Friday, August 16, 2013

Really Bad Writing Advice: Promotion Made Easy *or* The 3 Top Rules for Not Being Made Fun of on the Internet

Dear Aficionados of Really Bad Writing Advice,

Let's say that (not unlike me) you have finished the book!  Let's say that (not unlike me) you are now obsessed with promoting the book.  Here is the simple rule of thumb for doing that promoting: 

If it makes people clutch their throats and moan "Oh my God!" (not in a good way), you shouldn't do it.

I have scoured the internet for examples of really good promotional advice, and here are the three top, inexplicably popular things you can't do, lest you leave potential readers moaning and uttering sacrilege.

1.) Do not post anything, anywhere, ever that tells your fans, followers, or friends something on the order of "This is the cutest thing in the whole, entire universe/ the most shocking revelation in the history of man/ a book that would no doubt be attributed to the Messiah were He walking the earth with lace-up sandals and a laptop" followed by a link that leads to a video of you reading your book.

Or a trailer for your book.

Or any page that raises even the faintest possibility of buying your book.

You are welcome to say and do any of the above for someone else's book. You will sound like an over-enthusiastic slob with no judgment, discernment, or sense of proportion, but at least you'll look magnanimous.

2.) Do not post a blurb or snippet of a review of your book that is even slightly ungrammatical.  Or that uses any word, be it ever so short, so breathtakingly incorrectly that your more, uh, language-oriented potential reader is too busy gnashing her teeth to click through.

"I have never in my longitudinous previous past undergone an exhileration of such enormity as wading through prosedy of hitherto untold notoriousness," for example, would be a poor choice of comment to share with a cyber world of picky, picky tooth-gnashers.

3.) Even though super-helpful book promotion bloggers have convinced you that unless people see something fourteen times in a single day, they won't buy it, do not tell your followers about your book fourteen times in a single day.  Even if you are hosting an awesome giveaway.  Even if your book will change their lives.  Even if your book will bring about world peace, prosperity, and a sense of perfect equilibrium to one an all through its fun yet miraculous selenium-rich snack food recipes.  Even if anything.


Dear readers, even if you have taken my really bad writing advice to heart and therefore penned an entirely hideous book, there's no reason you should have to endure the slings and arrows you'll attract if you engage in outrageous marketing.

For once, not joking.



P.S.  Should you have the urge to share any other terrible promotional ideas, do tell.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Amy! I'm striving for the best bad advice on the Net.

  2. This is great. I'd add: Enough with the fake modesty already. If you post 48 times in one weekend about how you simply can't believe your book is on sale here, or this reviewer said this wonderful thing or that, you're either fake or incredibly stupid, because after you yourself have posted it 48 times in one freaking weekend surely you can, at the very least, believe that it happened! Not saying that authors shouldn't announce where and when their book is on sale or share positive reviews, but just share it once, maybe twice, and then move on. In fact, you absolutely should share those things. Proudly! Just not hourly. If everyone hasn't already unfriended you on Facebook, maybe a few of them will also share it for you, and that's wonderful. But there are only so many times you can bashfully boast on your own behalf before people start wanting to choke you with a strand of fake pearls.

    1. Dear Shelli,
      I'm with you right up until the final sentence, no doubt an artifact of my dismay at the possible wreckage of a perfectly good strand of fake pearls.

  3. The inevitable contradiction of self-promotion and marketing is that what others say about you or your product will have gravitas, but what you say never will. (Yikes, did I just call a book a product?)

    1. Dear Mirka,
      Exactly! Soon Clueless will explain in painstaking detail how to disguise yourself as a complete stranger and run around the internet expressing heartfelt admiration for your, um, product.

  4. I will keep these very important tidbits in mind if I ever have a book to promote and am feeling tempted ;)

    1. Keep writing the book! Seriously. (You can't engage in truly outrageous marketing ploys without it.) How close are you?

  5. Some of these made me laugh, but the sad thing is that people do them :)

    1. The thing that kills me is that there are people who think they're supposed to do this stuff.