Without promotion something terrible happens…Nothing!
So said PT Barnum, patron saint of shameless self-promoters everywhere.
In the Midwestern United States, braggarts (see also: blowhards, bigmouths, and blabberers) are extremely frowned upon. There’s a thin line between pride and douchebaggery, and people are quick to call you on it. Growing up, I was always very careful to not crow too loudly or if praise was given, to accept it with sincerity but immediately deflect it. That was just the polite thing to do.
However, as I’ve gotten older and become less pressed about the opinions of others, I realize that it’s okay to celebrate your achievements and/or talent. As with most everything, it’s all in the way you do it.
There’s a lot of emphasis lately on writers building “platform”, which is just a fancy-pants way of saying “self-promotion.” Whether you’re self-pubbing or linked with the proposed RandomPenguin, the challenge is to stand out from the pack without coming off annoying, obnoxious, or desperate. Of course you should talk about your book. But don’t let it be the only thing you talk about. Variety is the key. Like Chris Brogan said, “Marketing isn’t bad – bad marketing is bad.”
As a huge fan of writers and a potential consumer of your products, I’m curious about your process, what inspires you, what makes you excellent or what you consider your fatal flaw. Even seemingly mundane details like your favorite breakfast cereal can add insight to your awesomeness.
But you have to start talking. Don’t be afraid to peek out from the writer cave and let us get to know you. It’s okay to draw back the curtain a little bit and invite us in. In fact, it’s crucial to your success. Let’s face it, just being a good writer isn’t enough.
Or take it from @speechwriterguy:
There are scads of untalented hacks — people who couldn’t write their way out of a paper sack if you handed them a sharpened pencil, people who typically don’t even WRITE THEIR OWN BOOKS — who sell more books than great writers.
It doesn’t even matter how bad the ghostwriters do their job. These books sell like hotcakes anyway.
And no, I’m not talking about some weird subgenre of books that live in an alternative universe. These untalented non-writers sell all kinds of books: fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, whatever.
What’s the secret?
You know their name.
Do you believe it’s important for writers to build platform or is it a bunch of literary hooey?