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Friday, 27 May 2011

Self-Promoting, Promoting, and Its Faux Pas

Aggie Villanueva posted a few perspectives about when not to promote on her Promotion al la Carte blog today. I not only wanted to share this link with others who want to avoid the faux pas of promoting their work, but also add some of my own thoughts.

One point Aggie made was where not to promote, and I can't agree more. Writer's forum groups (e.g. Publishing and Marketing, Writer Help, Publisher Submitting Guidelines, etc.) should be off-limits to self-promoting and over-promoting. These include groups on LinkedIn, or even pages on AOS which discuss non-promotional topics. Though AOS' general purpose is to promote as many writers as possible, there's times it had gotten excessive to the point AOS' fearless founder was annoyed.

There's nothing wrong with self-promoting as a whole; how else can we develop a readership for our new works or the latest news on how our current books are doing? However, promoting on the incorrect sites and forums tends to rub some people the wrong way, especially those whose only interests are getting/giving good critiques, learning about Kindle marketing, how to format manuscripts, agent querying, book contracts, et.al.

I've also seen my share of self-promoting and over-promoting. Self-promoting hasn't bothered me very much, since majority of the time they've done such in the proper forums or even on social networks such as Twitter. Though I'm just as guilty, I've also limited my own promotions to either my web site, blog, Facebook group, or Twitter.

I haven't had too much time to visit writers' forums recently; however, common sense will prevent me from printing synopses of my books in forums whose topics are about writing a good query letter or which (and when) new publishers are accepting submissions.

Over-promoting is another matter. For a long time I've kept quiet on this subject. I'm not going to mention any names, but I've seen a few smaller publishers that are guilty. What I cannot fathom is that such publishers sign - let's say for good measure, 100 authors - yet they only promote the same dozen names almost every week.
Where does that leave the other 88 authors, especially those who had decent sales or received some media coverage at one time or another? Do they not count? I've read everything from free ebook offers to book polls from such publishers which the same authors have appeared. I no longer participate in polls because of the latter.

If someone visited these sites and didn't know any better, it's likely they'd initially assume the publishers signed only those dozen authors instead of the full roster of one hundred (or whatever entire count).

Another issue that made me think when I read Aggie's post: overrun inboxes. How many of us have not experienced this at least once a day?  Do I really need to see posts about the same people every time they've sold a book or flushed the commode (Okay, the last one was a touch snarky, but you get the idea)? I've even unsubscribed to many of those digests because I got sick of reading the same names.

The joy of sites such as AOS is they focus on giving authors equal promotional time, whether they're unpublished, a new author or an established writer. It doesn't matter if authors sold one book or one million, we're here to profile as many talented faces as we can find (or in some cases, they've found us, which is great!).

Self-promoting and promoting are good tools when used the right way, the right time, and in the right forums/sites/emails/etc. I recommend reading Aggie's blog as well as thinking before when and where to promote.

I look forward to reading your ideas and feedback. May those who have a three-day weekend coming up enjoy it to the fullest (and perhaps take breaks from all that writing).

3 comments:

  1. Excellent post Lori. I tend to over promote on FB at times, but I also promote other people there too which is probably a tad annoying to some.

    I intend having the weekend off. It's our 29th wedding anniversary tomorrow, so I shall be out and on Sunday friends are coming for lunch and Monday I am off doing healing, so laptop will be closed down.

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  2. Happy anniversary! It's a long holiday weekend here, so it's likely I'll chill away from everything until at least late Monday =)

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  3. Bit slow on getting to this blog but like this post, Lori. I also get tired of the same names telling one they've managed to write a hundred words! If anything I tend to not promote enough. But feel a tad shy of pushing myself out there all the time. However, growing a thicker skin these days!

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