“Get someone else to blow your horn and the sound will carry twice as far.” — Will Rogers
There is nothing worse – and I mean NOTHING!! – than an author who over-self-promotes!
Now I didn’t say just “self-promotes” but qualified it with “over”, because we all need to do a little bit of promoting, within reason, to get the word out about what we’ve written. Even traditionally published authors need to promote themselves, because many publishers just don’t have the financial wherewithall to deal individually with each author on their list. And you authors already know who your personal and professional contacts are, anyway, so you have a better chance of attracting attention by approaching those people personally.
But what happens when you run out of those initial contacts and begin preaching to the converted, so to speak? How do you attract new readers to yourself and your work without becoming the kind of self-promoting author we all love to hate – the one who constantly blows their own horn? Why, you seek out other people in the book business who will toot that horn for you – people like me, fer instance. I publish a promotion blog called Reading Recommendations precisely because I want to offer other authors free promotion and help them get the word out about themselves and their books.
And because I know that by doing so – by promoting my fellow authors – I also promote myself and my own work. That way I don’t run the risk of sounding off about ONLY ME AND ME ALONE. I know I am not the first author to have published and I know I won’t be the last to publish, either. Why not promote as many other authors as I can? That way I provide my audience with different reading choices when they’ve exhausted everything I’ve written – and before they become exhausted with me!
And since I set up this blog and changed my approach to how I promote my own work – guess what? I’ve discovered that I’m finding more readers for my own published novel and novella, as well as for those other authors I promote. I’m receiving more reviews, I’m selling more copies, and I’m being invited to promote myself and my work on other blog sites.
But the best part is – I’m not pissing off my loyal family, friends, and current readers by constantly singing the same tune. I’m offering information about new authors whose work they might like to read. So I’m providing a service to readers as well as to my fellow authors – and I’m not pissing off anyone in the process.
(This “not pissing off anyone” part cannot be stressed enough! I’m sure you are, as am I, tired of authors who tweet and share endlessly about themselves and their latest, but never say a word about anything else. It all seems so desperate, don’t you think? Those who tick me off the most are the authors I’ve followed on Twitter who don’t then give me the courtesy of following me back, but instead send me a direct message telling me where I can buy their books or asking me to like their Facebook page. I unfollow them in a nanosecond! We all want to receive recognition for what we’ve written and published. But we’d be more inclined to become readers and fans ourselves, if those self-promoters just took a wee bit of interest in something other than themselves. Ya know what I’m saying??)
So I challenge all you authors reading this out there who have been guilty of over-self-promoting to change your ways! You don’t have to stop promoting yourself altogether, but figure out ways to promote your fellow authors. Or band together as a group and promote each other. This works very well if you are all writing within the same genre, but I’ve also known it to work for groups of writers who only have writing itself in common. You could begin by tweeting/sharing something about 4 other authors for every 1 tweet/share you post about yourself. That would work! Or you could set up a promotion blog like mine that is dedicated to singing the praises of everyone else in the business. When you do find blogs or sites like mine, share the information with your fellow authors. Here’s another great blog you should be aware of: Chris The Story Reading Ape (If you know of others, please add a link in the comments section.)
Read promotions about other authors on these blogs; share, tweet, like, and reblog your favourites. Discover some new authors, read and review their books, and help them to get ahead. Do all the things listed in the box up above.
I can’t promise you overnight success for your own books, but I do guarantee that – aside from the warm-fuzzies you’ll experience from having done a good deed – you will eventually reach a new group of readers, and your work will be exposed to people you never dreamed might want to read what you write.
So, please, for all our sakes, STOP THAT ENDLESS SELF-PROMOTION!!! Start discovering and promoting other authors. Believe me, your family, friends and fellow-Facebook-and-Twitter users will thank you! And you can stop feeling so desperate and enjoy your writing and publishing, once again.