This blog post does not represent the opinion of anyone else on Do Some Damage but Dave White.
We--the writers and fans of books--all need to shut up. Big time.
Lately, there's been discussion about self-promotion on Twitter, Amazon boards, Facebook. Basically it comes down to this. Book writers are promoting their books on Twitter. Posting "I have a book out. Buy it! Here's a link." Apparently, it's constant*. Look at me. Look at me. Look at me.
Then came the next wave. All the fans of writers have now revolted and started complaining about self-promotion. Immediate unfollowing of self-promoters. Creating arbitrary rules about promotion. "You can only do it once a week." "Five, ten, fifteen percent of time should be self-promotion." Wahh, wahhh, wahhh**.
First off, fans of writing... you have to understand something. Writers need to be noticed. There's a lot of noise out there and they want you to know the name of their book. Wouldn't you be upset if a writer you loved came out with a book and you never heard about it? All writers have fans. Some have a lot of fans. Some have 2 fans***. The only way their fans are going to notice them is if they mention their book. And you know what? Not everyone is always on Twitter at the same time. So sometimes these writers have to post about it more than once! So, if you're a fan of writer and of writers, give people a break okay. Especially if their book has only been out a month or two.
Okay, now writers. Yeah, you guys. Over here. Listen up. You need to chill out a little bit. Talk to people. Come up with conversation. And also, be creative. Let's not shout it all out all the time and then whine when people complain. You're a writer. Creativity is your life. You have to come up with a way to get noticed that's different from the ways everyone else gets noticed. And I'm not talking contests. Everyone does contests. No one who enters a contest ever buys the product their in the contest for. They want free stuff. If they don't get the free stuff, they'll go try to get other free stuff. I don't know what the real answer is. But you need to lay-off the shouting a little bit. I'm not going to come up with some random arbitrary rule for you****, you need to find your comfort zone. But maybe ease off the gas a little bit.
(Or, how about this. Everyone on Twitter picks a different author to promote. If we all promote each other, it's not self-promotion. Then what? Oh, snap!)
See the problem isn't self-promotion... or complaining about self-promotion. Not really. It's about society. The society we live in. The society of protests.
You see, in real life, protesters are doing something good. They're protesting BIG ISSUES. And they're trying to make real change. Look at the Wisconsin Unions, or Egypt, or the Tea Party, or Occupy Wall Street. They've all created real change over big issues.
We're complaining about .... commercials. Sorry, but commercials are a way of life. You're always going to have them. And some of them are pretty damn annoying. But we've always been able to ignore them. And then the people who make the commercials have to try a different tact. When all we do is complain... complain about the little things...it takes away the power of complaining about the big things. About fighting against something.
But we see all these protests, and we need something to whine about so we take up this issue. OOOHHHHH, there's too much on my Twitter feed. OOOHHHHHH, no one's buying my book.
Gimme a break. All of us. We all need to take a breather. We allllllll--even me--should shut up.
Everyone needs to take a deep breath and just chill out. Yes, I know Freedom of Speech is a right. But by both clogging up Twitter with self-promotional commercials**** and complaining about those commercials, you are trying to prohibit free speech. Complainers want to shut people up, self-promos want Twitter to be nothing more than a commercial.
So, let's ease off. Everyone. Be positive. Have fun. Because you know what? Discussion on Twitter never lead us to real change in publishing. Their circular conversations, ones that end up in the same place****** and never solve anything.
So, let's all take a deep breath and stop the freaking whining*******.
*My Twitter feed did have some advertising in it, but I wouldn't say it was constant. And I follow a lot writers.
**I actually saw a lot more of this than I did the actual self-promotion because it got retweeted a lot. And people didn't just post it, they went on ten tweet rants about it.
***Hi mom! Hi dad!
****Unlike those people on the Amazon message boards. Whoa are they crazy. Anyone tries to do something nice for a writer and they flip the f out. And then high five when the writer slinks away, trying to be nice.
*****Funny. When the promotion comes from a publisher, I NEVER see anyone complain about it. There are never "Boyyyy, Little Brown tweets about their books too much."
******Yes, I understand the irony of me posting about this. But I wanted to say it in more than 140 characters. Then I'll shut up. Plus, I like reading comments.
*******Look at all these footnotes. I hate footnotes. I should stop the footnotes. BLEEECCCHHH. I wrote a whole blog post complaining about footnotes once. Ask Russel. But now...it's a truce. I won't complain about them.