Friday, July 18, 2014

Promotion Hell

Promotion of one's creative works is just outright hell. It goes against my nature to act like a salesman, but if you don't let people know about your work then you're certainly doomed to obscurity. But in this world it seems you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

I joined Facebook to connect with both family and with writers and readers who share my particular loves, such as fantasy, pulp fiction, SF, and Westerns. I comment often on other people’s posts. I share teasers from friends about their work and I do post about my own. I don’t very often post a straight sales-pitch, but I do put up teasers or quotes from my own work. I only do this on average about every three or four days so I don’t think it’s excessive. I try to make most of my "promotional" posts funny anyway in hopes that a few people will get a kick out of it.

I did a post like this yesterday. It’s the back cover blurb for Swords of Talera, which I wrote myself, and I included a link to the book on Amazon. When I paged back through my feed the most recent promotional item that shows up was on June 20, so that’s a pretty good while.

However, I got a comment on my post. I quote: “Stop posting sales pitches or I will defriend you.” Someone else then ‘liked’ that comment.

Wow, one post a month with a link to one’s own work is apparently excessive. I’m certainly not going to quit doing what I’m doing. I personally like to hear what other writers are working on. And it’s fine to me if folks who aren’t really my friends “defriend” me. Still, I have to say, it hurt just a little bit to get up and see that kind of comment first thing in the morning. 


Tom Doolan said...

Oh, good lord. Really? Honestly, I would have defriended them right away. I mean, someone giving a negative review or an honest criticism is one thing, but that's just being rude. Makes you wonder why they were your "friend" to begin with.

Brian Miller said...

good riddance? smiles...oy....
did you comment back "really its a whole lot more interesting than what you had for dinner last night"

i gave up FB years ago

Richard H. Fay said...

One of the reasons I joined Facebook and Twitter was to promote my works and network with other writers, poets, and artists. Unfortunately, I'm not a people person, and I have a nasty habit of making enemies of people that rub me the wrong way. So, the promotional aspect of social media doesn't always work well for me.

I once had a (former) artist Facebook friend of mine say he was going to block me for a while on Facebook because of all my brags, promotional posts, and rants. I can understand why he might have been annoyed by the rants and promotional posts, but being annoyed by my brags as well sounded a bit like jealousy.

Facebook is a strange, and at times unfriendly, thing.

nephite blood spartan heart said...

Bizarre, but "shrug" who needs 'em?

Riot Kitty said...

Screw that person. Promotion is hell (I'm not good at it), but once a month? And it's your fucking page.

Plug your work on my blog (I don't have a Facebook page.) How's that? :)

Adventuresfantastic said...

There's no pleasing some people. Try not to let it bother you; just Tuckerize them in your next work instead of worrying about what they think. :)

Sarah Hina said...

Wow. How friendly.

It's a nauseating business, but as you said, there's really no other option. I imagine the vast majority of your friends and acquaintances have no problem with what you're doing. They understand it's part of the job, and if they know your character at all, they probably know it makes you uncomfortable, to boot.

Charles Gramlich said...

Tom, pretty ridiculous indeed. I don't understand folks.

Brian Miller, lol. That would have been a good un.

Richard, I actually don't post a lot of promotional kind of stuff but it is one reason I joined facebook. And everyone on there is promoting something, even if it is a political viewpoint.

David J., I don't know why I let it bother me.

Riot kitty, I haven't established a professional page on facebook because I like to comment on all sorts of things and don't do that much promotion anyway. I probably should, I guess.

Keith West, oh I will, a nice horror piece. :)

Sarah, it's one reason I haven't sought to friend people on facebook other than writers/readers and family or personal friends.

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Beat him to it and unfriend him first. Once a month is not excessive. Damn, think how many post daily stuff on Twitter.
Glad I'm not on Facebook.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have to say that the person who said this isn't worth having for a friend. Perhaps some people are just on here to shoot the breeze, but others have to, despite their dislike of it, use it for other purposes from time to time. Once a month is pretty fair usage.

