Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Proud to be "shameless"

Some days I think if I hear another romance author twitter (or do the online equivalent of twittering, which is to sprinkle posts liberally with "smileys") about her own or anyone else's "shameless self-promotion", I'm going to scream.

Am I really the only one who thinks it's ridiculous for professional women to giggle behind their hands and apologize for mentioning that they have new books out?

Apparently so, because I continue to see these silly apologies everywhere, especially in online writing communities. I can only conclude that authors believe this "self-effacing" behavior enhances their public image.

It doesn't.

"I know what you mean about the Gorgenstein Method of Plotting," Paula Pretend gushes on a romance writers' board. "It was so enormously helpful when I wrote The Outlaw's Bride that I used it again on my upcoming release, The Outlaw's Baby, which will be out next month and is garnering some fabulous reviews. The cover is to die for -- click here to see it at Amazon, where you can pre-order the book if you want. But I'm getting carried away again, LOL.* Please excuse the shameless self-promotion."

I have a couple of problems with a post like that. First, if an author is proud of her books and wants people to know about them, she should announce that in a straightforward manner, not shoehorn the news into a conversation and then pretend to be embarassed that it just "slipped out". The other thing that bugs me is the assumption that mentioning our books at all reveals a lack of proper modesty.

Give me a break. If we sold cars, wouldn't we put up signs at our places of business, advertise in the newspaper, and even think about doing radio or TV spots? Sure we would. So why do we call it "shameless self-promotion" when it's not ourselves we're promoting, but our books? And what's there to be ashamed about, anyway?

This reminds me of class officer elections in elementary school. Remember? Even if you were running, you couldn't vote for yourself because the ballots weren't always secret and you didn't want everyone to think you were stuck-up. So you voted for your opponent, fully expecting your opponent to return the favor and vote for you.

It would appear that many romance authors are still thinking that way. And that's a shame.

At the moment I have only one book out.** But around this time next year my second one will be released and you'll see me promote it like nobody's business. Probably not so much here on the blog, that's not what this blog is about, but definitely on my website. Also, I will include the book's title and ISBN in my e-mail signature, and you can count on me to mention it in conversations at online forums when and where and as often as I feel is appropriate.

And I won't be apologizing to anyone.

* Internet shorthand for "laughing out loud".

** In fact, it's way out. As in, "out of print".


Heather Diane Tipton said...

I don't blame you Brenda. In this industry you have to promote your book. Most publishing houses don't do a lot of promotion so it falls on the shoulders of the author to do it. There is nothing shameful about promoting your own book. I know that when I get published I will be doing everything I can to let people know about it.

HerWryness said...

Bless you, Brenda for always being an open drawer.

tristan coulter said...

I voted for myself when I ran for a position in school. If the other guys also voted for me, then they're suckers.

Brenda Coulter said...

Spoken like a true guy.

By the way, must you use that photo of yourself with the shotgun? You're going to scare my friends.

tristan coulter said...

It's not a shotgun, it's the .22 caliber Winchester rifle that Jim gave me. I'm sure once your readers get to know me they'll think I'm mostly harmless.

Anonymous said...

come on Brenda, I like the picture,
and Tristan you take very good pictures,

Katie Hart said...

Posts like the one you mention just smack of non-professionalism. But over-promoting to the same audience also can be annoying. Not just mentioning your latest book, but all your previous releases and every writing service you offer. One writers' magazine bothers me with this to no end. The publisher has to have his little column in every issue that only promotes the services his company offers. No matter that the magazine is full of ads for those same services.

Kate R said...

mostly harmless, like the planet.

I've been guilty of those posts -- way guilty. But that's in part because I discovered online communities and babbling to people long before I got published. When my first book came out, I could not think of anything else. It would work its way naturally into EVERY conversation I had -- because it lurked, ready to pounce into my brain. I went back to the places I'd been before and I brought up the book constantly. Call it first baby syndrome.

Unprofessional maybe -- no, probably. But sometimes it's just enthusiasm, and not a sinister plan, and that's forgiveable.

I'm over it now and can think of other subjects. Usually. Oh. Did I mention I have a new book out?

Kate R said...

PS I do agree that it is annoying. But so are the newlyweds who refer to "my husband" or "my wife" every few minutes or the mothers who tell you how cute their babies belly button is.

I'd say it's part of adjusting to a new status:
spouse, parent, author
[I've BTDT with all three. Just hope I can avoid the adjusting to the status of Old Geezer and NOT describe my latest operation]

tristan coulter said...

Thanks, Jan :)

Anonymous said...

your welcome, tristan :-D

Brenda Coulter said...

There's nothing wrong with mentioning your books, Kate; and people do expect a certain amount of giddy excitement from a new author. What I dislike is the disingenuous, "Oops, I didn't mean to say that." All computers come equipped with backspace and delete keys.

Jan, watch out for that kid. He can charm the stars out of the sky.

Anonymous said...

I bet he got his charm from you,
didn't he Brenda? ;-D

Small Blue Thing said...

Hi, Brenda and folks,

I think apologizing can be a sort of 'fashionable' way to sell your self-image as a writer. 'Hey, what a cute little girl _people say, so honest when she's promoting'.

One of the things I hate most in artists is double moral. If you love your work _as I love mine, and you all, my strongest wish would be people loved it as I do. If not, what is the just sense of writing life?

Sorry, Tristan, I just can't see your photograph. The only idea of a guy with a gun scares me.

Blue Thing