Brain Babies: No, It’s Still Not About You
A while back, I wrote one of these about authors who were getting upset that specific groups were being asked to submit, to the exclusion of everyone else. I made quite a lot of fuss about how those folks should just sit down and be quiet because they already had their turn. And because they’d have another turn any second now.
Again, in today’s social climate, we’re seeing a lot of calls for submissions by black folks, and, since it’s also June, calls for subs by LGBTQ folks. Great! Wonderful! The rest of us can afford to sit this one out.
While we’re on the topic of things not being about you, I’d like to touch on something that’s been bothering me a lot lately. Self-promotion to the point of being an asshole. I understand that self-promotion is a necessary evil. If we don’t let people know we have books, no one is going to buy them. I get it. I do.
I loathe doing this, by the way. Hate it. I’m constantly afraid someone is going to tell me I’m being annoying and they don’t want to read my books because they’re probably annoying too. So, I tend to err on the overly cautious side of promotion and likely don’t do it enough.
I find writers who shout out constantly to “Buy My Book!” to be overbearing. It honestly makes me avoid buying their books. I understand. You’re excited. Cool. When a book first comes out, or gets a good review, I do this too. But, if you’re hammering my social media feed with nothing but demands that I buy your shit…I’m not gonna buy your shit, dude.
I have a glorious solution to this dilemma about promotion, however. I do. It’s really cool because it accomplishes two wonderful things: it generates sales and makes other people appreciate you. What? How does that work? I’ll explain.
You promote someone else’s book!
Yep. That’s it. Read something you like? Don’t just review it on Amazon and Goodreads (I mean, do that. You know reviews are like an oasis in the desert for us, right?). Also, let everyone know you liked it. Shout it from the rooftops. Get on your platforms and say, “Y’all need to read this book. It’s the bomb!” Or, however you talk. You do you.
We need to have one another’s backs. It’s not a competition. Your success is my success. Readers wanna read and we owe it to them to point them in the direction of great books. Also, you will make that writer’s day! You might make a friend too.
So, please, remember, it’s not about you. You do need to self-promote, naturally. But, you really need to promote each other. Because, if you do this for others, you boost them up. And, who knows? Maybe someone will do it for you too. Maybe we’ll all benefit from promoting each other. Pretty sure that’s what will happen.
But even if it doesn’t? Even if we don’t see an increase in our own sales by promoting someone else? Who cares? It costs you nothing and you did a fellow writer a solid favor. That’s good enough for me.
And, back to that other thing: if you see a call for authors and it’s outside your particular group… instead of getting mad about it, how about you nudge the people you know in that group. Let them know a publisher is looking for stories by them. And then, if they sell it, you can tell everyone you know what a great story it is.
Thanks for listening.
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Ken MacGregor writes stuff. Sometimes, he edits stuff too.
He has two story collections: AN ABERRANT MIND, and SEX, GORE & MILLIPEDES, a young adult novella: DEVIL’S BANE (YA winner of the 23rd annual Critters Readers Poll), a co-written (with Kerry Lipp) novel: HEADCASE (available in serialized form), and is a member of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers (GLAHW). He is a somewhat regular contributor to HorrorTree with his column Brain Babies. He has also written TV commercials, sketch comedy, a music video, some mediocre poetry, and a zombie movie. Ken is the Managing Editor of Collections and Anthologies for LVP Publications. He’s curated two anthologies: BURNT FUR for Blood Bound Books, and STITCHED LIPS for Dragon Roost Press..
When not writing, Ken drives the bookmobile for his local library. He lives with his kids, two cats, and the ashes of his wife.
Ken can be found at the staggeringly egocentric-named website kenmacgregor.com.