I Got 99 Problems But Writing Ain’t One

10 Apr

As sometimes happens, a Kindleboards post has inspired a bjournal post, which is a fancy way of saying ‘I’m just going to copy and paste, suckah!’. Just kidding, I don’t think you’re a ‘suckah’. I just like the way it sounds, ‘suckah’. Suckaaaah. I’m gonna get you, suckah!

But anyway.

The discussion was sparked from this post by Jennifer Hudock, entitled “There’s a Time and a Place to Promote”.

The gist of the post is that people are getting tired of independent authors leaping onto message boards solely in order to promote their books. I don’t do this, personally, for a few reasons:

1) I don’t enjoy bothering people.
2) The long-term effectiveness of the technique is questionable.
3) I’m not a complete prat.

And also:

4) Even the thought of doing something like that makes me go ‘wibblewibblewibble’ and curl up into a little ball, not necessarily in that order.

Rather than ‘selling’, I think that the promotional focus of indie authors should be on ‘exposure’. I’m speaking as someone who’s just starting out–a definite first-stager. No platform, no fans, no reason for anyone to care who I am or what I’ve written–except maybe they read a blurb or a sample and they like it enough to take a chance. The difficulty I have in building relationships with my readers is that I don’t have any. So in order to get readers I have to work to expose my books–and myself–to as many people as possible. But leaping onto messageboards and forums yelling, “Here I am, here’s my book, try it!” is tacky and tasteless and quite frankly I couldn’t force myself to do it if I wanted to. So I’m just quietly plodding along, a happy turtle, poking my head out and talking and joking and there’s a link to my website if anyone’s curious, but for goodness sake don’t click it if you’re not interested, I won’t take the slightest bit of offence. I’m just happy talking about whatever we’re talking about.

I’ve chosen the slow road, because although I’ve seen that the shameless, in-your-face, all-publicity-is-good-publicity techniques can work to get sales, they’re both short-term in their effectiveness, and short-sighted. For every sale you get, you annoy dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of people. You make the world a little bit worse, and for what? A handful of sales? No, no, no, it’s not the right way to do things.

Honestly, I don’t expect to see any real results for a year, with the way I’m doing things. But I believe that I will eventually start to see good things happening, and I’m optimistic about where I’ll be in April 2012. Until then I’ll just keep plodding along, taking advantage of opportunities as and when they arise, talking to people and having fun, and always, always writing. That’s what I love, and that is always where my focus will lie.


Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Of Writing


Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “I Got 99 Problems But Writing Ain’t One

  1. Buddy Gott

    April 10, 2011 at 13:23

    Hi Ben. I admire the approach you’re taking and I plan on going about things the same way when my first book comes out in a couple of months.

    I frequently visit the Kindle Boards, various writers’ blogs, etc. What stands out most to me and what makes me most curious about reading a book by the writers in those places is their own personalities. If I grow to like the writer, I’m very likely to read their material.

    Not only have I been lucky enough to develop some new friendships this way, but I’ve also been discovering a lot of great writers and great books.

    All the best,

    Buddy Gott

    • Ben White

      April 10, 2011 at 17:32

      I think that as time goes by there will evolve a culture of etiquette about this–it’s all still very new and there aren’t many established ‘rules’, especially pertaining to conduct. Eventually, though, things will settle down and I think that this method–the quiet, subtle, ‘it’s here if you want it but I’m not going to try to ‘sell’ you on it’ approach will become the most common. Otherwise everyone’s books will just be lost in a sea of shouting.


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