Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Real Estate of Self-Promo

Sometimes I study a problem for a long time and get nowhere. Like what works with author self-promotion -- I've been at this dilemma for almost ten years now. I've read marketing books. I've analyzed the tiny amount of stuff that seems to work and the mountain of stuff that doesn't. I've hunted the elusive snipe of hard data. I've conducted my own controlled experiments (some successful, but most, eh.) I've looked at so many different approaches to and types of self-promotion that my corneas hurt.

All that, and I'm still not any closer to determining precisely what works and what doesn't. I have a handful of maybes and a drawer full of promisings.

Then the other day I was cruising the blogosphere looking at author blogs that primary are for self-promotion purposes (you know, the all buy-my-book all the time variety) and I started idly comparing author photos, posts, contests and what have you. The authors each had the requisite soft-focus Glamour Shot portrait and wrote patently phony but definitely chipper posts peddling themselves and their fiction. Most of them used that cutesy rah-rah pompom-shaking perky quasi-girlie talk so beloved by certain publishers and writer organizations that drives me right out of my skull.

P.S. If I read "I hope you enjoy reading my novel as much as I loved writing it" one more time, I'm going to need insulin shots.

I glanced at the newspaper by my desk to compare this tripe to the language of a journalist trying to sell me his questionable political views, saw a real estate ad at the bottom of the page, and then laughed. The homogenization level is so similar that you could exchange any author self-promo on blogs with any real estate advertising ad, billboard, etc. out there and you know what? No one would notice because you really can't tell the difference between them.

I understand the need for security via uniformity and conformity -- that's why we call the herd the herd -- but blending in does not sell books. I've seen too many talented writers tank over the years; writers who should still be out here working in the biz, and aren't because they got lost in the herd.

Finally I saw what I've been doing wrong, going at this problem as I have so that I could nail a one-size-fits-all answer. Like the secret handshake, there isn't one. The answer is as individual as the writer is (or should be.) We each need to find what sets us apart from each other, not what makes us into all one big blur, and build on that uniqueness.

What do you guys think?

52 comments:

  1. I think I needed this entry...bad. :/

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  2. I abhor that sugary-sweet "gosh I'm just so darn talented I can't bring myself to express anything other than complete satisfaction with myself" crap, mainly because it sounds precisely like the 99.44% pure bullcrap it undoubtedly is.

    Perhaps I'm just desperate to project my own neuroses onto other writers so I won't feel so alone and adrift as I wrestle with them, but I think that as much as we logically understand that all art is subjective, creative people are secretly terrified that the work they slave to create is somehow verifiably rubbish. Simultaneously, we have the specious marketing notion that "confidence is everything" rammed down our throats with such regularity that the shame erupting from the fear grows exponentially even as its tangled limbs can never be revealed to the outside world. (What if a prospective agent or publisher were to read that you (gasp!) aren't absolutely 100% positive that you're the next Hemingway/King/Palahniuk/whoever?)

    So what you wind up with is a micrometer-thin patina of simulated confidence and joy pasted over bullet-sweating desperation. Personally, I think you might as well mix chlorine with bleach for all the good this weak brand of unconvincing theater does for sales... but then, I'm not a published author (yet) so what the hell do I know? :)

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  3. scribereglyph12:39 AM

    I definitely agree with you. I think that is a big problem and not just with authors. It seems that everyone wants to be noticed for the unique individuality in themselves and in their creativity but are too afraid of being rejected for just such. I am one who likes to share and express my uniqueness, be it in an story concept, character design, or a particular view on an element of writing. Uniqueness and individuality is what spurs change and evolution.

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  4. Lynn, if you ever figure it out, let me know. ;) I have had some fun for the last month with a couple of contests and blogging as a guest in several places, but even a week of doing that makes me sick of me. I swear, I am not good as any sort of self promotion, because I sort of cringe at the concept. And yet, how are people even going to know a book exists? There's so much clutter in our lives, so freaking much to do.

    Very thoughtful blog. Like you, I've got a list of things I've tried, and I've done the sort of experimentation you've mentioned. So far, the only thing that works is if someone just happens to like the book and then blogs about it. (Well, publisher support, of course, and co-op work. National popular magazine reviews. I'm not even sure if great trade reviews work.)

