I’m not saying that I blame grunge music, but sometime in the early 90’s it became cool not to care. Worse than that actually, it became cool to look down on anyone who did care…about anything…or anyone who tried to succeed at or enjoy life.
Today, we live in a culture that has been so blinded by this weak philosophy that we are actually hurting ourselves and we don’t even know it. Take Fan Fiction for example – the more authors who get their FF stories published, the more it validates that community as a valid and viable source of truly excellent writing. Yet, so many in the community have adopted the view that to succeed professionally means that you are some kind of sell out.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it THE DREAM to find something you love and get paid for doing it? Are we so full of jealousy that we can’t be happy for all those who create any kind of art?
I bring all this up because in order to understand how to promote yourself, you must first understand that you have to fight through a culture that already resents you in part for having the nerve to try. This makes it all the more important for you to be sincere and conservative when you are tweeting or posting about your book.
We all have those authors in our timelines who talk only about their projects and never seem to even take a breath; and we all know what we think about those authors. That’s not to say that you can’t promote yourself, but you need to weave those gremln tweets and blog re-posts with actual and authentic communication. You need to show that you are more than just your book, that you are a champion for other authors and artists, that you are invested in the community and not just handing out flyers on the street corner.
It has been a long held belief that the best way to promote yourself is to get other people to do it for you. This is not an easy task and if one has any hope of achieving a street team scenario they would have to have had a relationship built up already (or at very least a ravenous fan base).
However, if you can get some blogs to review your book you’re doing pretty well. Most bloggers are happy to receive an arc in exchange for an honest review, and the more of those you can secure the better chance you’ll have of reaching beyond your own personal sphere of contacts.
Again, I would like to stress that genuine integrity will go far and real friendships are the first step in becoming the type of person others will want to see succeed.
My wife and I have about six or seven gremln tweets that do all our dirty work for us, (tweeting links to Amazon and what not) which allow us the freedom to enjoy a more carefree and personal relationship with our online buddies. We thank anyone and everyone who re-tweets, no matter how many followers they have because that’s just the polite thing to do. We also look for opportunities to re-tweet exciting news and links from those we see promoting their hard earned work.
Just being thoughtful and not obsessed with your own success is a great way to live your life anyway, but as a promotional tool, it’s the most effective template.
There is enough space on the global bookshelf for everyone. There is also enough room for all the great music, poetry, and paintings that are being lovingly produced by amateurs who are hoping one day to dedicate more than just their free time to their craft. I, for one, am proud of anyone who has the guts to put themselves out there. It’s not easy to get a book published or a song recorded, or a painting to come out just right. To cheer one another onward is my greatest wish for our online literary community. I hope that everyone can be recipients of the kind of support we have been given since Exposure came out two months ago because everyone deserves that much.
In fact, if you have read a book that moved you and you want to do something nice for the author who wrote it, just leave them a review on Amazon. Since Amazon is currently the industry’s barometer, every review helps writers appear on more digital shelves and suggestion boxes. With the exception of buying the book in the first place, it’s the single greatest thing a person can do for an author they like. It becomes a form of promotion for them in the biggest platform currently available. This is why you’ll see writers asking for support in this very specific manor.
If you are an artist promoting your work, feel free to believe in yourself and make honest statements on the quality of your wares – just don’t make that the only thing you bother saying to anyone. If you are a reader, you have a lot of power to greatly assist in the continued exposure of your favorite reads.
If you are looking to make the transition, I offer you all my encouragement and support. Just ask.