I see it all the time these days. Writers commenting on blogs and forum threads while including a not so subtle reference to their latest book or their latest blog post or their latest signing.

I'm guilty of it myself -- although I try to go the subtle route. Notice, if you will, that in this post I won't ever mention the name of my own book. Yet some of you will undoubtedly click over to my CrimeSpace page and there it is, in living black and white (or white on brown).

Not exactly blatant self promotion, but some of us don't seem to hesitate to practice the craft.

The question is, is it really necessary? Should we sound the trumpets or is it better to simply contribute semi-coherent, thoughtful blog comments and forum posts and hope that the readers will discover you've actually written a book or two or three?

There's a certain no-shame factor that kicks in when sounding the trumpets. And it requires a gene that I don't really possess.

So, tell me, what's a poor humble idiot to do?

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Questions like this make me paranoid.
As well they should, you shameless hussy.
In all seriousness, I think it's something of a lose-lose scenario, particularly for newbs. One of the reasons I've quit posting to (and now even reading) a couple of mailing lists is because any time I did post I got emails accusing me of just posting to push my book. It was especially interesting that I got such emails, considering that I always made a point of NOT mentioning my book when I posted, considering it crass to do so. But I had an email address from my website, and I guess that was enough to prove I was shamelessly pushing myself.

And yet, we're supposed to promote our books. One of the ways to get better attention from our publishers is to self-promote. So either we piss off our potential readers or we piss off our publishers.

What's to be done? Throw up our hands, prolly. And hang on to our day jobs.
I think newly published authors are just trying to do what they've been told is absolutely critical by peers, agents, and publishers, and haven't discovered yet that it doesn't exactly work.
Oh, BSP is a terrible idea! (Isabella Moon) People are so obnoxious! (September 25) I'm so glad you brought this to my attention! (Ballantine) I promise to stop, immediately! (www.laurabenedict.com)

And people who use exclamation points all the time bug me, too! ; )
Love the tongue-in-cheek humor. That old BSP thing done subtly.

From the relentless whodunit lady.

Pat Harrington
I'm in your camp in this one. I will do what it takes to promote my novel later this year but not to the extreme in these types of forums. Links to your web-blog site are totally acceptable.

Because the levels are so varied...in this I refer to publishing credits. Some people get bought & hothered getting published in a non-paying e-zine. Others, when they get nominated for an Edgar or make the New York Times Best Sellers.

BSP's don't affect me either way. There, I am being diplomatic.
Unfortunately, blatant, shameless self-promotion is now an accepted and expected part
of the business. With the ever shrinking publicity budgets at the houses, there is
pressure, both subtle and otherwise, to "get your name out there" and to finance
one's own touring. Even big name authors are beginning to feel the pressure to
somehow take control of their own publicity. I have a close friend, a popular author
and winner of nearly ever mystery award, who has grown completely frustrated with
her/his house's publicity. So where does that leave any of us? Take a look at the reasons
behind the founding of ITW and the recent efforts of MWA and you will note that
publicity and promotion are behind many of the moves these organizations are undertaking.
I firmly believe that publicity for all but the biggest names will someday soon fall completely
on the shoulders of the authors themselves and the organizations to which they belong.
One other thing. Don't forget to buy SOUL PATCH, sequel to the Shamus, Barry,
and Anthony Award winning THE JAMES DEANS. Sorry, I couldn't resist. I also want
to point out that I have that phrase going through my head all the time because the
responsibility for promoting my work has, even when I was at Penguin/Plume, increasingly
fallen on my shoulders.
I'm all for self-promotion, blatant or subtle, as long as it's brief and to the point. I was raised a nice polite girl and told it's never polite to brag or blow your own horn. Now, past 60, I no longer have so many qualms about putting myself out there in public and telling people I've published a book. Still, it doesn't always come easy doing it in person, and it feels much more comfortable doing it on a site like this.

How are we going to get our books noticed, much less bought, if we're too polite to mention them by name? Liz Zelvin's forum about how so many midlist authors are being cut loose by their publishers and agents only reinforces the importance of trying new and unfamiliar ways of marketing - including Crimespace.
Crimespace is not intended to be another platform for BSP marketing, but rather a place to discuss these issues (and others) that are of interest to writers and readers. This is a biggie & one that a number of authors, veteran and newbie alike, have to sort out. I don't mind seeing a link or a title in a signature line, but if a writer thinks they're going to sell me a book by shoving it down my throat every time s/he posts a comment...well, that's just silly and counterproductive.
Yes, I'm with Angie in that I don't see Crimespace as being a place for
much self-promotion. I view it as a site where I can let my hair down,
take off the shoes, and just chat about random topics. I no longer
have the camaraderie of a news room, so this place is where I can
look over my cubicle wall and bug my neighbors. Only I'm not really
bugging them because here they have to also be looking over their wall
to hear me.


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