How to get more traffic without alienating everybody

Recently I recommended to an author that they review books in their genre. His concern was, authentic reviews are rarely all positive, and he doesn’t want to do bullshit fake positive reviews.

The main point I was making, is – if you aren’t famous and nobody has heard of your book – blogging about yourself, your life and your books will result in ZERO TRAFFIC because nobody is looking for you.

They are looking for other authors who are more famous than you are. Reviewing those other books is a great way to, basically, steal traffic away from those other authors. It only works if you’re reviewing books similar to your own. And obviously you can’t review-hate them and say how much they sucked. But readers also always appreciate authentic reviews: what you liked, what you didn’t like, was it worth reading, etc.

And basically, you want to please the readers, not the authors whose books you are reviewing (though it wouldn’t hurt, if they are small enough and you can make friends with them, maybe by posting a really amazing, in-depth review).

If you are opinionated with your book reviews, and critical, you’ll probably piss some people off. Some people won’t agree with you. This was my friend’s concern. He asks, “Aren’t you afraid of alienating people?”

I reply:

They have to find you, before they can be alienated.

So – zero traffic = no risk and no sales.

Blogging about stuff that people find because they’re searching for it; you’ll get some traffic that doesn’t agree with you. Pull in the ones who are like you and would like your book, but alienate the ones that won’t (because you don’t want them to read your books anyway).

Some traffic/sales is better than none, but you can’t alienate everyone. I have one blog post about the Secret Life of Walter Mitty – people hate that post. I get a dozen angry, mean comments every month on that one article. That article probably isn’t doing me any favors in retrospect, because I’m alienating the audience that might otherwise like what I have to say. On the other hand, it may alienate 90% of viewers – the people who believe that passion is everything and finances and business will just magically happen. The 10% who are willing to do the work and actually be successful might read it and have a creative awakening unlike any they’ve previously experienced.

Don’t worry about alienating, worry about being invisible. Be bold an opinionated, but make sure when you draw a line in the sand, it isn’t just you standing by yourself against everyone else. Make sure you know your audience, and be the voice of their fears, desires and guilty pleasures.

About Derek Murphy

I help authors and artists turn their passions into full-time businesses, make a bigger impact, and blaze a luminous trail of creative independence. Right now I'm in Taiwan finishing a PHD in Literature, writing several books, and managing a handful of online businesses. Find me

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