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  5. I've been thinking about this, too, and part of it still boils down to writing a book other people want to share.

    As for the Web sites, the only part that concerns me is the section where I can download an excerpt. I looked at one writer's work after she left a comment on another site about the joys of promoting her work as oppposed to signing a contract with a publisher.

    I DL'ed her two books. Gave her points for making them PDFs, but she lost points because they were double-spaced pages in Times Roman.

    But it didn't matter. The stories did not engage me.

    Another aspect that might prove shuddersome to some writers is thinking about how the stories might be marketable. A series with a strong, easily identifiable character and a strong, memorable title, with "extras" that might offer added value for visiting their Web site.

    For example, on a Strange Maps blog, I saw someone's interpretation of Sherlock Holmes' residence. It was beautifully drawn. If I hadn't heard about the series, I'd be far more likely to look into it.

    This means that self-promoting authors would have to consider designing their worlds, maybe even hiring Web site designers and artists, to flesh out their stories. Sort of like George Lucas hiring the people to create his vision.

    On the other hand, if you're going to all this trouble to design your world, this gives you an opportunity to use that information, and seeing what other people come up with could add to your writing in return.

    This isn't being done much now, so those who take the lead will probably receive a lot of attention.

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  6. Like real estate, part of the problem is that there isn't a one-size-fits-all customer, either. One person's dream home is another's teardown or overpriced monstrosity. One person's favorite novel is another's mindless dreck. The match between buyer and seller, reader and author, is as individual as the people involved.

    Houses are usually sold one at a time, person to person. They're expensive enough to justify a lot of hand selling. Books are usually treated by commodities, but they're actually not. And the books that succeed are usually the ones that inspire readers and/or booksellers to hand sell them, one at a time.

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  7. I heartily concur. Perhaps one ay enough people will read my blogs to generate sales. Until then, I'll write anyway, for my visitors have increased 25% over the last three months (from 3 to 4).

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  8. "I hope you enjoy reading my novel as much as I loved writing it"

    I feel my blood sugar spiking just from reading this in your blog. Ugh.

    Feel free to slap me into next week if I ever put such tripe up.

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  9. I have a twin sister. In college, she mentioned that I was trying to be different and she was trying to be the same (as the other one).

    Since we look alike, this was a challenge for me, but very true.

    I check your blog every day, because you are who you are and not the same as everyone else. Viva la Difference!

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  10. OK - admittedly I have sold FAR less books than you and been writing for smaller markets, but I just wanted to share something that worked for me...

    About three weeks ago my publisher and I decided we would use one of my books (my latest, a compilation of somewhat quirky "horror" short stories) as an experiment case for online marketing.

    This sounds so much cooler than it actually was :)

    What we did, however, was to put it online to read for free (but not downloaded). It is currently up at Issuu.

    Right now it has been read some 4000 times, but more importantly bought by another 20 readers.

    This might not sound like much, but the book had sold in roughly 1000 copies since launch in mid november.

    I can't say this is for everyone, but for personal marketing of me as an author, it has worked out fine. I have quadrupled my reader base, the publisher won't have to send out review copies, but can point any reviewer to the site instead, etc.

    By making it readable but not downloadable on the Net, we made it available for those who are casually interested, but for people who love BOOKS they still have an incentive to buy it. A book is, after all, portable and certainly works more reliably than a computer ;)

    From the publisher's point of view I am not too sure of the business side of it, though. It might be too early for evaluation there, too.

    And again - greater, more famous writers might not need to to this to get read in the first place. For me it has been a sort of "herding the fans" kind of deal.

    FWIW

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  11. I think you're right. It does have to be individual. I'm still trying to figure out how to use my individual strengths effectively, but I know I can't do what Author Z did to be successful because I'm not Author Z.

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  12. I got some good advice recently about this: do what makes *you* feel good. As you mentioned, the fake stuff seems forced, and may do more harm than good.

    I happen to like contests and giveaways, so I focus on doing that. As it happens, my last contest was on author promo -- I asked readers to chime in with their favorite promo items.

