PSA: Put the ‘Self’ Back in Self Promotion

Dear Desperate Author;

I’ve seen your book. I’ve seen the cover splashed across the writers’ forums I participate in. I’ve seen the links you post on Twitter and I’ve skimmed the glowing reviews you’ve plucked from Amazon and Goodreads. I’d like to let you know that I know it exists. And I don’t care.

Ouch. That’s cold. After all, I’m a writer. Aren’t I in the same pool, thrashing around, desperate to get my work noticed? Yes, I am, and that’s part of the problem. There are thousands of us in here, amateur and seasoned professional both, eager to get a slice of readership from people whose free time is steadily shrinking.

Writing doesn’t pay my bills. It would be nice if it could, but I have a day job, and a house to keep, and a body to maintain. My free time is limited, and stretched between working on my own craft, reading to expand my horizons and those blessedly necessary moments when I turn off my brain and stare at the wall. I have to choose my reading material carefully—I just don’t have time to read everything that comes out. Sad, but true.

I’m sure your book is special, that it’s a knock out, and will change my life, but you’re not showing me that. You’re showing me a cover, and telling me it’s totally not going to waste my time. For reals. You’re posting reviews that, honestly, I don’t read. I read reviews after I’ve read a book, to see how many people shared my opinion of it. Reviews have never shaped my opinion on whether or not to buy a book.

Here’s where I turn my rant upside down: I’m not telling you not to promote your book. You’ve got to, or it’ll gather dust in obscurity, especially as a self published author. But like anything else, you have to put thought and effort into it. It’s not enough to carpet bomb the internet with “I HAVE A BOOK”. So what? Lots of people have written books. What makes yours so special? Better to start with “I have an idea” or “I am a person” and try to sell that.

And on that note, being a human billboard doesn’t work for me. Maybe it works for other people, but I can’t stand it. I hate advertisements. I do my best to ignore them out of spite. If you want ads, buy ad space. Social media is just that: social. Engage with people. Have them get to know you. Let them hear your voice and see into your mind. Introduce them to your thoughts, your education, and your imagination.

So you have a book –who cares? Do you have a soul?

When you ask someone to read your book, you’re asking them to take several hours out of their lives to devote to you—to put their time and faith in your ideas. If it truly is worth it, please take the time to show us why you deserve it.

9 thoughts on “PSA: Put the ‘Self’ Back in Self Promotion

  1. There are social groups who hunger for those “ads” and would be thrilled to have another book to check out. Send the authors to those groups where they’ll truly be appreciated – hopefully.

    • I wouldn’t promote my book. Not in a writer’s forum, anyway. I would showcase my writing style, or my characters, or my humor, or the bits of information that I researched in writing the book.

      • I agree you wouldn’t be placing that all in the forums because that would be annoying, but the article seems to suggest not to promote that way anywhere not even on your own blog. If you look at some of the more famous writers’ blogs that is how they promote their stuff.

      • No, the article wasn’t intended to suggest the internet isn’t the place for self promotion. A personal blog (in my opinion, at least) is different from social media platforms.

  2. Pingback: FAQs: What book promotion are you paying for? | C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

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