How many times have you heard or read something like this:
Writing books isn't good enough anymore. You MUST self-promote them.
A variation on this came up here last Friday, when Zoe posted a question about it (not to pick on you, Zoe; it was just a bit of a shock to me to think I'd have to ask my publisher for permission not to self-promote.)
I'm contracted by publishers to write books, not promote them. Which is a good thing in my case. Self-promotion is something at which I suck. Verily. Whenever I'm tempted to self-promote, the first thing that pops into my head is Can I write a check and have someone else do it? Then generally what happens is an idea for a story kicks the self-promo thought out of my mind and I forget about it and go back to writing books.
Self-promo dodging is an art, you know.
The latest thing being worried over by some of my writer friends is to newsletter or not to newsletter. I'm in the not camp. I've been bombarded by couple of authors who are one step short of being SPAMmers so I mostly delete newsletters automatically now -- when I can. One lit-head is becoming a borderline cyberstalker; I unsubscribed three times to this guy's self-promo rag (for which I never signed up) and it still shows up every month in one of my business or reader e-mail accounts (of course, this could be complete jerkitude on his part.)
I don't want to spit on the fabulous newsletter writers out there, though. If you're great at newslettering, go for it. Just make sure the unsubscribe link thing works.
I'm curious to know how other writers are feeling about this particular MUST these days. MUST authors self-promote now, or is it still okay simply to write the books? Tell us what you think in comments.