    Overwhelmingly, the favorite was books and excerpts (samplers, ebooks and the like). Though plenty of respondents also liked bookmarks, pens, etc, most preferred writing samples.

    Blogs can serve that purpose, too. I started reading your books b/c of your blog -- your generosity and writing skills won me over :)

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  13. self promotion is a topic that could give me hives.

    I hate doing it.

    I know I have to do it to some level.

    I think I've found a comfortable medium that works for me...the question is will work as well for my sales as it works for me.

    Only time will tell.

    Regarding pics, the one and only publicity pic I have that I'll let people use if they absolutely think they have to have it...I'm blue.

    I took a pic of myself in profile and solarized it. So I'm blue.

    A friend told me I looked like a smurf. Fortunately, my editor got a kick out of it.

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  14. If people enjoy your books but find your blog boring, they stop reading your blog. If people enjoy your books but find your blog offensive, they stop reading your books. I think the effort to be universally inoffensive limits the hypercautious to the relentlessly saccharine presentation. It probably doesn't do them any good for promotional purposes, but it's also unlikely to cause them harm.

    Like Bill said above, the best marketing strategy will always be to write a book people like enough to tell other people about, then write another one. Lather, rinse, repeat. Everything else is optional.

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  15. I think romance authors in particular spend a lot of time trying to balance being part of the "in" crowd with standing out from the herd, and the drive to be an individual tends to lose out.

    Put another way, sucking up to the Romance Blogger Du Jour makes you look like an insecure little lump of oozing desperation, but refusing to play by their rules nails a target to your back. It's a shitty choice, but the stink of "like me...please like me!" turns me off every. single. time.

    Having listened fairly closely to the mutterings on the various reader loops, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. I would've chosen the target anyway, but now I get to paint it day-glo pink!

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  16. Yeah. You go, PBW!

    Why oh why oh why do you bother with a blog when you're not willing to put any bit of yourself into it? Why be a bit of sugary-sweet candy floss when you can be something loads more substantial?

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  17. Jordan wrote: I think I needed this entry...bad.

    It's probably post-BEA traumatic stress disorder. We're just glad we got you back in one piece (Jordan has a post about surviving the Grand Annual Publishing Pimporama here.

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  18. Cameron wrote: Perhaps I'm just desperate to project my own neuroses onto other writers so I won't feel so alone and adrift as I wrestle with them, but I think that as much as we logically understand that all art is subjective, creative people are secretly terrified that the work they slave to create is somehow verifiably rubbish.

    You are not desperate or alone, Cameron. Behind the Pro Writer Facade most of us do wrestle with our perceived inadequacies. Sometimes I think it's a curse, but other times I feel like it's an edge. Developing self-confidence is vital, but it has to be tempered with a desire to find ways to be better at your craft. If you're so busy congratulating yourself on what a fabulous writer you are -- and I've yet to see a self-proclaimed fabulous writer who deserved the title -- you stop trying to surpass yourself, and you stagnate and wither.

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  19. Scribereglyph wrote: It seems that everyone wants to be noticed for the unique individuality in themselves and in their creativity but are too afraid of being rejected for just such.

    Inevitably there is some rejection involved when you separate yourself from the herd, especially if what you do on your own works well. Acceptance by your peers is also a powerful incentive not to do anything but what they do -- and it's killing this industry.

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  20. I think you are looking at those sites as a peer and possibly being too hard on them. Sometimes bland and generic is the best way to get along to go along. I understand why some authors choose that route.

    Now. Having said that, if you are blogging as a promotional tool, I recommend that you stop right now. Update announcements and appearances on your website but don't try to interject your personal life into the sales schpeal for your books unless you are writing your autobiography.

    Blog as a writing release, as a connection with other people, and just because you have something you want to say out loud. Do not blog for promotion unless it's an RSS feed to your author's website. Do not blog hop to drag traffic back to your boring promotional blog if you have one. People will start forming opinions and people with opinions go viral out of your control.

    Sail your little promotional craft on the surface of the ocean using a website. Do not get into the water with the blog sharks if you are at all concerned about your professional, writing "image".

    As Tess Gerritsen said (I paraphrase) the only safe blog is offline.

