How-To Discussion of Promoting and Marketing Novels and Written Works

Discussion in 'Writing' started by juzzza, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The following thread started out as a discussion in the 'Post your progress' thread, and covers the controversial topic of authors self-promoting at discussion forums. On the one hand, publishers and agents urge new authors to get their presence and their name (and the name of their books) out there on the World Wide Web...

    To spam or not to spam, that is the question...

    Some forums, such as this one, have rules against spam however, more importantly, what are the members' views on authors turning up simply to pimp their work?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2006
  2. roberteggleton

    roberteggleton Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Learn from My Mistakes

    I recommend that you govern enthusiasm. I got and still have too much, especially since I'm trying to contribute to a worthy cause. Consequently, I've made lots of mistakes with self-promotion, but, on the other hand, lots of positive results also. Again, good luck!
     
  3. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't think people should govern ethusiasm... just their behaviour.

    I'm all for self-promotion, it's when it becomes shameless self-promotion, where every interaction becomes a 'sell' when things get tiresome. I just completed a thesis on publishing, which touched on this very subject and included a fascinating focus group with consumers and published authors and their thoughts on authors self-promoting... it's the very reason I met my publisher in the first place and they are VERY aware of my thoughts on the subject and what I expect...

    :D
     
  4. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Messages:
    2,509
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What do you expect?
     
  5. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    A relationship, good communication, hard work and to sell nowhere near the amount of books that you have sold!

    Actually, it isn't about what I expect at all, that was a poor choice of words... it's what my thesis proved to be true (depending upon your interpretation of the results)... and it gives publishers a good insight into the postmodern genre consumer and how they like to be treated and what doesn't work.

    Is that the answer you were looking for, or did you want a 'no brown M&Ms' rockstar rant?
     
  6. roberteggleton

    roberteggleton Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well said.

    I'm a novice and still learning. My master's is in social work and I never had to promote any of my prior works. I just turned in close drafts and others took care of the rest.
     
  7. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Messages:
    2,509
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    :eek: That's a bit ambitious!
     
  8. Optimutt

    Optimutt Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Juzza's Thesis?

    I've never gotten around to do a study of any kind relating to the publishing world, and soon I'll be in the market for agents, publishers and the like. What kinds of things has your thesis turned up, Juzza? More specifically, how much and what kinds of self-promotion should a writer provide?
     
  9. roberteggleton

    roberteggleton Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm not allowed to mention the title...

    but, if you read my satirical essay, the mistakes with self-promotion become apparent. In my opinion, and I hope I don't get into even more trouble here, there is institutionalized resistance to unknown authors who compete for attention within a diminishing SF/F marketplace made stale by a trend toward instant gratification fueled by the proliferation of video, movies, CDs, new technologies, etc.

    The proportion of people who read anything for fun is rapidly declining, unless it's online and interactive. Therein also lay predators -- bullies -- marginally accomplished who want to downgrade self-promotion of creative arts, or even worthwhile causes, as SPAM!

    Due to self-interests propadanda, such posts are sometimes treated by conditioned youth the same as ones advertising fake Viagra. Unlike seasoned owners, some internet mods and admins have yet to achieve the wisdom of public service as a marketing strategy. I don't intend this comment as support for capitalistist intellectual exploitation -- it's a matter of sophistication. Internet marketing has not yet evolved to the place where profit and heart strings are tied, like so many traditional companies have accomplished, including ones that are fraudulent.

    Get ready for bumps. In my opinion, if you are not bashed on and banned from a few sites, your self-promotion is weak. Without self-promotion, your art, regardless of quality, will be never be recognized by today's authority. I don't care how many "workshops" you attend, traditional routes to art appreciation are dead. So, in my opinion, is proper protocol. Face it. If you've got something worth noticing in any field and have no connections, again in my opinion, it has no chance of large scale appreciation, culturally sad, even by your friends and family, unless you fight the machine.

    The real accomplishment is that if you fight and win, that you do not become part of the machine you defeated.
     
  10. MrBF1V3

    MrBF1V3 aka. Stephen B5 Jones

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    2,301
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    123
    ... are you telling me you are entitled to free advertising?

    Yes, some times you get it, but it's not a right.

    B5
     
  11. Jacquin

    Jacquin Shovelly Joe

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,927
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    An interesting opinion, I can't comment on behalf of other sites but that isn't the case at SFF, we simply understand that this site is what it is because advertising is kept off the boards and in the spaces of the site designed for advertising. That way we get to discuss such abstract subjects as this one without it interfering with the feel of the boards. If these "unknown authors" want to advertise their work here they are more than welcome to do so in the way all the people who advertise here do. By paying for advertising space.

    Yet the number of books being sold is increasing. I'm going to assume you are refrring to people who mod forums such as this one and reply on behalf of us all and suggest you read the first paragraph again. It isn't bullying, it is maintaining a site where you can advertise effectively should you choose to.

    To all intents and purposes they are the same thing. They are diluting the purpose of the boards and rendering them not only less enjoyable, but a less effective advertising space for those people who have chosen to put their money where their mouth is. After all SFF would not be here were it not for the revenue that advertising generates.

    Who are you trying to convince here?

    It's odd, Richard Morgan would disagree. I had a brief chat to him over at MDP's site and he is of the opinion that if you create a work that is truly worth reading it will sell regardless of who you know. This would seem to be backed up by the fact that he has shot from utter obscurity to fantasticly rich in the space of a few years. Yes you need to work damn hard to get it to the right people, but nothing worthwhile is easy right?

