A Successful Author Spotlight on Reddit
WOW! What a night that was and so much fun too. 2,000 upvotes and over 350 comments and I thought I was going to get ignored on my very first ever Author Spotlight on Reddit.
When I first spoke to the mods over at /r/books on Reddit about doing an Author Spotlight, I didn’t know what to expect and given it had been planned many, many weeks before, I diarised it in Google calendar and promptly forgot about it. I had every intention to see the reminder pop up a couple of days before, then do some research (Googling) then go ahead and hopefully have a successful author spotlight on Reddit.
Then my laptop was possessed – the touchpad literally got overtaken by a poltergeist – and that week before, I spent hours trying to coordinate the arrival of my new one from HP. I miss Australia sometimes for the post delivery. If you’re not home, they simply leave it at the depot. In Italy, you must be home. And be able to open the door within 3 seconds – even if you live on the third floor of an apartment. But I digress. By Friday, my laptop hadn’t arrived and at 1am, I fell into a coma absolutely exhausted.
The following morning, Saturday the 14th of May, I lazily got up and started eating my breakfast while I tried to browse news items on my laptop. I’d gotten used to the poltergeist in my laptop sliding down to the letter z while I read and occassionally several hundred unrelated applications opening all at once, so I ignored all this poltergeist activity and suddenly noticed the Google calendar reminder that in just 1 hour, i was due for my Author Spotlight no Reddit. Fuck the poltergeist activity, I grabbed my phone and started panicking.
Somehow, an hour later, I signed in to my first ever Author Spotlight on Reddit and had hastily written the first headline I could think of, “Hi, I’m Fox Emerson and no, I’m not an alcoholic, I’m just Australian.” Because earlier that week, a friend asked me – over beers – if all Australians were alcoholic. After quickly Googling others that had appeared on the Author Spotlight on Reddit, I saw that the most successful seemed to have reached almost 600 upvotes. I saw many others that had barely been upvoted a couple of times. I swallowed hard and wondered if I was about to feel the same way I did back in junior school when the soccer team captains chose everyone for their teams and I was the last man standing (or boy sitting).
To say that I had some really great people join in the discussion, would be an understatement. My primary motive, was to get some information to help me make some decisions with part two of my book, Mr 303. I asked the Redditors, “if there is an apocalyptic event, would people automatically start fighting each other, like we see in the movies? Or would they rather try and rebuild society?” and the responses were amazing. I got such great feedback, that days later I’m still copying the notes from the good responses into my notepad.
I’d say in answer to my question, 50% feel that society would fall apart and it would be each man to his own. The other 50% felt that humanity would work together and try and rebuild society. One of the best responses, in my humble opinion, was that people would gravitate towards a strong leader and they would ultimately do whatever that leader decided. I thought this was in line with my thinking and I had already been planning the seeds of how Mr 303 was going to work in part two.
Naturally, I got trolled. My top troll responses were:
- Are you an alcoholic?
- I’m American and I hate the Australian accent
- Your book sounds as cheesy as you do
- Do you think your idea is original? Even though the storyline sounds like the thousands of other apocalyptic books out there?
- The more I hear this guy speak, the less I like the guy
- I think your book stinks and you’re a shit writer
To this last one, I asked the user what they had hated so much about my book, to which they responded that they weren’t going to waste 99c on my shit book. Riiiiiiight. Haters are gonna hate, even when they actually haven’t read my book but declare it’s a shit book. You can’t take this shit seriously. Minutes later, someone posted an awful 2 star review of my book on Amazon. Ouch. But…you have to ignore this and think of the people who will enjoy the book (hopefully there are some).
Anyway, if any other authors out there are reading this, let me give you a couple of tips on making sure your Author Spotlight on Reddit is successful.
- Pick a great headline – people scan Reddit looking for interesting headlines and if yours doesn’t stand out, they won’t click on it or upvote it
- Have a very clear idea as to what you want to get out of it – the more specific you are with a good question, the greater the chances of a great response
- Do not do what I did and give yourself a bit of prep time – knowledge is power, so go and be powerful
- Do try to respond to every comment – this is your shot to let people see there’s a personality behind those words (and your book) and get valuable feedback
- Ignore the trolls – trolls are attracted to the light and to good things, if you are getting trolled, you are good
My intention was to talk about Mr 303 part two and get ideas as to how the story would play out. What I didn’t expect was, phenomal sales of Mr 303 and a huge spike in traffic on my website. Fox Emerson came up on page 4 of Google previously and halfway through the night it was at the number 1 position. I got 80 people add Mr 303 to their Goodreads to-read list, a whole heap of people followed me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I even got a Doctor offer to consult with me on my virus not to mention a couple of hundred brilliants ideas to help me through part two.
Thanks for reading my post about my Author Spotlight on Reddit and for those of you who joined me, thanks again, I had a heap of fun and hope you did too.