    Re: Selah's comment.

    I'm good with the target. It keeps me out of far worse trouble elsewhere.

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  21. I used to read a lot of blogs. Now I read very few. Yours is a daily read. Why? Because it's not empty sugar. It's honest and revealing and fun. But most importantly, because your blog isn't about "what can my readers do for me today?" It's "what can I do for my readers today?" You educate, you entertain, you give honest answers and sometimes you even give away books!

    Too many blogs do nothing more than eat a reader's valuable time. Even agent's blogs, which supposedly are meant to educate, often turn into cheerleader blogs (for the agent's clients) or into drivel. And the commenters just suck up to the agent. Yuck. I stopped learning things there ages ago.

    I started with your blog before I read your novels. If your blog had been a sugar blog, I never would have picked up one of your books.

    Hey, maybe we can coin a new phrase. I like "sugar blog." We already have the phrase "kitty blog" so why not?

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  22. Toni wrote: Lynn, if you ever figure it out, let me know.

    I certainly will. Meantime, watch for the next thing I get crucified for doing -- that's usually a good indicator I'm scaring the herd.

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  23. In recent months, I've heard several industry experts tell me what I've been suspecting for some time. Most of what we think we need to do for self-promotion doesn't work and is a waste of time, money and effort with very little Return on Investment.

    Book trailers, mailing out stacks of bookmarks to stores, gifts for the "major" buyers -- mostly worthless. Print ads -- definitely a waste of money.

    Several touted Internet marketing and Internet ads as more effective -- and suggested placement on non-traditional sites. Look outside the book sites or the romance sites for blog communities frequented by people in your target demo to expose yourself to new readers.

    It was enormously freeing to hear all this, and more. I wish I'd known it when I first published. I spent a great deal of money in a losing effort because nothing I did was going to expand my distribution from a young company and that company didn't have the money to place me in a bookstore's prime real estate.

    I continue to blog because I enjoy the process and I rarely pushed my books. I'll promote someone else's book if it rocks my world. If/when I have another book published, I don't know if the blog will accomplish anything for me, but I'll keep doing it as long as I enjoy doing so.

    Your blog has a much higher profile and more wide-spread rep. It is its own desirable real estate on the Internet. This is rare. Good for you!

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  24. Bill wrote: For example, on a Strange Maps blog, I saw someone's interpretation of Sherlock Holmes' residence. It was beautifully drawn. If I hadn't heard about the series, I'd be far more likely to look into it.

    That is a gorgeous map -- definitely an interest magnet for me, as I'm an architecture junkie.

    This means that self-promoting authors would have to consider designing their worlds, maybe even hiring Web site designers and artists, to flesh out their stories. Sort of like George Lucas hiring the people to create his vision.

    I agree, as long as it's not too busy or involved. I can think of a couple of authors who've effectively drawn on their world-building for promotional purposes (off the top of my head, Lori Devoti's silhouette were-icon from the mythic theme of her Nocturne series is simple but very different; that hellhound caught my attention immediately.)

    I once had an author tell me she was going to put a lot of semi-naked guys on her new web site to promote her debut novel because that's what all the other RWA authors were doing. I am not a fan of advertising via the male torso, so I advised her to instead use and build on the beautiful, classic cover art she'd been given. She listened, and now that she's a very famous and successful author who is constantly praised for her web site, I imagine she's very happy that she didn't follow the herd and put up the requisite half-naked guys.

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  25. Katherine wrote: . . . the books that succeed are usually the ones that inspire readers and/or booksellers to hand sell them, one at a time.

    True. I still believe that word of mouth and bookseller support at the store level trump every other kind of promo, because they are immediate, honest, and in the case of the readership, usually enduring.

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  26. leatherdykeuk wrote: Perhaps one ay enough people will read my blogs to generate sales.

    I've watched the evolution of the blog for nine years now, and it still surprises me how effective they can be as a promotional tool. Although these days it seems the only way for an author-blogger to stand out is to do anything BUT promote their books on their blog. :)

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  27. Gerriwritinglog wrote: Feel free to slap me into next week if I ever put such tripe up.

