Friday, May 3, 2013

The awful smell that accompanies pimping a book

As a publication date nears, the anticipation of welcoming a new book into the world builds.  Unfortunately it is accompanied by a dread of having to do the promotion work that goes with it.  It is by far the thing I like least about being an author.  An indication of this is that of the last 26 books I've had published, I think I've only done 5 book launches.  I'm just not very comfortable with pushing the book into other people's faces.  That's not to say that I don't do the promo work.  I normally send round an email to folk I know, put up a couple of blog posts, do a few tweets and Facebook posts, tell people I meet about it, and occassionally have a book launch.  But I'm a reluctant self-publicist.  I'm in the process of sending out emails to other crime fiction bloggers offering a copy of Stiffed, the new novel published next Tuesday.  I'm trying to do it in a way that makes it clear there are no strings attached with the offer -- these are after all my online friends and I don't want them to feel obligated in any way, but nevertheless there is this awful smell of pimping a book hanging around the email.  I guess I'll just have live with it for a little while and get on with it.  After all, it's only fair to the publisher who has taken a punt on the book that I try to attract as many readers as possible.  I apologize in advance if you get cheesed off with the self-promo in the next couple of weeks, but be gladened by the fact that I'm living with a distinctly cheesy smell.  I'll make sure that normal business re. book reviews, etc continues.  Oh, and did I mention, my new novel, Stiffed, is published next week (can you smell that Stilton?)

4 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - Oh, do I know what you mean. I'll bet Stiffed will be great and I hope you have a terrific launch.

seana graham said...

Funny, but I can't detect any smell at all. It's not a bad thing to let people know your books exist, Rob. Beyond that, they have their own life and their own trajectory.

Rob Kitchin said...

Seana, I think it's how you tell people that I find difficult. There's a difference between passive (say a blog post or a poster) and active promo (where someone is approached), and also what is being said (I have a book out vs please, please, please buy/review this). I also dislike when an author does nothing but promote their book - I've unfollowed a couple of authors on twitter, for example, who tweet endlessly about their book and nothing else. It just about ensures that I will not read it. I'm a pretty forward and direct person, but I do feel somewhat icky doing the active promo work, esp. when it suggestions some form of prid pro quo obligation. You would not believe how long I spent drafting an email I sent to a few people offering them the book in a way I felt comfortable with and did not place obligations. Anyway, they're sent now.

seana graham said...

Rob, as someone who works in a bookstore, I do see a lot of self-promotion from the other side and would agree that it is a delicate business. But I think that as long as there is a little humility in your approach, which I'm sure there is, most people involved in the book trade will not take your promoting your book amiss. I agree though, that a blog that was simply self-promotion I would just stop reading.