    J
     
  12. roberteggleton

    roberteggleton Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    what kinds of self-promotion should a writer provide?

    I was replying to the above question and presented a friendly caution. He may end up with a great ms but not have the money to advertise on this or other sites. I can't afford to advertise. I think that he asked a very good question and deserves an encouraging yet frank answer. To invest a great deal of time and emotion into a project, and then be.... I have to get ready to go to work.
     
  13. Jacquin

    Jacquin Shovelly Joe

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,927
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That may well have been your intention, but you should be aware that that was not how your post came across. I think Mr B summed up how your post seemed to be intended. I was simply attempting to explain to you why it is that your generalisations about people that run SF/F sites are wrong and they are not bullies who are institutionally opposed to up and coming writers.

    Surely if he has a great manuscript then someone will pick it up? Most of the big name authors today were rejected by a number of people before someone saw the promise they showed. I am not trying to say that all PoD is necessarily of a poor quality, simply that if you are marketing your own work you have to do so within the rules of the places you attempt to do so, if you can't afford to do this then don't do it.

    Anyway, this is now quite seriously off topic. I suggest if you want to discuss whether your right to self-promotion transcends the right of website owners to set their own rules some more we move it to the thread already discussing the pros and cons of PoD.

    J
     
  14. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm happy to share my thesis with anyone who is interested, PM me your email address and I will zip a copy off to you.

    One insight, which may be of interest, is that a lot of brands (not just authors) assume that online communities want to interact with them... they don't, they want to interact with each other. An author who turns up and plugs their book in almost every post is akin to a door-to-door salesman turning up in a small community, or the guy at the party who talks only about himself, never listening and never asking anyone a question about their interests.

    It's bad manners and ultimately turns people off the work, rather than generating sales leads. Marketing is no longer simply the transmission of a message, repetition, repetition and eventually they will buy... WRONG. Read my thesis, it touches on postmodern marketing and how the consumer has evolved.

    A community's desire to interact with an author changes when an author is well established, for a start people have read the work and may welcome the chance to discuss it with the creator.

    An author's time would be much better used, identifying the opinion leaders and opinion formers of this online global community, and by that I mean sites reviewing books, conducting interviews, blogs... sending them your book and hoping it gets a positive endorsement.

    Discussion boards are for discussion... go and have a look at Gary Wassner's forum... he's talking about the writing process, posing questions to readers, challenging perceptions on religion and philosophy... he isn't pimping himself in every other post... sure, he has threads on his work and he'll answer questions that are directed at him about his books...

    Gary sold a lot of books because of positive reviews but also because of interviews and his discussions in forums, and the way he conducted himself during these discussions. There's a difference between an author coming across as an intelligent, articulate individual with a passion for his work (which may prompt a reader to pick up his book in itself) and an author who is here strictly to do business.

    I believe authors who come to SFFWORLD will, if they are open to it, learn more from the members, than the members will learn from any author. But that's just my opinion.

    Another insight my research supports, is that the majority of readers want to discover new authors.

    There is plenty of opportunity in the writing section, to illustrate that you are a writer... eventually, members will ask you about your work and may even pick it up. You can't force it though, and another insight from my research, proves that your target market is an intelligent bunch of individuals who are pissed off with being treated like idiots by publishers and authors who are well established, let alone up and comers who force their self-promotion down their throats. If you want your work to be respected, it helps if YOU are respected and it's hard to achieve that if you disrespect the whole community with ill-conceived, thinly-veiled attempts to pimp yourself.

    A discussion board, is not a classified ads section. It's a meeting place for like-minded individuals, with a common passion. Communities grow, especially friendly ones, and there's always room for more here... but we don't like door-to-door salesmen that much.
     
  15. Jacquin

    Jacquin Shovelly Joe

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,927
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    @Juzzza

    Well said! Educational and entertaining. I'm impressed... ;) I think we might have to sticky that.
     
  16. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Expectations sure would be dull, if they were realistic!
     
  17. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Messages:
    2,509
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I thought publishers thought we were just the annoying extras that clutter up the christmas party... well that's what they told me after a few drinks. :D Have you found some that still like authors? Are they brand new?

    I went looking for roberteggleton's "my satirical essay" presuming it would be linked from his profile, but it's not. As a writer who teaches satire and doesn't sell much writing, satire about selling writing seems appealing, and I've seen really annoying writers do really well and their only talent seems to be the ability to make people give in.

    Where can I find this mysterious document of which you speak, roberteggleton?
     
  18. Jacquin

    Jacquin Shovelly Joe

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,927
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I assume this is the one.

    J
     
  19. BrianC

    BrianC bmalone.blogspot.com

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Messages:
    705
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hmm, not sure that I can detect the satire there. But look, the bottom line--practically speaking--is that there are ways to self-promote one's work without pissing other people off. It's a pretty sure bet that if your first post on a site is nothing more than a banner ad linking back to your own website, especially where said website exists by selling ad space, then you're going get deleted. It's another safe bet that if you go to an author's site--which exists to promote her own work--and start going on about your stuff, that the website owner is going to ask you not to come back.

    The issue of the first amendment is a strawman. It has no application to a forum posting on a private website, Lacy Dawn's opinion notwithstanding.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2006
  20. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton Edited for submission

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Messages:
    4,236
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Very good comments, is it possible for the mods to split the thread, removing the sections on the latest topic and placing them in a new thread???