    I'd be more likely to offer you a cup of tea and some commiseration. :)

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  28. Suelder wrote: I have a twin sister. In college, she mentioned that I was trying to be different and she was trying to be the same (as the other one).

    Some people feel a certain bonding occurs when they follow along. I can't disagree with that -- everyone has to do what they have to do to get along -- but if you don't have the need for that type of bonding, you shouldn't be penalized for being different. I keep hoping that one day we'll celebrate our diversity instead of using it as a weapon against each other, but not like I'm holding my breath, you know?

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  29. Mackan wrote: I can't say this is for everyone, but for personal marketing of me as an author, it has worked out fine. I have quadrupled my reader base, the publisher won't have to send out review copies, but can point any reviewer to the site instead, etc.

    There you go. Two of the problems we all face are lack of exposure on the market and the often high cost of self-promotion. Right now not many authors are making books available online for free access, so anyone who does gets a lot of attention. You, me, Simon Haynes, Cory Doctorow and others are really like test cases -- or lab rats. :)

    Whether this proves to expand an author's readership base in the long term has yet to be seen, but so far it doesn't appear to be hurting the publishers or the authors. I'm definitely getting a lot more exposure and new readers with my free e-books.

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  30. The traditional promotional tactics seem like one-size fits all pantyhose--I can't make those work for me, either.

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  31. I think stuff like this:

    The authors each had the requisite soft-focus Glamour Shot portrait and wrote patently phony but definitely chipper posts peddling themselves and their fiction. Most of them used that cutesy rah-rah pompom-shaking perky quasi-girlie talk so beloved by certain publishers and writer organizations that drives me right out of my skull.

    is why I love to read your blog. I tend to do writers' blogs backwards; if I like the book, and I find that they have a blog, I will visit it. Then 99% of the time, I find it's what you have described, and I'm immediately bored. I can't think of a writer's blog that's moved me to read something.

    I have no thoughts on self-promo, as I only recently submitted something for publication for the very first time evah (my hands shook for days afterwards just thinking about it.)

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  32. I would say the majority of my book buying is blog generated these days. I have a few authors whose blogs I love (yours and Holly Lisle's included) and because I enjoyed their websites I sampled their books (and became addicted)... I also always look at books these blogging authors write about that they enjoy and have purchased many of them. Additionally, I look through blogs that are linked to theirs for other authors I might enjoy.

    I do this because I read a lot. My friends do not. Although they occasionally recommend a book to me, if I waited for them, I would suffer from book withdrawal and my heart and mind would shrink and I would become a cranky shadow of myself. All of the friendly, locally owned bookstores in our area have been driven out of business by, well, let's just say, a major large chain store that I don't know anyone in and I wouldn't trust anyone in to recommend a book.

    I occasionally use book reviews on book sites to choose books but I prefer not to do this. I don't know these people or their tastes in books, and, while I don't really know you or Holly or the couple other authors I trust to recommend a book, I have followed your blogs long enough to feel like I have a better connection with you than I do with some annonymous name who has written a review for a book.

    I have seen bookmarks at conventions and such and seldom purchase based on them. I just don't feel there is enough info there and, if this makes sense, it smacks a little too much of cute promotion. The good news is I do take the bookmarks and use them as bookmarks, because I love books too much to give a page an ear :)

    Hope this makes sense...

    Mary2

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  33. Charlene wrote: I'm still trying to figure out how to use my individual strengths effectively, but I know I can't do what Author Z did to be successful because I'm not Author Z.

    But my dear, it worked for Author Z, doing the exact same thing must work for you! Haven't you read the RWA handouts? Lol.

    Speaking of RWA conformity, being a member gave me some bad Girl Scout flashbacks. The meetings and the food were almost as boring, and all those con pins and ribbons and worthless awards reminded me too much of those stupid badges we had to earn.

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  34. Michele wrote: As it happens, my last contest was on author promo -- I asked readers to chime in with their favorite promo items.

    Overwhelmingly, the favorite was books and excerpts (samplers, ebooks and the like).


    It's enduring, too. Of all the promo I've received over the years, books, e-books and chapbooks are all I've ever kept. I never give away signed books, either -- I consider them sacred.

