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Dance, word monkey! Dance!

8 January 2013

This morning, I remembered to update my Amazon author page for the Supercritical release. A release, if you remember, that happened seven months ago.

This is one of the reasons writers probably shouldn’t be their own promoters. We don’t promote for a living — we write. Now, I’m not against self-promotion, and I don’t find it “beneath me as a writer” as I’ve heard some other writers say (note: those writers are really annoying). It’s more of a secondary job, and one I don’t do as well as the first.

Self-promotion is a necessary task, especially with the explosion of indie and self-publishing. Profit margins are razor thin (so the publishers would have us believe), so there’s just no budget for promotion anymore. And if you believe in your own work at all, getting out there to promote it, to champion your own work, isn’t a huge ask. And for the record, I think I’m pretty great.

It’s the way some of us writers go about promoting our stuff that’s a mystery. “Use Twitter!” someone will say, helpfully. Then you see about a thousand authors tweeting nothing but “Edge of Edginess is an edgy edge-of-your seat thriller that will take you to the edge! Amazon link!” I’ve followed a few of those authors because they followed me… then unfollowed them a few hours later. No one likes to be followed around by someone who says the same thing every eight minutes.

“Use Goodreads!” Look, Goodreads is great, and I like it a lot… but it’s falling prey to the social-network effect. There are now folks on Goodreads with 800 friends and no books rated.

“Do contests!” Not a bad idea. I do these, but the results are mixed. Still, though, probably the most solid suggestion this fictional person has given.

The point is, I’m not sure anyone knows how to promote books these days. I certainly don’t. So the question is out to you — have you seen a promotional strategy (for anything — book, movie, game, whatever) you thought was really cool? What’s the worst one you’ve seen?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 8 January 2013 1001

    For me, the best form of promotion is just being decent and having others talk about you. Sure, the Edge of Edginess writer may get more fans in the beginning through noise and milking contacts, but soon…those people will feel all dried up.

    I’d rather promote what you and other friends do than what I’m doing. I always feel weird hyping my stuff directly. I find myself buying things not based on an author trumpeting what they are doing, but rather…by finding an author through other means. Maybe they have a YouTube channel or podcast I like and then…I’ll pick something up. If I like that, I will not simply tell friends, “Hey, buy this book!” but rather, “Check this person out. They’re doing cool things and they also have some good books out.”

    There’s definitely a lot of saturation with anybody being able to put out their own stuff. These days, I rarely dig through Amazon or other places looking for e-books or new stuff because you end up wading through a lot of stuff that may not interest you. These days, I discover the person and then buy whatever it is they might be selling. As far as me, I’ll blog and do my thing, but I know it’s the rare writer who makes a living telling stories, and those who do usually don’t have the security that a day job offers. So my plan is simple: work and have fun…make stuff alone; make stuff with friends.

    As hokey as it sounds, that’s better than money. If money one day follows that and I can have more time to make stuff, all the better. But in recent years, it’s just been more about doing things than promoting things.

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