(UPDATE: The person in question has stopped using the #sfwa hashtag. I’m glad. It was annoying.)
One of our students from Viable Paradise self-published a short novel [EDIT: Marko tells me it was over 99K words so not so short] (it was his Viable Paradise submission) in eBook and it has really taken off. This doesn’t surprise me–I was pretty riveted when I read the beginning of it and I bought it and read it in pretty much one sitting. Good book. Check it out: Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos. Future Military SF, gritty and gripping. That link is to Kindle, but I’m pretty sure you can find it in all the usual ebook stores, including direct buy from Marko himself.
As of the time I’m typing this the book is:
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #499 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #4 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Military
- #11 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Adventure
- #15 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Adventure
That indicates some kick-ass sales. Marko is on Twitter (@markokloos.) He follows 172 and is followed in turn by 904. He has 13,740 tweets, meaning he’s active. If you actually look at his twitter stream you’ll see he interacts with others, is amusing, and doesn’t spend all his time talking about his self-published book.
Marko is doin’ it right. He is connecting with an audience and he is providing something they care about.
There is a person on Twitter who is not.
@<redacted>Author (And yes his twitter handle is really @<FnameLname>Author) follows 2,186, and is followed in turn by 2,014. He has 25,489 tweets. When I paged back through his tweets, not only are they all links to his four self-published ebooks, they contain phrases like, “The characters, the settings, the storytelling is unbeatable. A masterpiece.” When you look at the reviews they are, shall we say, uniformly laudatory, yet the sales rank is:
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,615 Paid in Kindle Store
Now let me be clear, I have no personal knowledge of the quality of Mr. @<redacted>Author’s fiction, but, given the above I am not going to even look. In my opinion, @<redacted>Author is doin’ it wrong.
Why do I care?
Mr. @<redacted>Author, for the last year or so, adds the hashtag #SFWA to his every tweet. He does, by the books’ descriptions, write Science Fiction, so I don’t think he’s talking about the South Florida Wrestling Association or the Scottish Football Writers Association. I can confidentially say that @<redacted>Author is not a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since I am and I checked the member directory. This is annoying, but mostly I would like people to know that this is not connecting to your audience.
This is lying to your audience.
This is holding your audience in contempt.
Don’t do this.
It’s not really working for Mr. @<redacted>Author and it won’t work for you.