Shameless Self-Promotion

There’s no way around it; if you want people to read what you’ve written, you have to promote it. You’ll also have to promote yourself. You and your product are inextricably linked. Forever.

That’s just the way it is. But self-promotion, for most people, is a damned difficult thing to do. It’s even harder for writers. We’re used to being sequestered, hidden away in our cozy little garrets where we can dream dreams of varying sizes and pretend to know everything there is to know about whatever it is we’ve chosen to write about. Sheer bliss.

And, probably, sheer bullshit for most of us. The truth is we write despite obstacles and distractions, major and minor crises and somehow manage to generate something we hope people will want to read. For most writers, the work stops there. We hope people will read our stuff. We might even send out an email or two announcing the fact we finished the project that’s consumed us for-frickin’-ever. Don’t believe me? Ask a writer’s spouse.

The thing is, if the story was worth telling, it’s worth telling people they should read it, pony up a few drachmae, and find out what all the fuss was about. And, at least in the case of my own books, have a good time.

Why is that so damned hard for most writers to do? It doesn’t matter if we produce our books independently or have an agent and a publisher pushing us. Unless you’re a noted politician, a sports star, or a celebrity ax murderer, you’re the one who’s going to have to do most, if not all, of the marketing. Get used to the idea. Suck it up, buttercup.

So, in the spirit of practicing what I preach, here’s what I’ve done to enhance the sales of my work. In addition to this humble blog, I’ve taught classes on writing and publishing. I’ve done some public speaking. I’ve even done some advertising. Alas, the great, flaming tour bus of fame has yet to park in front of my house and bid me enter. There are, it seems, a <cough> few writers somewhat better known than yours truly.

But I’m not quite ready to rest on my laurels, or my hardies. (I readily forgive my younger readers for not understanding this. It’s old guy speak.) Nope, I’ve decided to try my hand at a promotional campaign. It will officially launch on August 25 and run for five days.

During that time, somewhere between 25 and 35 web entities will be flogging their readers, followers, and twitterees about the temporary availability of a free copy of my book, A Little Primitive. Though only available on Amazon, it can be downloaded and read on either a Kindle device or a computer. I don’t know the extent of my audience for this onslaught of ads, but there’s a chance I could reach upwards of a half million potential readers. I’d like to think I can convince 1 percent of them to take a chance. It’s a FREE book, for cryin’ out loud! What do they have to lose?

With any luck, I’ll hit my target goal of 5,000 downloads. Sadly, I won’t make a nickel in book royalties, but I’m okay with that. My diabolical plan is based on the hope that enough people will actually read the book, that when it comes time for Amazon to reward me for Kindle Pages Read (at just a hair under a half penny per word), I’ll make up the considerable investment I’ve made in the ads. Then too, there’s the hope that readers will be so intrigued by the characters in this book, they’ll eagerly cough up real cash in order to buy the two sequels.

I’ll report back in a couple weeks with the results. Wish me luck!


About joshlangston

Grateful and well-loved husband, happy grandparent, novelist, editor, and teacher. My life plate is full, and I couldn't be happier. Anything else I might add would be anticlimactic. Cheers!
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24 Responses to Shameless Self-Promotion

  1. dorisreidy says:

    Attaboy and bravo! Readers of sense and sensibility will gobble up your book(s).

  2. Sarah Ash says:

    Best of luck, Josh !!

    Sarah Sent from my iPad

  3. Susanne says:

    For this sentence alone you deserve the success you seek. “Alas, the great, flaming tour bus of fame has yet to park in front of my house and bid me enter.”

  4. Robert Mumford says:

    That is one great idea and I am sure that will work! Looking forward to your publishing class so I can learn all this cool stuff. But will you tell us Who’s on first?

  5. polinto says:

    I admire your tenacity. Good luck!

  6. gerald says:

    Josh’s publishing class will unveil some of those secrets publishers and printers won’t tell you. From personal experience of “shameless self promotion”-Lectures are a great source of book signings 7 sales, a few options: libraries, book stores, social organizations, trade show events. I even did a book signing at a church and rural sheriff’s department. Don’t be afraid to stand on your own soapbox, it’s only a mild embarassment!gflinchum

  7. Vikki Yoder says:

    This is ingenious! I’ve read some of your books, and I loved them. Your style of writing is unique and needed out in our world. I would love to read your book on my Kindle. I will
    be checking soon to see what classes you will be teaching this fall. I enjoyed the two classes I took last year.

  8. MaryCan says:

    My aspirations are so limited, I’d happily settle for having written the words in this blog post! Well, I’ve written most of those words, just not in that order, and that’s what I really like. Now would be a good time to say I forgot to tell you that I sent a box full of books to a niece in Utah a while back. She mentioned that she was reading Oh, Bits and absolutely loving it. Didn’t even know that I actually have met the author in person.

  9. Sarah Langston says:

    I will preempt by saying Josh is my Uncle by marriage. That said, Josh has an incredible mind, imagination and care for his art. I have folks in my own family I can’t say that about. If you come across an opportunity to witness his teachings, company or (most importantly) writings, do not pass it by. You will be so pleased for the experience!

  10. Cana Gauthier says:

    “Suck it up buttercup!” Haha, needed that. I hate self-promoting! Writers are supposed to be introverts by nature, but you’re so right – we need to promote!

  11. Wayne Fudge Hudgins says:

    I think it is a great idea. There is nothing shameful about self promoting your books or yourself. If you’re proud of what you have written tell it from the mountain top

  12. An-l says:

    Ditto to Sarah’s comment. Great blog and, what a great book offer. I’ve read it, and all the sequels, and enjoyed all of them. The characters are outstanding. To those who have the opportunity to win a free copy — go for it. I’m happy to hear there will be a sequel to O’Bits.

  13. Amanda says:

    Woohoo– best of luck! Your work speaks for itself; I bet you’ll get 10,000 downloads!

  14. Lloyd Blackwell says:

    Well, looking at all the commotion it appears I might be a day early but seven months late! I agree with all your comments about self promotion. It is, in my opinion, rather stupid to have your own horn if you can’s “toot it.” I believe in “tooting”, it is American as American French fries, and I am a loyalist. It is a little bit like having your own car but you can’t drive. How are you going to get readers if they do not know you have written a book? Well, the exception is the royalty in Hollywood who already have many unpaid “tooters” to do their work for them. Ordinary people like you and me have to do our own “tooting.” Simply stated: If you want your own book tooted, the tooting will be up to you because no one else will toot for you. The solution is simple and requires no permission – just take your horn an “toot” it.

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