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  35. Shiloh wrote: Regarding pics, the one and only publicity pic I have that I'll let people use if they absolutely think they have to have it...I'm blue.

    I did one pic and was sorry I did that one, and put a stop to it immediately. After some initial flack (another "all the other authors do it!" thing) everyone on the publishing end accepted it. I don't make public appearances, though, so it really doesn't matter who I am or what I look like. It's got to be a lot tougher to do that when you're fighting the good fight on the personal appearance promo battlefields out there.

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  36. Selah wrote: ...the stink of "like me...please like me!" turns me off every. single. time.

    I think it's sad, same way it was in high school. You remember those girls in high school, yes? Sad little satellites orbiting any object with magnetic force, hoping to be noticed.

    I should talk to some cosmetic scientists. Think of the lives we could change with a lipstick that when applied bestows instant, unshakable self-esteem on the wearer.

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  37. Hi Lynn,
    As an avid romance reader only (I'm not a writer), I can tell you that what caught my attention to your books was when I was in Barnes and Noble and your
    2nd book was being displayed in the "new" romance books section and I read the synopsis (?) of that book and it really caught my attention (and of course the great picture on the book also helped-sorry I'm very visual) as I had never heard of you before that. But, since it was a second book I decided to buy the first book also(which luckly it was in-which sometimes the bookstores have very limited copies on hand). But, what really grabed me and made me a devotee of yours was how amazing you wrote the story, the characters, dialogue, etc...I was soooo hooked! Since then I have bought all your books and read them at least 2x. I have read books by some of the other well known authors and thought they're getting paid for this? Also, going to your blog and reading about the other Darkyn stuff that you post and the other things that you write about on your blog is really great. But, I think bottom line it's your writing style that has kept me as a fan (which is reflected in your blog) and then I tell my friends and they tell their friends etc.... Please Please keep doing what your doing 'cause you are definitely doing it right!

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  38. May wrote: Why oh why oh why do you bother with a blog when you're not willing to put any bit of yourself into it?

    I'd say fear of not doing what all the other authors are doing, and fear of being vulnerable to attack and censure by doing more, less, or anything different.

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  39. Margaret wrote: Too many blogs do nothing more than eat a reader's valuable time.

    There is a profound observation. Well said, M. :)

    Even agent's blogs, which supposedly are meant to educate, often turn into cheerleader blogs (for the agent's clients) or into drivel.

    Agents are as much a victim of fear of misperception as authors are, I think. Kristin Nelson offered a thoughtful but highly unpopular opinion on editing a couple of weeks ago that prodded some anonymous trolls to attack. She's taken to up moderating her comments to prevent more of the same.

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  40. Mary wrote: Most of what we think we need to do for self-promotion doesn't work and is a waste of time, money and effort with very little Return on Investment.

    That's been my general observation over the years. I think most authors feel they have to do something for their books, though, and take the safe path by going along with what's accepted, which may be the crux of the problem. I'd just like to see that effort go back into the writing of the books. If we improve the product, we improve customer satisfaction.

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  41. Darlene wrote: The traditional promotional tactics seem like one-size fits all pantyhose--I can't make those work for me, either.

    Sister! Ha.

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  42. Holly wrote: I have no thoughts on self-promo, as I only recently submitted something for publication for the very first time evah (my hands shook for days afterwards just thinking about it.)

    That's excellent, Holly, congrats. I still get the heebie jeebies on Manuscript Mail-Off Day, too; one day I'll finally accept that working in this biz isn't someone's idea of an exceptionally elaborate practical joke.

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  43. Ferfelebat wrote: I think you are looking at those sites as a peer and possibly being too hard on them. Sometimes bland and generic is the best way to get along to go along. I understand why some authors choose that route.

    Agreed. I can be very unforgiving when it comes to wasting time, money and talent. ;)

    Blog as a writing release, as a connection with other people, and just because you have something you want to say out loud.

    I'd add teaching what you know to that list. We can all learn from each other.

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  44. Mary2 wrote: I just don't feel there is enough info there and, if this makes sense, it smacks a little too much of cute promotion.

