I'll admit it—I'm a sucker for a good headline. The ones on the tabloids are so outrageous that I can't stop myself from reading them while standing in the check-out line. I love a good pun in a book title (my next is A Snitch In Time). I want to be teased, tempted, tantalized. What I don't want is to be tricked.
I subscribe to a lot of industry-type blogs for information. I don't tweet, but there are people online who send out Twitter feeds and do the hard work for me. And yes, I'm suckered into opening these URLs because I can't help myself. I'm always looking for that Holy Grail of info that will reveal all the secrets of publishing and selling. Move over, Dan Brown!
I'm especially prone to anything with a number cited:
4 tips for completing your manuscript (oh, please help me!)
25 Ways To Be A Happy Writer (you mean I don't have to be depressed?)
12 Ideas for Email Updates That You'll Actually Enjoy Writing (email can be fun???)
Break it down in simple steps for me. This is what I'm looking for. Except, it's not.
When I open up these blogs, more often than not I find old news re-hashed. All the poster has done is slap a new title on stuff we already know. It seems the writer invested more time in coming up with a catchy title rather than content. I feel cheated. No, I feel used. I was looking for a new insight and all I got was generic information.
Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice and I don't trust you anymore. I won't be lured to your blog again. Go ahead, dangle all the enticing titles at me that you can come up with. I won't take the bait.
I've decided to steal the premise of these blogs and do what the originator was too lazy to do—stretch my brain and come up with fresh info. You want to know “7 Odd Places to Sell Books?” Okay, here you go: Funerals. Coffee shops. Flower shops. Stationary stores. Social Security Office. Hospitals. Insurance offices. Yep, I've sold my books to all these places and I can tell you how I did it. I'm not one to make promises I can't keep.
I know many of these disappointing pieces are written because bloggers need to fill space. But, I don't have time for blather. Neither do any of you. Instead, make it a practice not to just read and absorb but read and riff off the unfinished idea. At least you'll get something productive in the end.