Disclaimer: This blog post is written to make a point. Resemblance to any writer, living or dead, is not intentional. Things are elaborated and boiled down to make a point. Resemblance to any events that have taken place, or actions committed, is accidental. This blog post is not calling you out, you are not being targeted, and I don’t secretly hate you. Promise.
As writers, we get told that if we have a book coming out, we’re responsible for as much promotion as we can wrap our little heads around. More books are coming out each year, and there’s less time for Publicity and Marketing to spend on your title. Success, or failure, is totally up to you. No pressure.
Enter the age of overpromotion.
Overpromotion is annoying. Remember how no one wants to invite Negative Nancy to the prom? Well, no one’s going to vote for Billy Braggart, and in some ways publishing is an eternal Student Council election. Everyone wants to be President, but to do that, you need support, not scorn.
Everyone can think of someone who just goes too far. Their book doesn’t come out for a year. Their Twitter is 50 posts a day reminding you that they have a book coming out. They blog five times a week, and 4 of those posts are about their book. They set up a Facebook fan page for themselves, and invite you to join it on a daily basis.
Don’t do this.
It’s annoying. It’s overkill. And it may not hurt you in the short term, but I think it’s safe to say that in the long run, you’re going to gain a reputation you’re not going to want. Just like last time, remember that people talk. And people LOVE to gossip.
I think a big part of the problem comes from writers confusing followers for popularity. “If I have to get X number of Facebook fans,” or “I need X number of Twitter followers.” They start using their social media to tease and brag to their fans and nothing else. Honestly? Build a fan base by being interesting – you’ll sell more books that way. Otherwise, you’re just trolling for bodies – and bodies don’t buy books.
There’s an author – let’s call him Billy – who focuses on these things. But even with all those fans, the only people he interacts with on Twitter are the authors more famous and renowned than he is. On the flip side, you have tons of authors who go out of their way to interact with their fans, to thank them, and acknowledge them. That’s huge to someone who may not be a writer or in the business.
Promotion can be fun, and it can be done without going overboard. If you don’t follow Kiersten White, you should. PARANORMALCY comes out soon, and her #everytimeyoupreorderparanormalcy hashtag is usually followed by hilarity. It’s also NOT the majority of her Twitter account. It’s not overwhelming, and she doesn’t do it 24/7. Promotion, versus overpromotion.
The best piece of advice on this topic is simple: just keep asking yourself if you’re going overboard. Think about what you’re doing.