Friday, January 31, 2020

Writing: Does It Involve Self-Promotion?

I get email almost daily that involves books that are on sale--sometimes discounted, sometimes at full price, but always with descriptions that lead me to wonder how I've live this long without reading them. In case you've wondered (and even if you haven't), most authors make money from the books they've written from the advances they're given and (sometimes) from royalties after these books have "earned out" these advances. And why are these books bought? People hear about them, are interested, and buy them.

One of the things I was told when I first got into this writing racket was that no one was as interested in a book I'd written as I was, so the only way to get the word out was...to get the word out. All of us who use social media have heard of the 40-60 rule or some variant of it. Plug your book in no more than 40% of your posts, reserving the other 60% for other things. Also, I've found it true that the best advertising is word-of-mouth, which starts with someone liking a book and telling others about it. But how do they learn about it? Ultimately, you get the word out.

The bottom line (if you'll excuse the hackneyed phrase) is that an author has to either get past his/her fear of self-promotion or employ someone who'll do it for them--publicist or whatever. Done well, and not beaten into the ground with admonitions to "buy my book," it can get past self-promotion and be a decent way to get the word to others. Not done well, it can be a real turn-off. It's a fine line we walk. Do I stray from that line? I hope that, if I do, you'll let me know.

BTW, my next novel, Critical Decision, should be available for purchase within a month or so. Those signed up for my newsletter (see right margin of this column) will hear about it first. End of self-promotion message. How'd I do, folks?