Promoting or Spamming

From time to time I bring up the topic of promotion in regards to authors getting the word out about their books. Because I’m in contact with a number of authors via email loops, writers’ groups, and Facebook, I see a lot of promotion. Some good and some … well, quite frankly, it feels like spam.

Last May I wrote a post about this topic called (cleverly 🙄 ) “Promotion, Promotion, Promotion.” As Christmas draws closer, I see even more frequent mentions of books by authors. Understandable.

But I also realize that my response to some has become automatic—delete without reading. I see some names and I know what’s coming. I don’t need to open the message.

Granted, I haven’t reported the sender as spam for various reasons, but I wonder if I shouldn’t unsubscribe or take some of these names off my list of friends. Already I’m picky about what books I want to become a fan of because I understand now that this is essentially signing up to receive promotional material. Do I really need more messages to delete?

But how else is an author to get the word out about his book?

I came across something similar when I was trying to let Christian speculative readers know about the Clive Staples Award. I sent group emails to people I thought would have a vested interest in the award, either now or in the future, but I wonder how many were deleted unread.

Whenever I think this through, I eventually come to a position I think is right—meaning, it is consistent with Scripture. Granted, the Bible doesn’t address marketing or promotion, but it does tell me to be kind; to love my neighbor as myself; to take the lower position at the banquet table, not the favored one. Jesus gave us an example of humility by coming in the form of a servant. John the Baptist pointed to Christ and said, He must increase and I must decrease.

So it seems to me those same principles can guide an author in decisions about promoting his work. If the notification is informative, helpful, more concerned about others than about sales, and pointing ultimately to Christ, then I think promotion won’t feel like spam. How could it? The recipient should feel placed in a position of importance rather than in the role of consumer.

Ah, but this seems so much easier to theorize about than to actually do! 😕

(By the way, is it spam that I linked to my own article in this post? YIKES! 😮 )

Published in: on December 11, 2009 at 2:55 pm  Comments (4)  
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