Enough Already! The Self-promotion madness

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday 

Guest Post by the Fabulous Roni Loren 
Enough Already! - The Self-Promotion Madness

Writers are a special breed of human. No, not all of us are the same. There is no one "type" that fits all (though if you're into Myers-Briggs, the INFJs--which is what I am--are seriously over-represented amongst writers, considering it's the most rare of the personality types.). But on the whole, many of us have a lot in common. And one of the things we often find ourselves agreeing on is that--self-promotion is no fun.

Having to promote yourself flies in the face of our natural tendencies. Most of us are the type who prefer to be behind the scenes, to help others, to build close relationships with a few instead of surface ones with the masses. We want it to be about the book, the story, not about us.

Writers typically want to be the anti-celebrity. Sure, give us the money that may come along with getting famous (I know I wouldn't turn that down, lol), but please don't make us talk about ourselves in front of people. Ack!

But alas, part of our job as a writer is getting the word out there, promoting our books and promoting ourselves. So we do it like good little worker bees. Unfortunately, it seems that many of us are doing it wrong.

Twitter has turned into advertisement central. There are so many self-promotional tweets that it sometimes feels like walking into the internet version of Times Square. And don't even get me started on people DMing me right after I follow them to tell me where to purchase their book.

It's a constant barrage of promotional white noise.  Buy!...Check out my book!...Free download!...On sale for 99 cents!...Look at this amazing review I received!...Like me on Facebook!...Visit my author page!...Follow my blog!

Ahh! *covers eyes* Make it stop!

Then you start seeing blog posts pop up talking about how to drive up your followers, how to bury SEO keywords in your titles so that you grab random people through google, how to ingratiate yourself on message boards to find readers. How to hunt people down like dogs and expose them to your book.

Dude, it's ridiculous. This is not who we are, people. We are not Ron Popeil selling food dehydrators. (See Kristen Lamb's blog for more on the difference between book marketing and traditional advertising.) I'm not trying to "trick" people into liking me. That's useless. It's disingenuous and people will see right through it. In the end, it will hurt you more than help you.

You want people to like you and buy your book?

Be genuinely likable and nice to others. Interact. Go into things with a generous spirit and a true desire to be helpful and friendly. Oh, and write damn fine books.

If 85% of your interaction online is interesting and genuine and you being a real person, people won't mind if 15% of the time you mention you have a book coming out or a blog post you'd like them to read. They'll "like" you or follow you without you *gasp* having to beg them or bait them into it.

And leave the truly blatant book advertisement for things like blog tours, reviews, conferences, and book signings where people are expecting it and are more open to being advertised to.

Believe me, your followers will thank you. (Hopefully by buying your books, lol!)

So what do you think? Are you ready to get pitchforks and take back Twitter? What makes you unfollow someone? What makes you want to support an author or buy their book?

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. 

Her debut romance CRASH INTO YOU will be released January 2012 by Berkley Heat/Penguin. If you want to read more posts like this one or follow her journey to debut authorhood, you can visit her writing blog Fiction Groupie or her author blog. She also tweets way too much for her own good.