It’s Fun to Connect with Readers

I DENY having SAS (Superstar Author Syndrome).

First things first, regarding SAS. I read about this terrifying syndrome about a month ago. I believe it was first reported on Jane Friedman’s blog. The symptoms are simple . . . you model your promotional and marketing activities after actual Superstar Authors, though you (insert me here) still dwell in obscurity. You may also recognize this as the dreaded CTS (Corn flakes Tweeting Syndrome), where seemingly well-meaning ordinary people tweet about their breakfast and wonder why no one is following them. In writing about SAS, Toni Tesori emphasized that if you happen to be obscure (like me) that you need to be interesting (corn flakes are generally not interesting) and you need a more focused strategy to connect with a (yes, singular) reader.

Cornflakes

When I read her post, I immediately thought of two people. One of whom is a non-author beta reader who seems to really like my book. Interestingly, the same day that I read Tesori’s blog I wrote some new paragraphs that made me think about my reader and his taste in reading.  Simply because I thought that he would enjoy it, I e-mailed him the following excerpt:

Five minutes later, he was at his truck arming himself from the toolbox Logan affectionately called Thing Two. He strapped a thigh holster to his right leg and pulled out his Desert Eagle .50 Action Express. The Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark XIX Pistol was a mission adaptable platform. The calibers and barrel lengths could be changed as needed. A scoped ten inch barrel for deer and hogs or a six-inch barrel with night sights for ‘noids. You could switch between .357, .44, and .50 AE in seconds. The versatility is part of the reason Kurt liked the weapon so much. The big gun was only toting its six-inch barrel since he hadn’t actually planned on pursuing any feral hogs or unruly aliens tonight.

He shoved a clip into the gun, slid back on the action to chamber a round, and then pushed the safety on with his thumb. Kurt thrust the gun into the holster. He snapped on his utility belt. Next he placed three spare clips loaded with 300 grain Hornady semi-jacketed hollow points into a pouch on the belt. He hooked the magic wand onto the belt. It wasn’t magic or a wand but the name amused him. It was a nightstick that collapsed down to a foot and hooked onto his belt loop, at full extension it was four feet long and quite useful.

Next he attached the lasso, also not a real lasso, but a real cowboy sure as hell would kill for one. The lasso looked like a thinner black version of Indiana Jones’s lasso. Kurt liked the comparison because he felt like Dr. Jones when he used it. But his lasso was nothing like the fictional archaelolgist’s; it was a nifty piece of alien technology that seemed to have an intelligence of its own. It felt like a thin piece of coiled metal, but it was as light and flexible as climbing rope.

Last, he holstered the Glock 17 in a standard hip holster. Normally he didn’t take the 9mm Glock into the Drift, the first time you see the bullets bounce off an ET you tend to pack a heavier load. Tonight, though, it would make for a useful prop.

(Oh look, I snuck in an excerpt of my as-yet-untitled novel .)

His response: “Awesome!”

This lead to a humorous exchange, in which I told him that I started toying with the idea of building a blog post around the paragraph as a way to put some of my work out there. He thought that it was an excellent way to share some of my work, but I wasn’t sure that this paragraph set the right expectation.

You see the piece is a bit heavy on weaponry and my story is light on weapons and really more of a detective story. So my reader suggested adding a blurb stating that Kurt (my main character) likes to use persuasion, guile, and his inner Sherlock as opposed to firearms. But the Drift is rather lawless and sometimes an open display of large-caliber sidearms is a deterrent to highly intelligent, alien predators that think Homo sapiens are as tasty as applewood smoked bacon.

The funny thing is I thought that last sentence was him quoting me and I liked it enough to use it in the blog. I know that doesn’t sound funny. What’s funny is that he wrote it because he had read enough of my stuff to be able to mimic my style. Unfortunately at this point, I can’t get my brain around if quoting what he wrote, while impersonating my style, because I liked it so much makes it narcissistic. Thoughts?

Now that I’ve figured out how to have some fun turning my interaction with this reader into a blog entry, the other person I would like to connect with is one who seems to hit the Like button on almost every blog post I write. But I’m not quite sure how to reach out to him. Any suggestions?

(This is intended to be the first in a series (Yay Me for starting) of posts on book marketing.)

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