Please shut up about not self-promoting
Last month, a post advising self-publishers “shut up” (because self-promotion doesn’t work) made the viral rounds. It was written by an accomplished author with “a three-book contract with a traditional publishing company.” The essay reveals an awful lot of misperception of how social media works. For example, she posits the following:
It is a sad fact that if every one of my Twitter followers–which is 9,631, as of this post– bought my next book, [it] would hit the New York Times bestseller list.
But the people who followed her on Twitter weren’t agreeing to that purchase when they clicked “Follow.” (And if she thinks they did, it is not they who owe the apology.) They were agreeing to get to know her better. And if that happened — and they liked who they became familiar with — the book sales would be more likely to follow (but certainly not guaranteed). It’s a relationship. Not a contract. To assume more than that is to make a grave (but somewhat common) error.
Likewise, her misinterpretation of Facebook’s Edgerank system is not uncommon. And her viewpoints of other social media, such as Instagram and Tumblr, are dim. But she does take the opportunity to share some hard-won advice for self-publishers. Here’s an example:
“Spend your energy and time being kind to your colleagues, thanking your publishing team.”
Yup. Her advice to SELF-publishers is to be sure to thank their publishing teams.
Have you thanked your team lately?
That being said, she’s right about one thing: Self-promotion doesn’t work.
Not for many of us.
But that’s not because of an inherent flaw in self-promotion.
Rather, it’s because most of us do it completely wrong.
So, let’s talk about doing it right.