Self Promotion

I often worry that I try too hard or am completely bollocksing my attempts at promoting my stories. I have no formal education when it comes to marketing or promotion. The things I do know come from watching other, savvier people and even trying to do the opposite of people who have turned me off with their attempts.

So when a friend of mine took the risk (and dispensing advice, solicited or not, to a friend is always risky) of telling me what he thought of my efforts, I listened. He made the caveat to me that he’s not a marketing pro, but he does have at least a decade on me in age and experience and has done enough different things in his life to achieve some wisdom in my eyes. Some of what he had to say also came from people in his life that are/were pros.

This is what he told me (and I’m paraphrasing a little):

When I talk about the stuff I’m throwing out there, make it “Scott Roche’s thrilling novel, blah blah blah”.. third person only. It’s okay to say how great it is, IF it’s in the third person and nobody knows (except me, haha) that you wrote the ad. And when I talk about a review that a book/story I wrote got, say “X got a good review.”, not “I got a good review.”

When I post to Twitter or Facebook, don’t say “buy this now” or “my story is for sale here”. He believes that that’s off putting and it would be better to say “Download ‘Fetch’ here.” and provide the link for Amazon/Smashwords. People will know I’m selling as if it were free I’d probably say so.

He was also of the opinion that reviews don’t work so well, if they’re reviews done by someone that is a complete or relative unknown. His belief is that a good bit of cover copy goes a lot further in terms of enticing a reader to read.

He also said that I should probably never talk about sales numbers. I’d been talking some in the public stream about how low they’ve been and my efforts to improve them. I did that to endeavor to share with my fellow writers the reality of my own self publishing experience. In doing so though, it may make people think “if he’s not selling well, then maybe it’s because it’s no good”.

That’s the jist of what he said. He did go on to say that if he didn’t know me, if he weren’t close friends with me, that he would likely have blocked my feed because of what I’ve been throwing out there. I respect that. I have a higher tolerance for people pitching their stuff, but if that’s all they’re doing then I’d do the same thing. Hopefully there’s enough other stuff in my feeds that the promotion doesn’t overwhelm. For people like him, and maybe like you, even a little is too much.

I think what my buddy gave me was good, concise, commonsensical advice and maybe there’s more where that came from. Now it’s time to ask you folks, what do you think of this? What has worked for you in marketing your stuff using social media? Is he way off base? Have I annoyed you to the point where you’re ready to unfollow/block/put me in the corner? If I haven’t, has someone you follow managed to get under your skin and why? Whether you’re a self promoter or not I know a lot of people would benefit from talking about this.

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4 thoughts on “Self Promotion”

  1. For what it is worth. Your friend has a point. I am interested in what you write but for some reason it always appears several times on facebook. I miss the deeper thoughts of Scott. I would never block you because you do have some thought provoking posts that I like to go play Devil’s advocate on. But lately I have been glazing over all of them because there were so many promotions.

    You are a great writer and always have been. Let your work stand for itself. If you need more net marketing spread the love to other sites.

  2. I have to say your friend had some really good points, especially with posting in the third person.

    Do you flood your stream with self promotion, I don’t think so. There are some people out there that do, but in my opinion as long as your “plug” posts are no more frequent then one out of five then you’re fine. I recently posted in my own blog about feedback and where to post (you answered that blog and helped me decide to stay the course) because I was afraid of flooding people’s streams. Turns out you wern’t the only one telling me to keep it up. It seemed that people wanted me to post all over the place because no everyone can get on the web, or read all my tweets, some people prefer twitter, some facebook, some flickr and others my blog. So making my promotion available to all is essential and no flooding. So I give you the same feedback.

    As for agonizing over numbers, I think it’s impossible to not do that. I also think it helps, having that discussion out there for other indie publishing authors. That being said will it help you sell your books? Perhaps not, or perhaps, if people see an upswing in sales, sure. Will it push people away from your books? I’m doubtful, because if you got people to your website, I think you got them %50 of the way to buy your book.

  3. Oh, also, on the font page all your posts say Comments are closed, I only clicked to open the post so I could tweet the URL with some thoughts… but was so happy to see I could actually post

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