    I don't mind the cute promotion as much as the lack of substance. As you put it, too much cuteness and not enough info bores me. But coyness is regarded as an effective marketing tool in some quarters, and certainly there are enough fangirls who only want the cotton candy for it to be palatable. For serious readers, not so much.

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  45. Kerry wrote: I think the effort to be universally inoffensive limits the hypercautious to the relentlessly saccharine presentation. It probably doesn't do them any good for promotional purposes, but it's also unlikely to cause them harm.

    You bring up a very good point: there is always some risk involved in exercising the right to be a creative individual, especially in industries like ours where jobs are shrinking and competition never stops growing.

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  46. Fritzz wrote many flattering things about my work, and: But, I think bottom line it's your writing style that has kept me as a fan (which is reflected in your blog) and then I tell my friends and they tell their friends etc....

    Thank you for the kind words, and I think what you wrote is the bottom line for any reader. So maybe the first, best investment we writers can make is in the quality of the stories we produce. If an author can deliver a book that you enjoy reading, and that you consider worth recommending to your friends, then we have the finest promotion that exists: the readers.

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  47. As someone on the cusp of diving into the publishing world in the very near future, I have to say I plan to do what some of my fav authors have done: provide free stories.

    In fact, I'm already doing it.

    As a reader, I have spent many hours browsing books in a book store trying to figure out if I liked the writing style of the author and if the plot was worth my time. I have also recently enjoyed sitting at my computer and reading free works online. I've discovered some very good authors through their stories published online.

    How I ended up with my fan base was by posting faithfully online for two years. It has been their prodding that got my arse in gear to get my work out into print.

    Lynn's free writing on Scribd has definitely been a big motivator in getting me into the bookstore and looking for her novels.

    And, Lynn, I confess, I didn't know who you were until I found your blog and your free stories.

    So consider me a fan born of your Scribd works.

    --Rhiannon

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  48. If I have nothing to say I don't post a blog for the sake of it. On the other hand, I'm not averse to blogging about a review or some other bit of news.

    Re the 'Hope you enjoy...' etc, most authors sending their books for blurb probably don't feel comfortable with 'Hello, I want you to blurb my book and help me sell lots more copies with your famous name.'

    Truth in advertising - there's something which didn't catch on in real estate sales either ;-)

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  49. I hope you enjoy reading this book more than I did writing it

    *snicker*

    Sorry couldn't resist. I LIKE blogging, and I LIKE guest blogging but the thought of mailing stuff to stores and setting up book signings *sigh* feels too much like work. That said, I'm going to try and take a break from blogging for a while. I'm tired! And I don't feel like I have nothing new to add (probably deadline-itis) but the kids are out of school in a few days and summer is our busy season at work soooo off I go.

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  50. But what about the rule police? ;-)

    I figure if Selah runs in one direction with the target, and I run in the other, maybe they'll get confused long enough for us to circle back and have some tequila.

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  51. Anonymous12:29 PM

    I'm a day behind everyone else. However, I did want to say that, rightly or wrongly, there are authors who I've either stopped reading or deliberately not read because I was disgusted by the content of their blog posts.

    I get tired of reading about how fabulous all their other published writer friends are. I get tired of reading how now that they're on their second published book that they can't remember how they did it before. I get tired of the whole Sally Field, "You like me, you really, really like me," riff. I also get tired of the whole I'm a published author but let me tell you how bad the publishing world has been to me under the guise of this being a helpful post for newbies.

    I know this probably sounds stupid but to tell you the truth I'd much rather visit a blog or website where the author is positive, forthright and proactive. Does everything have to be sugary sweet? Hell no, but I'd rather spend my time on people who put out good positive vibes rather than the other kind. I think this blog is a great example. Lynn is honest about stuff but I think in a very positive this is life you'll get through it manner!

    Thanks for letting me vent!!!!

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  52. You know what's funny though? If I said "I hope you like reading my books as much as I loved writing them," I would then think about how much character torture there was and how much fun it was to do really horrible things to my characters . . . And I'd think, hmmmm. Do I hope they have that kind of enjoyment? Cuz that might be a little gross. And then too, some of those books have been a hard slog. Do I wish that on my readers? I think not.

    Just noodling on the idea . . .

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