Ty said...

Once a month is far, far, far more than fair, and even lenient. I understand one can become bombarded with all the advertising and self-marketing on social media, but to take it out on someone who posts something promotional only on a rare basis is beyond ludicrous, it's downright stupid. There are a lot more artists of all stripes on social media who constantly and consistently push their stuff, so there are plenty of valid targets.

Cloudia said...

That person is not a friend.
I SO feel the way you do about sales. I'm sick of it, I'm sick of doing it. Today a friend came into town who I met because he likes my book! WE and our spouses are real pals now - they even have a condo in the same building for when then are here. He recommends my book at his general store in CA. He always buys a few more copies to take home in his luggage. So my book has made me rich if not in money. The people who really like it - it just blows me away. Meanwhile, I'm finishing (please ye gods) a romance type novela with a heavy sexy twist that I will sell to Harlequin or someone like that, or turn into an ebook and market as long have I been talking? LOL

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= <3

Cloudia said...

So many trolls on social media picking fights over nothing. Block them and move on!

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, barring LinkedIn, I'm not on Facebook or any other social media, but that's where I'll head first the day I publish a book and really promote myself and my work. To sell a product, you've to be visible, be in the public eye, most if not all the time. So I don't think there is anything wrong in promoting your books more often than you do now. You'll find the "comments" section of practically every website across categories filled with absolutely inane comments by those who have no purpose in life and that includes the "likers". They are all losers and knuckleheads. The one who commented on yours was being plain nasty—whatever made the pathetic fellow think he was your friend.

Randy Johnson said...

I wouldn't worry about. Me, I'd say unfriend away. Why were you here in the first place? But I don't have anything but my blog to promote.

Folks like that don't get what Facebook is all about. Certainly more than just posting cat pictures.

When I joined, I had a niece tell me she knew I would join sooner or later. While I have family and local friends, my main reason was the same as yours. To keep up with what favorite writers were up to. Of my 175 friends, only a dozen odd are family. The rest are writers and editors.

the walking man said...

I saw that comment Charles and my first reponse was a big FUCK OFF TWIT! but then I realized you wouldn't want that. Even though a lot of my thinking has been that way lately, I refrained. I would have shared your post yesterday but I done a share for Candace' shop just the day before, but I will be sharing it today with my own review of your writing.

It is in part what I was writing about in Bhodi of Buddha, we sit in the middle of a circle of flame and that fire is consuming all as it approaches, unfortunately most peoples fiery thoughtless pain is reflected in their public interactions and that person is just another degree of heat to that fire. So unnecessary.

Charles Gramlich said...

Dr. Kold, come again?

Alex, I'm not on twitter myself, :)

Patti, It's mostly the folks who post about their personal bias multiple times a day that get to me. For example, some folks seem to post nothing but religious or political stuff. But even that is their own business, of course.

Ty, there's also a fine line in the sense that facebook is for posting about things you find interesting. If you find writing interesting then that's part of that.

Cloudia, yes, I shouldn't waste a minute on such people.

Prashant, from looking at his page he's a bit of an 'activist'. Part of his personality, I guess.

Randy, that's probably close to my own percentage of facebook friends. Some family, a few old friends, and writer types

Mark, thanks, man. I certainly do try to keep a balance in how I post and comment on things, but some self promotion is necessary.

Ron Scheer said...

It's a delicate balance, Charles. In your case, I don't mind the self promotion because your other posts are typically so thoughtful an/or thought provoking. You give something in return for the attention I pay. It's not different from commercial TV and radio. If the programming is good, you don't mind the occasional commercial. I lose patience though with some people's constant self-promotion. All me-me-me.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ron, it's hard to know what balance to strike. I sure don't like it when people do nothing but self promote but how much is too much is tough to figure out. And I'm sure it differs for different readers.

G. B. Miller said...

I feel your pain my friend. For whatever reason, months ago either some reported my book blog or it temporarily had an semi-unsafe link it. In any event, whenever I post a book link containing my book blog, I have to do the CAPTCHA for it, which is completed right after I complain to Facebook about my book blog being called "suspicious".

