Could there be a more selfish, vile, and annoying act on the internet? Well, I'm sure I could think of some other internet activities to which those adjective apply, but as a recent practitioner of unbridled self-promotion, I know the feelings all too well at the present moment.
On August 10, 2018, I independently published (that's a euphemism for "self-published") part 2 of my novel series, entitled The Revelation: Rise of the Fallen on Amazon, both in Kindle and paperback formats. A fine yarn for sci-fi, supernatural, theological, action/adventure fiction readers out there.
Ok, wonderful. I put a book out there that basically took the right side of my brain, which was filled with nonsensical fantasy, liberal extrapolation of theology, and good old-fashioned action/adventure fun, and splattered it on a bunch of digital pages in Word. But, as I point out on the "Acknowledgements" page, what was the point of writing it if no one would read it? Enter SELF-PROMOTION!
If you've ever created a product, blog, service business, raised money for a cause, so on and so forth, you understand the grueling task of self-promotion. From here, you develop a plan, strategy, and/or series of tactics leveraging today's modern technology. And even if you do so much, you cross your fingers and pray for more likes, retweets, shares, comments, and then ultimately purchases.
What have I shamelessly done so far?
- Bombarded all of my social media feeds with annoyingly frequent posts regarding book cover art, excerpts, little questions and games, pre-sale announcements, hitting the market. I'm sure several folks who are on the fringes of my network muted my posts, deleted, unliked, or flat out de-friended over such a barrage of crap about the same silly thing: a 182-page book about angels and devils fighting across the world as the apocalypse is unfolding (peppered with wit and personality!).
- Combed the rabbit hole that is the interwebs in search of book bloggers to review and feature my book on their website for their fans, followers and readers. Regardless of its effectiveness, I felt like a whore on the internet street corner looking for a book pimp.
- Purchased ads on Amazon to attract the readers who would otherwise know nothing about the book. These include Kindle device ads and website banner ads.
- Contacted a network of libraries to freely share the e-book version. This tactic reminded of the "sage advice" given by Jack (Thomas Haden Church) in the movie Sideways (2004) when talking to Miles (Paul Giamatti) on the golf course. "Publish it yourself, Miles. Get it reviewed. Get it in libraries. Let the public decide." If you're a film nerd like me, you would have listened to the DVD commentary from the two actors laughing during Jack's advice. And saying sarcastically, "The secret to literary success! Libraries!" But it's so stupid, it just might work!
- Reached out to book clubs as a prospective book for their readership and commentary. I could do a signing. I could take pictures. I'm a superb chardonnay drinker and book gabber!
- Contacted the Loyola University Chicago radio station (their listenership must be...50 people) for an interview because I thought it would be of interest for a few reasons:
- I'm an alum
- Main character is a theology professor from Loyola University Chicago
- Part of the first book is set on campus.
- I mean, come on! What else is on that radio station?? (If they happen to read this, I mean no disrespect. I would still love to grab airtime.)
- Beg for reviews. The algorithm in Amazon's system is dictated by sales and reviews. Obviously if you're Stephen King or James Patterson, sales are all that interests you because your readership likes you and will review you good enough. But, I'm a "literary" schmo. If you hit a certain number of reviews, it's been "proven" by customers. And what is one of Amazon's biggest features? If you like this product, try... or Customers who bought this item frequently bought... By the way, if you have read the book, please...review it on Amazon.
If you're inclined to read, here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G3JD9NX
Ugh, look at me. I did it again.
As I analyze the list, I think: "Hm, I have done a lot." But also I think, "Hm, have I done enough?" Because at the heart of self-promotion is having something worthy to promote. Writing is what I must continue to do. The integrity of the promoted product is all that matters. Gotta deliver the goods.
But I say: Self-promote shamelessly if you have to. Who else is going to be your cheerleader if you can't cheer for yourself a little bit? At least until you're big, rich, and famous enough to let other people do it for you. Until then, scream from the hilltops with pride that you created something worthwhile. You never know who may come across the product and catapult it to a viral status.
A heartfelt apology goes to the group of people, namely friends and family, for the badgering, texts, emails, and posts. I know you are forced to follow me because we share DNA, an alma mater, interests, passed work experiences, etc. Much love. I won't pollute your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram feeds much longer...except for this blog post talking about me talking about myself.
NOTE: This post was SORT of a follow up to a previous one: http://www.chicagonow.com/tales-of-awkward/2016/02/a-truly-novel-effort-at-awkwardness/