Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World (Book Review)

Rise of the MachinesI’ve been at this ‘author’ thing for many years now. I’ve been a true writer since the age of eleven when I was writing full-blown short story episodes, and I’ve been a full-time writer since 2009 penning six full-length novels, a novella, and countless short stories to date. I was self-publishing my work when self-publishing was just beginning to reveal itself, and I experienced the pitfalls of vanity presses and the convenience of PDF ebooks when they were first showing up on the publishing scene. To say the least, I’ve been in this profession – knee deep – for a very long time now.

Regardless of how much time I have spent as a writer, there’s still one thing I struggle with – marketing.

See, I’m not a salesman by nature. Most authors will tell you that they hate asking people to give them money for something they created. I know that some of my own issue with this is low self esteem – which I am constantly working on – but a huge part of it is that I’m not wired as a salesman. I’m wired as a writer. I write. I observe. A lot of times, I’m quiet and like to keep to myself. If you see a glazed look in my eyes while you’re talking to me, it probably means I’m orchestrating how one of my characters is going to die.

As an author, marketing has been my biggest villain. It feels unnatural to me, and I don’t have the resources to hire out a marketing firm to help me out. It’s a constant struggle, one that has kept me up some nights wondering how I’m going to make it as a writer if I can’t even properly market the books I write.

And then I stumbled on the blog of author Kristen Lamb. Her posts on marketing, writing, and social networking really spoke to me because Kristen is very down to earth, and she struggles with the same things I struggle with. The only difference between her and I (besides she being female and me being male) is that she found a way to break through the marketing stigma and reach readers in a more natural, less salesman-type way.

Reading Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World was like breathing in fresh air. In it, Kristen does something which I haven’t seen other marketing experts do – she combines who you are with what you do. She directs authors to use their personalities, their writing talent, their hobbies and passions and share those things with the world in order to drawn potential readers close. She takes what you’re already wired for – your passion for writing, your passion for 24, your passion for cooking – and teaches you how to pour that passion out among everyone you meet online and in person, and let that passion build up who you are as a person, not just as an author.

Kristen presents a very holistic approach to book marketing, and it has really opened my eyes not just to better marketing strategies, but to who I am as a person. As shy as I am, I don’t always want to share my passion for movies, cooking, or parenthood, but Kristen shows you that by sharing your passions and connecting with those who share the same passions, you are more effective at building your author platform than when you constantly bomb Facebook and Twitter with countless ads for your book.

She also teaches you to give more than you receive. When interacting with ‘strangers’ online, many of us authors mistakenly believe that its okay to constantly bomb Facebook and Twitter with ads about our books and expect everyone to stop what they’re doing to check out what we wrote. But why would they even draw near to us if they think we’re only going to take their time and money and offer nothing social in return? Humans are about relationships, and relationship-building is the key to connecting with readers and potential readers.

I enjoyed this book because it changed my perspective on how to build an effective author platform and it changed the definition of online marketing. I definitely recommend this book for authors who are struggling to connect with others online and share themselves as authors.

You can get Kristen’s book for your Kindle here.

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