Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The sins of self-promotion

I confess: I am "BookNerd."

Looks like "Anon" is on to me.


Why did I recommend my own novel in the comment section of The Millions "Most Anticipated"?

Because, according to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 19,900 new books were published in 1996 in Canada. A staggering number that, with the ease of electronic publishing, I can only assume has grown even more staggering since.

It’s every writer for herself, people.

Is it unethical to comment anonymously on one's own book? Tough call. I actually do like my own book, so it's not like I'm steering people towards a crappy read. I'm not a journalist recommending a friend's novel in the media even though I know it stinks. I'm not trolling blogs and media outlets or hiring Russian spammers. I'm a writer publishing with a small press just trying to find my readers in a bloated marketplace.

I'm not wholly innocent, of course. I used a screen name on The Millions and, through the wonderfully ambiguous third-person tense, positioned myself more as a fan of my work instead of the author of. Is using a screen name a lie? Is using third-person? Is asking my friends to plug my book in the comments section in the Globe & Mail a lie? Probably, yes. But before you judge me, did you know that 19,900 new books were published in 1996 in Canada?

Self-promotion is awkward for me. Not because I'm humble -- ha! -- but because I judge others harshly for their missteps. I roll my eyes on the daily over authors' self-congratulatory tweets, retweets and worst of all the *retweets of retweets.*

I'd love to find a self-promotion strategy that feels comfortable but, as you probably figured out, leaving comments on book blogs ain't it. Not because I think it's unethical. But because doing so made me feel like an enormous twat.


2 comments:

  1. As long as you aren't beating people over their figurative heads with your book, don't worry about it. Self-promotion makes us feel crappy because we not-so-secretly wish someone else would shout about our book at the top of their lungs. Sometimes this happens, (and let us hope the book and author deserve it) but most of the time it doesn't and we have to do this shitty thing called "being our book's best advocate" aka "feeling like an enormous twat." Thankfully, we don't have to do this forever, just a few months around the release date, and then we can get back to the thing that sells almost all first novels. Kick-ass second novels!

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    Replies
    1. Here's to feeling like an enormous twat! And to kick-ass second novels!

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