I'm least thrilled when self-promotion comes across as gloating, bragging, or insincere or flat commentary. Secondmost when self-promotion deprecates publishing culture in any way.
The single most effective promotion technique I've used is personally connecting with consumers. In-person as much as possible at promotional and publicity events is number one. Personal one-on-one, peer-to peer correspondence in the absence of personal contact. But correspondence that's not too intimately or familiarly personal content. What I had for breakfast? Phbbt! And always, always positivity and encomium (brief, sincere, and warranted praise of correspondents' qualities). Again, in a peer-to-peer register that's personal but not too familiar or intimate.
I was pleasantly surprised when I heard back in roundabout ways the praise for my manners that generated buzz for my products.
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First, I like your author's site and blog. It is easy on the eye in layout and with white text on black background. The print is a bit small for my aging eyes, particularly on the little netbook computer I use as my writing tablet, but this was fixable by a swipe of my touchpad.
The autumn country road banner was also "just right" with Fall nudging Indian summer from the woods and ocean breezes around my Maine home.
I've been paying a little more attention to author sites and blogs in anticipation of creating my own when I retire (more likely semi-retirement) from my day job two years from this month, if G-d so blesses me. My desire is to have a few more stories finalized by then and have enough of, I hope, sufficient quality to share. Until then, I'll send the few that my critiquers like to the traditional markets. Perhaps another one will be published, perhaps not. Either way, it still is good to have something to look forward to when, I now find I spend more time reminiscing of my past (since there is more of it). It's a bitch growing old sometimes, though it beats the alternative.
Your remarks are spot-on. Author sites are much like conventions. Fans visit them to meet and learn more about the author, to build (however necessarily limited) a relationship with the person who has inspired joy, wonder, and admiration in them. They sense a camaraderie, a bond. Misuse, well, sole use of social media to sell one's work is the akin to inviting friends to dinner and having them sit and listen to a spiel about Mr. Juicer, "the easiest way to provide your body with its required nourishment!".
Similar to your comment "Iím not disparaging traditionally published writers," [Those Self-Publishing Losers, http://pen-of-jsclark.com/?p=150#comment-562], I'm not disparaging those who need to promote their works to make a living. As Rabbi Hillel sais 2100 years ago:
"If I am not for myself, who will be?"
but he also said:
"if I am only for myself, what am I?" --Talmud, Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14
An author's site and blog, like everything in life, must find the right balance.
I understand I will be one of the exceptions; blessed after decades of hard work in another occupation, not only to, as you write in your blog post, not need to choose tradional paths for my writing nor write for editor or publisher or even reader approval and praise, but I will also not need to write for my daily sustenance. So who am I to disparage those who must? Those who will be forced to tailor themselves to the market in order to survive? In truth, such gritty reality more likely assures their literary success, while I scribble notes to myself as a form of self-literary masturbation. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Anyway, I concur with you and Mr. Duran (whose works look compelling, btw), that an author who is only concerned with self-promotion and not making the emotional and intellectual connection to his audience is also likely to be diddling him/herself in the dark. Courteous and respectful behavior as well as fun and camaraderie is necessary.
The old wisdom is often the truest:
"Do unto others as you would wish them to do to you."
And, I guess, that is my pre-blog blog post for the day.
quote:Originally posted by enigmaticuser: Dr. Bob, thanks for the shameless plug, and as always articulate thoughts. I need to get myself a talmud at some point, but I'm behind on reading already.
>chuckle< The Talmud is a rabbinic Scriptural commentary collecting a thousand years of discussions and arguments, mostly legalistic, from two thousand years ago. It is a unique and, for the uninitiated, obtuse work.
In print, it runs to 36 volumes.
As a Jewish legal text it is not as much "read" as it is studied. There are groups of students and teachers who will read and study a page of Talmud a day. These Daf Yomi will thus complete the reading of the Talmud over a cycle of seven years. Then start again.
In contemporary American terms, it is the Jewish "Common Law" as the Torah (Scripture) is the Jewish "Constitution."
As for blogging and promoting, I have no idea what particular ratio of "Hi. This is me." versus "Buy my new book!" is appropriate. The best salesmen I've found are those who are not overt in promoting their product.
I envision an author site as not only the opportunity to discuss, and provide give and take regarding, the author's work, but also on matters of general interest to the author. This interest may or not be shared by the fans, but they learn something new about the author that further creates relationship. It is this relationship that helps the author sell books (i.e. fans, as publishers know well, will pay money simply based on the name of an author).
This then leads me to consider: "If author websites should not merely be concerned with advertisement and self-promotions, then how and where should one self-promote and adverdo sotise?"
The answer to me seems to be through tradional and new media. For example: JS, have you sent New Arbor Day to reviewers? Perhaps local papers or on-line Christian literary or sf genre sites? Or advertised the book in their publications or on their websites? Have you done readings at libraries or participated in book events that promote local/state authors?
People on Twitter and Facebook aren't there to buy things, but to connect with other people. It is okay to mention a few times that you have a book published, but if all your tweets and updates are advertisments, people are going to get annoyed. You will come across as insincere and only there to sell your book. No one wants to feel like you are only friends with them to sell them something.
The thing about trying to sell through social networking is that it takes up a lot of time, and won't result in a lot of books sold, IMO. You should only do social networking because you enjoy it. I don't think it is a good marketing tool unless you are very popular and have already made a ton of connections before you try to sell the book.
I think your best chance to get your book noticed is to send free copies of your book to book bloggers and online reviewers that review the type of books that you have written. Just don't pay for positive reviews.