over, forget the “friends and family” plan. Find your readers where they already hang out, and entice them to check out your work. 

This is a lesson, I’d hasten to add, almost nobody likes. Nearly every author, at least starting out, thinks, My book is different. My family is different. My friends are different.

They aren’t. Trust me.

 

Universal Truth

The mistake of thinking friends and family who don’t read will magically devour your special book is so pervasive, even I was surprised.

A recent post by fellow writer Anne R. Allen details how bad it really is out there. Not only are most writers’ friends and family not fansmany are unsupportive or even downright hostile. Check it out:

I think some [friends and family] are afraid of seeing themselves in our writing — either as a fictional character or a direct portrayal in memoir. They also may fear knowing too much about you — information that might necessitate guilt.

But most of the negativity comes from their own blocked creativity. I believe every person is born creative, but modern life marginalizes creative activity. Most people have to squelch their own creative urges in order to function in an industrial society. So they tend to feel hostile toward people who remain unsquelched.

How many people have told you they’d write a book too, “if they had the time”? Those people can be super-negative about your work because they so desperately want to write but can’t allow themselves to put in the time. 

And there you have it. You may have a supportive friend or family member, or even two. But think of that as a bonusnot as your primary audience.

Have these posts helped? Need to vent about negativity from friends or family? Hit me up in the comments below.

What a Character

I was recently reading another author's blog, and saw a post about the writing process, and in particular the naming of characters. I wondered, Are people really interested in reading about this? I couldn't help thinking that only writers are so interested in other...
advance reader copy

Does An ARC Have to Include A Cover Illustration?

One of the most confusing concepts in publishing is that of the Advance Reader Copy, or ARC. I call it confusing because there appears to be no universal agreement on what those initials actually mean. While some sources refer to an ARC as an Advance Reader Copy,...
LCCN

Do I Need A Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)?

This week I promised to write about one of the most often overlooked items in the publishing business - the Library of Congress Control Number, or LCCN. I'm going to write about it a bit today, but my thinking on the LCCN has changed to some degree over time.According...
Whizzers

Authors’ Pandemic Sales and The Dubious Metric of “Necessities” Vs. “Luxuries”

​Considering everything going in the world, the past week was a pretty good one for me. Almost a year after its initial publication, my novel Whizzers—which had flatlined in the Kindle store—suddenly spiked to #179,500. When one of your babies jumps that much, it gets...
endemic

From Pandemic to Endemic to…?

It’s funny how a blog like this can serve as sort of a substitute for a journal. Not “ha ha” funny, mind you. But “strange” funny for sure. All the way back in December 2021, I wrote a post called The Scary Weekend I Thought I Had COVID. I’d met up with a friend and...
scared

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. II

In last week’s post, I mentioned a pretty well-known author who has publicly reported his publisher “wouldn’t touch” a new release, in part because a character in his novel referred to herself as “fat.” I heard this story on a podcast, and I remember thinking, “Wait...

Radio, Radio

Last month, I had the pleasure of being the guest on a terrific radio show for authors: the Joy on Paper program hosted by PatZi Gil. PatZi was kind enough to invite me on the show to talk not only about my third novel Miles of Files, but also about my company, Sahno...
followers

From The Archives: Frances Caballo on Why You Should Never Buy Twitter Followers or Facebook Likes

I don't often feature guest posts on my blog, but today's post from the archives was an exception. Back in 2018, social media guru Frances Caballo graciously accepted my invitation to write a guest post. Here's a link to the the original post, but you can read her...
book

Who Gives A Damn About Your Book?

Back in April, I wrote a blog post called What I’ve Learned in Six Years of Growing An Indie Author Business. Since I have those six years of experience, I figured I’d list six things I’d learned—not necessarily one per year, but one for each year. The response was...
holidays

Happy Holidays from Mike Sahno – Author, Speaker, Publisher

I suppose I’m courting controversy right out of the gate just by using the phrase Happy Holidays. I get that. But I’m also pretty sure it won’t upset most of my readers! My wife Sunny and I would like to wish a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Solstice, Kwanzaa,...
self-promotion

What’s The Problem With Shameless Self-Promotion?

While I still find it somewhat hard to believe, I've been on Twitter for almost eight years. I know this not only because Twitter shows Joined March 2015 on my profile but also because, even if they eliminate that feature, I use a tracker called Who Unfollowed Me? If...
MLK

MLK Day 2023

Here’s wishing everyone a safe, sane Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For many of us, today is always something of a day of mourning: not only mourning the loss of a great civil rights leader, but also mourning the turn our great nation seemed to take in recent years....

Twitter Tips for Authors in 2023

If you follow my blog, you probably connected with me via Twitter, whether you’re a fellow author or not. In 2020, I wrote a post about Twitter for fellow writers that got a good response. Three years later, the landscape has changed, but some Twitter best practices...
rails

Going Off The Rails (But Not On A Crazy Train)

Last April, I wrote a blog post called Back on Track With a Work-In-Progress. Part of that post was to talk about the difference between a “plotter” and a “pantser” (and to describe myself as a hybrid of the two, a “plantser”). Another, less obvious motive, was to...
French

Those Tricky French Authors and Their Obsessions

Today’s blog post was originally going to be Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. III. However, after seeing parts I and II lined up, I decided to call an audible and make it something less repetitive. Somehow the SEO gods have gotten into my head. As I’ve mentioned...
scared

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. II

In last week’s post, I mentioned a pretty well-known author who has publicly reported his publisher “wouldn’t touch” a new release, in part because a character in his novel referred to herself as “fat.” I heard this story on a podcast, and I remember thinking, “Wait...
censorship

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want

I’ve been stewing on this for a while. It’s been brewing for quite a while. I could probably write a song about it (how about a rap?), but I don’t think I will. This is more of a blog post topic, and it might even deserve a series. And that’s the title and topic of...
gratitude

Should Every Month Be Gratitude Month?

When I was a kid, I loved Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. I read it daily and collected nearly every paperback volume of the cartoon, so I could see what I’d missed since the comic strip’s inception in 1950.  Certain things stuck: quotes like “happiness is a warm puppy”...
robot

More Thoughts On Robot Writers and The Tech Dystopia

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post here called When Will the Robot Overlords Replace Us? Apparently, I’m fairly obsessed with this stuff, because every time I come here and empty my brain, it seems to come up again. Today is no different. Part of the reason,...