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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Ok, everybody. I'm sorry. I took down the tuna.
Coming at this from strictly a reader’s perspective, I WANT to hear about any of your latest and greatest novels so that I might, you know, read them. Do I think you are bragging when you mention them? Heck no. I think part of the name-dropping thing is done out of excitement, to be sure, but more than that, it’s done to promote your work, just like any good business person would and should do. This sort of self-promotion obviously becomes even more necessary when you are an unknown.

Regarding blog posts, again, you have written something and you would like to let people know about it in case they want to read it. So? That is not bragging. It is simply informing.

Regarding book signings, mentioning one that is coming up is fine. Maybe you want to tell people so they will mark their calendars on the chance they can attend. Mentioning a signing after the fact? In that situation, I am not quite sure of the point. On the surface, anyway, it sort of looks like bragging. But what do I know? I’m just a reader…
Here’s an off-the-wall analogy for you regarding readers and name-dropping:

It can only benefit a surgeon to let Primary Care Physicians know about his latest “save” in the O.R. This is because the majority of referrals to a surgeon are made through Primary Care Physicians, or PCPs (I may have just made up that acronym, but please don’t make me spell it out every time). Anyway, surgeons pick up some new patients through the ER, but PCPs are by far their greatest source of patients (patients meaning income, as crass as that may sound), and if they want their practices to survive, they HAVE to make their successes known to PCPs. If PCPs are not familiar with their names or their records, they will refer to someone else.

So in case I, um, suck at analogies, PCPs are readers. You writers need to let readers such as me know who you are. We need to know about your latest “save” so we can become familiar with your work and hopefully refer you to others. It does not matter if you have been published before. Those readers who are new to reading crime fiction could very well have no idea who you are (gasp!!!) Seriously, it never hurts to mention each new book by name, no matter if it is your first or your gagillionth. Just go ahead and mention it. Who knows? Doing so may bring you some new referrals.
*sniff* I thought I was special.
Do you want to sell books? Or just look at them sitting on the bookstore shelf collecting dust?
There is no shame is promoting yourself. Every business does it. That is, the successful ones.
I receive newsletters from major NYT's best selling authors, and have read many of their blogs, mainly to find out what they are writing. I think the key is to offer additional goodies on a blog.
Offer a sample, short story, excerpt, something personal, event listings, contests.

There is no shame in BSP. Not if you want to go somewhere in your career.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
aka 'Shameless Promoter'
author of Whale Song (launching April 7th), The River and Divine Intervention
Along the lines of Rob's responses, I don't like how self-promotion gets lumped into the acroynym BSP. To my mind, blatant self-promotion is tacky and over-the-top; self-promotion is necessary and fine.

Self-promotion is something all writers do, everytime they write.

It's the blatant stuff, the shrill "let me tell you all about myself" stuff, the 18-line sig files and the incestuous "You're wonderful"/"No, you're wonderful" circle jerks that annoy people. It's ineffective, glaringly transparent and, as Ray pointed out, increasingly counter-productive.

The more BSP I see for a book the less likely I am to read it, and the more likely I am to think it's probably a turkey. And the few times I've succumbed to the hype, I've been proven right.
As I've said before, I think what people are forgetting is the word BLATANT in BSP.

Self-promotion in this business is a given and there is no shame in it. We all MUST do it in order to succeed. But there are different ways to go about it and I, for one, don't feel it's necessary to come on like a used car salesman.

There are writers who post on forums and comment on blogs for no other reason than to say, Hey, come buy my book. And that kind of behavior is what I'm talking about here. Nothing else.
writers are being pressured to self-promote, and because of that I think many/some don't realize when they step over a line. i hate when i'm simply socializing and hanging out online, then suddenly realize the other person is there to sell me and everybody else her new book. i was once on a yahoo list where a debut author would respond to every fucking post and the list turned into her show. (can we say fuck here, mr. H?) and she hit the NYT's list when her book came out. writers see that kind of thing and know it works. i hate it. and i hate when i see people doing it. i would never in a million years buy one of her books.
As has been discussed many times in the past on many writer blogs and forums, there is nothing wrong with using the word 'fuck'. As long as it suits the character.
Fuckin' A, as my husband would say.

I think it is essential. On DorothyL (over 3,000 member listserve), people are
constantly mentioning books they never would have known about except for some
BSP on DorothyL. For new authors, it's an invaluable tool for getting the word out
to the hard-core mystery reading community. For instance, my own... No. I won't d
do it. Never mind.

But I promise to visit Robert Gregory Browne's page and find out about his book!



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