Self-Promotion Overload

Originally posted on the Xchyler Publishing blog, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Inside Marketing: Self-Promotion Overload

And now for my daily dose of The Irony Connoisseur:

This morning I responded to a post in a thread on The X’s ‘Authors’ Facebook page reflecting on a blog post by Mary Walters (the Militant Writer) about how much time we authors waste promoting ourselves on social media (SM). With my tongue firmly and consciously in my cheek I’m going to cut and paste my post here, probably with an edit or two to make my writing appear better than it was off the cuff:

I ended with this:

“I say all this as a confirmed non-reader of blogs. Sorry folks, I don’t give a crap about some cute thing your cat did or what you had for breakfast. 99.99% of blogs I’ve ever seen are mere exercises in narcissism. Give me content or give me death.”

But I first responded with this:

“I will freely admit to agreeing with Mary Walters (the Militant Writer), but only after I read her post twice and digested it thoroughly. IF my social media strategy is about reaching out to single readers and bombarding them over and over with my self-promotion in the attempt to sell them a single copy of my book, I am indeed wasting my time. I’m providing my readers with proverbial fodder for the recycling bin, just like every other junk mailer. Those efforts quickly reach the point of diminishing returns.

“BUT if my social media strategy is focused on attracting the attention of those whose business it is to review new work, to provide them with fodder for their blogs or review columns, then I may actually accomplish something–assuming, of course, that I have quality product to offer and am not inviting people to eviscerate my marketing effort with the kiss of death of a scathing knowledgeable, credible review. Because let’s face it: nobody has the time to write a review of a book they really couldn’t stand unless it’s by a big-time author; they have thousands of books they *could* review, but only choose a few.

“(In this case me = Xchyler marketing, the collective effort on behalf of us all, as well as me = me.)

“I’m 100% with you [Mary Walters] that I don’t listen to anyone’s self-promotion. But I do read reviews, and I make my buying decisions accordingly.

“In sum, I want (as do we all) to become a household name like Dan Brown, who just with his name on a new release guarantees millions of dollars in sales. But until then I will labor diligently to at least have my name out there, so that if some would-be reviewer googles me I’ll show up and show up strong. Toiling away in solitary splendor in my writing cave isn’t going to accomplish that.”

That’s what I wrote, and I’m standing by it, even if of the three people who will ultimately see it, two have already done so. (And no, one of them is not my mom: even she doesn’t read my writing; she leaves that to my long-suffering wife. And my editor.) My reach might not be long–yet–but the act of reaching is necessary.

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Posted in Marketing, The Author Business, Xchyler Publishing | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Self-Promotion Overload

  1. Wayne Halm says:

    Aloha Scott,
    Your third reader has a comment.
    Down in the south of Louisiana people use an expression, “You took the words right out of my mouth.” I know you didn’t actually do that because your words are better than mine, but the same realization and frustration is there.
    Promoting myself on social media is an exercise in patience and disappointment. Many will “like” the pretty pictures I post, but few will read the finely crafted words. Still, I guess the pictures are something, if I put my name on them in a big enough font.
    I talk to myself about all of this. I say, “Wayne, you’re just pissing into the wind.” Then I sit, stare at the floor, and vainly hope an alternative pops into my head – it doesn’t. So I admit out loud, “Well, you have to get your feet wet somehow.”
    I continue my efforts. And try to balance self promotion with writing – it would be embarrassing to become “famous” before I had a product to sell.
    A Hui Hou (until next time),
    Wayne

    • starbet says:

      Thanks for posting, Wayne.

      Yes, self-promotion is tough. Even tougher for those of us who consider ourselves artists with work which by all rights people should be clamoring for, right? But the world is changing and changing fast, especially in the arts and literature, and the mantra is “promote or die”. Otherwise we’ll never get our voices heard above the babble that is the free-for-all of the self-publishing marketplace.

      Good luck with your endeavors. Please check back soon.

      By the way, your mention of the south of Louisiana puts me in mind of my short story “Tombstone” (“Shades & Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology”, Xchyler Publishing, 2013). The story takes place in the Sabine River country on the border of southeast Texas and Louisiana. Check it out if you get a chance. The story is in development as a screenplay. We’ll see what happens.

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