Thursday, October 15, 2015

The publicity trap

By Carolyn Henderson

I love writing books. I hate trying to publicise them.
When my first book was published – not the first I’d written, but the first to be picked up by a mainstream publisher – that wasn’t a problem. Ebooks didn’t exist, the only form of self-publishing was through vanity presses and legitimate publishers had publicity and marketing departments.
Fast forward and all publishers expect writers to work hard on generating publicity for their books, to the extent that some are said to only consider manuscripts from writers with a minimum number of Facebook or Twitter followers. Most established writers have always accepted that they have to get involved and those who self-publish have no option.
In fact, self-published writers, some of whom follow that path through choice rather than because they can’t find a “traditional” publisher for their work, are often brilliant at it. But where do you draw the line between making potential readers aware of your work and turning them right off it?
I love reading about new titles and about what other authors are working on, but can you blow your own trumpet too loudly?  

There are certainly times when, in my book, authors can be rude. Earlier this year, I ended the fastest Facebook ‘friendship’ in history.
An author I knew vaguely sent me a friend request and as soon as I’d accepted, posted an advert for her book on my page. No ‘Nice to link up, would you mind sharing this?’ – just wham, bam and not even a thank you, ma’am, let alone a request. Instant delete, instant de-friending.
I’d love to know what readers and other writers think about what’s acceptable and what isn’t. For interest, a friend who is a successful mainstream novelist is working on building a “street team”, often billed as a form of guerilla marketing.
I  hope I don’t bore you with too many plugs for what I’ve written and what I’m working on. If I do, feel free to tell me.
One thing I’m happy to share - and I know other writers on here will know how I feel - is that after a horrible few months where my family has been surrounded by death and disaster, I’ve got my fiction mojo back in action.

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