Friday, January 27, 2006

I blog; therefore, I ham

Yesterday a writer friend poked gentle fun at me by remarking on the way I seized an opportunity to mention my new book. She meant no offense and none was taken, but I was reminded again of one of my pet peeves: In the community of romance writers, it is not acceptable to show pride in one's books. Oh, every author mentions her books. Constantly. But there is only one acceptable way to do it, and I haven't been following the rules. I can't tell you how many times other romance authors have pointed that out, usually by disguising the rebuke as a compliment: "Brenda's an amazing self-promoter. I wish I had the guts to do that."

When a romance writer mentions her books, other writers expect her to apologize for her enthusiasm. She's pressured to pretend that mentioning her work at all was accidental. She's made to feel that she should ask everyone's pardon for having allowed herself to get carried away. Romance writers encourage one another to be modest about their accomplishments, but it's a false modesty, and I'm sick of it. Sometimes I think I might scream if I hear that disingenuously self-effacing phrase "please excuse my shameless self-promotion" one more time. What's there to be ashamed of? We have created books that we think are pretty doggone good, and they are for sale. Why should we hang our heads and apologize for mentioning those facts?

Well. I'm not likely to change the romance community's mindset on that. But you'll see me dead before you see me play along.

Maybe you've noticed that this blog doesn't contain any paid advertisements or even a PayPal tip jar. But kids, you weren't really expecting to get all this entertainment for free were you? You'd better believe I'm going to slip in plenty of references to my new book (which will be in stores on February 28). A hundred and fifty unique visitors a day is a very good audience for a writer's blog (I'm bragging about that number because it will encourage other bloggers to exchange links with me, which will send me even more traffic), and I'd be a fool not to take advantage of the promotional opportunities inherent in this situation.

Modesty is not a quality I possess in any abundance. I'm proud of this blog and of my romance novels. So if you don't mind hearing me toot my own horn now and again, stick around and we'll have ourselves some fun.


Anonymous said...

you go Girl,
I'm glad you let us non blogers stick around !
toot toot away :D

Ivy said...

You go girl!

Lori said...

Do you think people are that way because they don't want to see themselves as "salespeople", which isn't near as groovy & cool sounding as "writers"? If you want your book to sell, why wouldn't you talk about it? My gosh, I drove all my friends crazy when I completed NaNoWriMo. Lord knows what I'd do if I actually had a book published!
Go for it, Brenda. I don't see anything wrong with it. You certainly aren't proclaiming yourself the "Queen of All The Writers on The Earth" so what's the fuss?

Dennie McDonald said...

you toot away hun 'cause I guarentee that when my book comes out in March I will be tooting like crazy!!!!

No apologies necessary!!!!!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Yahoooo!!I agree with all of the above....Say it're published and proud!!!

You go girl, we're behind you a thousand per cent. Like Lori, I yelled to the roof about winning NaNoWriMo...remember..LOL

And Dennie is my dear friend....She is so excited about her upcoming outcoming, that we can't even get her to go to sleep.

So you shout it to the rooftops and we'll supply the megaphones!

Brenda Coulter said...

Do you think people are that way because they don't want to see themselves as "salespeople", which isn't near as groovy & cool sounding as "writers"?

I suppose it could have something to do with a desire to be seen as "artists" and to avoid "crass commercialism," Lori, but I think it's more likely due to that woman thing about not putting oneself forward.
I don't know. Sometimes my brain works more like a guy's than a girl's. That might be why I don't have any patience for all this silly "modesty" about books. I'm not promoting myself, I'm just talking about a book that I think a lot of people might like.

Dennie, I don't believe I was aware that you have a book coming out. Want to tell us about it? If you get carried away, we promise to forgive you for any shameless self promotion you might indulge in. ;-)

(Sometimes I just crack myself up.)

Brenda Coulter said...

Me again. Lori, I'm still chuckling about that "Queen of all the Writers" comment. I can't tell you how many times I've snorted when another blogger has taken exception to something I've written and huffed, "Who does she think she is, anyway?"

Hey, I'm just a woman with a blog and some opinions. If I honestly thought I was Queen of all the Writers, I would have told you so.


Michael Rew said...

I have had friends try to sell me vacuum cleaners and Amway at church. I have had people seem unnaturally interested in me, and I thought I had met a new friend, just to find out I was being pitched a product or service through "relational trustbuilding" or whatever manipulation is called these days.

I hate salesmanship!

I have annoyed my friends with numerous references to my poetry. I have had age-old friends not visit my Web site for ages, and then out of the blue, they go there and find out they love what I write. I suppose the biggest difference between "selling" a site and selling a commercial book is that your book will be out of print shortly if people do not buy it. You cannot wait for people to come around to wanting to read your book in their own sweet time after hearing about it or thinking about it offhandedly numerous times. My site will be available indefinitely, God willing, so my visitors can take their sweet time and visit it when they are most conducive to wanting to read it. Little salesmanship is needed.

Camy Tang said...

You go, girl! Actually, Gail Martin does the same thing--she mentions her books a lot when she teaches and in her emails, but she talks about them so casually it almost doesn't seem like self-promotion. It's like she's talking about Harry Potter or something. And I really appreciate that kind of casual candor instead of the tittering, apologetic BSP-milksops.


Mirtika said...

The day my book comes out (see, optimism!), be prepared to hear me blog about it for a full year.

I intend to be utterly shameless.


Dennie McDonald said...

Thanks - I sold two books actually *ggg* to Samhain Publishing My Novella Her Passion comes out March 14 and the other Deadly Mistakes comes out in June - I am pretty excited - my first sale(s) woohoo - thanks for letting me crow - And I will be sure to return the favor! ;-)

and trust me - I have not and will not be quiet about mine *ggg* - but I did work in retail before mommy-dom so maybe I am hard wired to sell it!

Brenda Coulter said...

Congratulations, Dennie, and all best wishes to you.

Michael, before people will visit your blog, they have to be told that you have one. And that my friend, is marketing. But you have my sympathy on the vacuum cleaner and Amway pitches at church. What on earth are those people thinking?