Self-Publishing: Promoting, 5 Things I Won’t Do

shhhThis is more of an anti-blog post to counter all those how to market your book type blog posts which contain a lot of crap, a lot of obvious common sense and a lot of ‘what planet are you on?‘, eg. Spend £20,000 on targeted Facebook ads!

Here’s a few things I see other authors do and other blog posts recommend which I won’t do because I think they’re either a waste of time or crass.

Ain’t no quick fixes here.

Tweeting…constantly about shit.

Oh look, my cat just took a dump. Buy my book.’

Streams and streams of retweets.

Tweeting at famous people, writers, publishers, mags, etc in an incessant, needy display of ‘someone please acknowledge me‘…OK, *blocked*.

If your tweet is selling something and is the 2nd one you’ve done this week selling something, then don’t tweet. I give writers a free pass on the week of publication, they deserve to go on an adrenaline fuelled rabbit session when they’ve made it that far.

If your tweet doesn’t interest someone who doesn’t give a shit, then don’t tweet.

Cut production costs to increase marketing budget

Produce the best book you can. Promoting the best book you can possibly produce with your meagre budget will be a lot easier than promoting a steaming pile of shit with a Stephen King’s ransom. You’ll be able to sleep at night and be proud to show other people.

Don’t design a cover by yourself or buy a pre-designed cover. Get a designer. Get an editor.

If you can’t afford both, get an editor then save up for a designer.

Be a dick to get attention

The internet is a magnet for dicks to shoot their mouth off on a whole range of subjects sure to ignite a firestorm. ‘Contrarians’ is the polite term for ‘a twat’. Authors do it too, on writerly subjects. It stems from the same school of thought as ‘no such thing as bad publicity‘, ensuring your name rises above the masses of reasonable folk until it becomes an easier, more inviting target. When the trolling inevitably garners a reaction then you just put up your ‘free speech‘ defence, accusing your detractors of tyrannical despotism.

Twat level: 11.

I’m not saying don’t be outspoken or opinionated. Be those things whilst also being empathetic, reasoned and mindful that the internet records EVERYTHING.

Be on every social network

I’m not on Facebook, as a writer. Sacrilege! I’m on there as a private person with school friends, old football team mates, work colleagues, family, etc but not as a writer. If anyone wants to hear from me as a writer, follow me on Twitter. I don’t want to confuse the two, by that I mean, I don’t want to bug people who know me in real life with the thousand paper cuts of being a self-published writer.

That’s what Twitter followers are for.

Yes, Facebook may bug me with baby photos, game invites and naively black-and-white political opinion posts, but I shan’t submit them to something far worse.

A Facebook fan page run by a writer isn’t going to be anywhere near as good as one run by a fan. If a fan wanted to create one and run it, great! It would be great to work with people who have the passion to do it. I don’t. I think I would totally be the wrong person to do it.

Google Circles? I’ve never been on it. I’m not even sure that’s the correct name for it.

I like Pinterest but for me it’s about images. I’m not convinced there’s a wealth of paying readers lurking over at Pinterest primed with credit card in hand. Yes, there are people that pay to read on Pinterest (I’m on there, so I know of one) but it’s not the right mindset. Ditto Instagram.

Goodreads – You should be on that.

There’s more to life than trying to keep multiple social networks entertained (like writing the next book) but you think I’m a stuck in the mud? I’m on Weibo. You know what that is, you ever seen any other writer on there? I haven’t. It’s the Chinese Twitter. I’ve set-up an IFTTT app to automatically tweet my tweets from Twitter over at Weibo too, in English. Does it work?

Never had a sale from China. Just one bored, rainy Sunday afternoon trying to complete a sign-up form in Chinese.

Should’ve been writing the next book instead.

I think the balance lies between being on the social networks your audience are active on and being on the social networks YOU actually want to be active on.

Writing vague, generic, bullshit blogposts

I should try to write more blog posts, something I have been doing over the last couple of months, but it’s hard when visitor numbers are minimal. It’s also hard to think of something interesting to say, especially when not much is happening on the writing-front or selling-front.

There’s plenty of bullshit writing blogs telling you about EL James and making millions of pounds, so-called selling secrets, etc. There’s a handful of really great writing blogs revealing a little of what’s behind the curtain, offering up gems of advice and poignant opinion. There’s a multitude of author sites set-up just as a destination for fans of that author to grab a little background info with links to all their books and where to buy them from.

Where can I fit in amongst all that?

I don’t want to bullshit, rehash inane generalities or simply re-quote the greats; ‘YOU can make thousands from self-publishing, pay me £100 for some bullshit course‘, ‘write more‘, ‘don’t show me the moon on a stick, show me the cream dripping from the knife‘. I don’t know enough to be writing about the mechanics of writing, plotting, grammar, etc. My writing career is just not interesting enough boring. I’m not winning awards, posting photos of me next to *celebrity*, celebrating the next major sales milestone or tweeting matter-of-factly but not-matter-of-factly-enough-because-the-action-of-tweeting-cannot-purely-be-done-matter-of-factly about plane delays, busy airports, late supermodels, scratched Massarati’s, double-booked 5 star suites, etc.

So why blog?

The point of writing more blog posts is to attract visitors by creating interesting content, the more content there is on your blog the more entry points there are onto your site via search engines, referring sites and social media, giving you more chances of your posts being shared. This, in turn, should expose you, your site and your book to more potential readers who will hopefully like your book and recommend it to others and write reviews.

All these stats and numbers then bode well for your next adventure into the realms of gaining an agent or hooking a publisher. Going to them with, ‘I’ve written a book plus I have 20,000 Twitter followers, 12,000 newsletter subscribers and 3 MySpace fans‘ is a much more attractive and commercially viable proposition than just, ‘Me write book‘.

NB. ‘commercially viable’ is OK. Relax. I wish I was commercially viable.

Producing one of those shitty ‘list posts’

You know the ones. Some blogger has a couple of ideas which don’t warrant a post by itself so they have to then think of a few other ideas to add to it to create one of those list posts. The further down the list you go, the lamer, more asinine the list items become until they’re really scratching the bottom of the barrel. Nowadays, list posts aren’t even a nice round 10, 15 or 20, you end up getting odd ones like; ’11 times writers pants fell down and they shit themselves’.

The absolute worse kind are those so-called smart Alec list posts where they’ve added a secret extra one, you know, just to be funny.