More Cowbell!!

Most of you will understand the reference in the title of this post, but for those who don’t …

This came to mind when a professional friend asked on behalf of a client how that client might obtain more reviews for his book. He told her he had reviewed many books for other authors, but they were slow to reciprocate.

I suggested to my friend that her client is approaching this from the wrong direction. “IF” he only wants promotion for himself and his own book, he should then pay to hire a publicist who will provide him with organized publicity and professional reviews.

However, if he wants to take a long-term approach and promote not only his own book, but also writing and reading in general, then he needs to change his approach, become an important part of the writing and reading community, and work with other authors to promote EVERYONE in the business!

He could even take this one step further and become … an influencer. (And this is where the “more cowbell” part comes in.) We ALL need more influencers, more people in the background whacking on that cowbell behind the lead musicians, adding more noise and information – and promotion! – to the mix.


So when it comes to promotion, don’t just think about what’s in it for you and your own books … think of how you can play more cowbell for the sake of all authors. You will be amazed what this will eventually do for your own writing and publications.

So don’t wait for me or Christopher Walken to order more cowbell! Do us all a favour and become an influencer and help everyone get their books promoted, read and reviewed. Trust me, what goes around will come back around to you, as well.

I have written about this concept previously, many times, on this blog. Here’s a recent iteration on the theme: No Author is an Island. I offer some advice as to how you too may become An Influencer. Because we can always use More Cowbell!!


14 responses

  1. Never saw the skit before and have NOW seen it enough times to make up for it! I totally needed a good laugh and this SNL video supplied it. Also an important blog post. We each can and should find ways that work for us to promote other writers and good writing. There are many ways. One thing I’m trying to do in my locality – which others can also try – is to promote a local indie author event in our local library.

    1. Thanks, Jane, for reading and commenting, and I’m glad you enjoyed that skit – it’s a classic! We all need readers like you who will champion reading and books through their local libraries. It’s such a simple thing, to recommend books to librarians. I know it’s impossible for librarians to discover every book that’s a good fit for their collection, because there’s just too much out there they must keep on top of all the time. So if their patrons help them by suggesting local authors’ books – and then follow through by borrowing and reading those books – I know this will be appreciated very much by the authors themselves, the librarians and their patrons. When I was a publishers’ sales rep and selling the lists to libraries, those in charge of acquisitions at Calgary Public Library always asked to be told about local books and authors first, because they not only wanted to support those authors but also knew their patrons would be interested in those books in particular.

      1. I was given a review once by an author (NOT a local author) whom I had not heard of, and was so impressed by how he expressed himself – such an obviously good writer – that I asked the library to order his book, and they did. That’s something else that we writers can do.

        By book promotion, let me clarify: I’m actually working with our library system director to have our library do an actual local authors evening, where local authors can talk about and promote their books. Several town libraries in New England have done this; the question is how to structure this for our particular city (larger population, more writers, etc.).

        There are many ways we authors can raise the water level of the boat we all are in!

      2. I love you more and more with every comment you make, Jane! This is exactly the way I built my author promotion business a few years ago, by promoting a group of local authors (and not necessarily self-published). We organized literary salons in private homes (much like music parties that are so successful) with the idea that each author would attract their own personal audience, but those readers would also be exposed to the other authors in the group. It worked quite well, and I did talk with local libraries about the idea of expanding the “salons” … but then I moved away from Alberta. I know there are several libraries and other writing groups who are carrying on the idea of promoting groups of local authors, and that they have been successful in attracting readers.

        Thank you for all that you are doing in your area of the world! Now, if we could just convince more that this is a worthwhile effort to pursue in their own neighbourhoods …

  2. I loved that SNL skit and great advice. It works 🙂

  3. Great post! (And one of the best SNL skits ever!) I agree. We need more people to promote authors, but we also need people to influence other to do so. Thank you for pounding on the cowbell, Susan. You are always encouraging others.

    1. Thanks, Tricia! That means a lot to me, coming as it does from one of the best cowbell pounders I know!

  4. Solid ( and funny ) comparison. Picture/video is worth a thousand words…and sticks in the brain…all day long….

    1. Yeah, sorry for that earworm … Ho, ho!

  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Susan Toy with a post worth reading by all indie authors. And a link to a previous post that is also very relevant.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Sally! I hope trad. published authors will get something out of this too!

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