And what I'm working on now is re-release of my commercial debut that I recently received the rights back to.

Father Nature's Corner

BernardL said...

That's ridiculous. One of the best things about FB, aside from family and actual friend connections, is interacting with readers and writing friends. It is a great way to share coming releases, and share thoughts on editing, publishing problems, and of course our writing. I have to recheck your page, my friend. I didn't see your post. Are you adding your own 'like' to it? That puts it on everyone's news board.

BernardL said...

Yep. I checked, Charles. You need to like your own post, or it doesn't show up on our news feed. If I were you, I'd delete that guy's comment. If he was honestly put out about your short preview, he could have messaged you.

Oscar Case said...

Wow!You received a lot of comments on that post, Charles. Those who don't like what you post can just drop off. They don't have to read it. Marketing is the toughest part of writing, and I am not one to do a lot of of it. I hate selling anything.

Snowbrush said...

"Promotion of one's creative works is just outright hell. It goes against my nature to act like a salesman, but if you don't let people know about your work then you're certainly doomed to obscurity. But in this world it seems you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t."

I feel like singing the part of the hymn that goes, AMEN...AMEN...AMEN, amen, amen! Damned with guilt if I don't try to publish, damned by the burden of publishing if I do try. No wonder so much of what one reads is crap, it being not the best who get their works out there, but the ones who are willing to play the game.

ivan said...

I self-promote all the time, especially on FB "Newmarket What's Happening," and I see you are on board, Charles,as well as others in your circle.

Can't be a line out of a Clint Eastwood movie, "You're a legend in your own head."
More like Captain Kirk, "make it so?" :)

Chris said...

Ditch 'em, Charles. I'm friends with plenty of writers and artists, and promotion comes with the territory and I expect it. If they don't understand that, that's their problem.

Charles Gramlich said...

G. B., you wonder how this kind of glitch happens. Sorry for that bad luck.

Bernard, I do like my own posts sometimes but hadn't been doing it regularly. Thanks for the heads up.

Oscar, yep, one reason I never became a salesman of any type.

Snowbrush,some play the game well. I've never been able to do it quite right.

Ivan, I'm a legend in my dreams, I think.

Chris, I did unfriend him. Don't need that negativity.

Erik Donald France said...

Sorry to hear that, Charles.

I wonder what makes people tick with comments like those that "threaten" de-friending unless so and so.

Almost any artist or creator of any type basically "has to" promote from time to time, and pretty regularly while active.

Good luck and godspeed ~!

eric1313 said...

Preemptive blocking of that person might be called for. It's far superior to a defriending. They possibly won't ever know it happened.

ivan said...


Who would defriend Charles Gramlich? Lovely, inoffensive prose and fiction.

Dare I posit,

Jeaolous bastards.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, thanks, man.

eric1313, I did unfriend them. But blocking might have been better. But it just seemed like a waste of time to be their friend.

Ivan, you must be correct. Absolutely!

jodi said...

Charles-I can hardly imagine that you were too offensive. You have to get the word out there and people like that deserve the 'unfriend'. FB bugs the hell out of me for that very reason. He/she is probably the same person who posts what they ate for dinner. Sheesh!

Rachel V. Olivier said...

Charles, if they're going to defriend you over that then they're not worth it. Someone should point out to them they could always just click and hide the posts or hide all your posts if they wanted to, and stay your friends. But it's up to them. Not you. You stay being you.

Charles Gramlich said...

Jodi, I thought about returning the favor by finding one of his stupidier posts and telling him to stop or I'd unfriend him. :)

Rachel, yes, they were extremely rude given the circumstances. Thanks for the support.

Snowbrush said...

P.S. I wouldn't worry about being "defriended." Just so long as they don't threaten to track me down and kill me, I can live with being "defriended." What a stupid thing to say! "Defriended" indeed.

Charles Gramlich said...

Snowbrush, yeah, even that phrase seemed very presumptuous.