It's YOUR Blog (and You Can Pimp If You Want To)

Photo by Raffi Asdourian I'm annoyed. Not specifically at one person but more a nebulous cloud of annoyance aimed in the general direction of certain kinds of people on the internet.

We all know about blog trolls--those I-have-no-real-life-so-I-live-to-bitch-at-and-insult-perfect-strangers (usually via cop-out anonymous comments.) For the most part, the best way to handle these foul creatures is to ignore them completely. Don't poke them with a stick because they only get more unintelligent and vile when acknowledged.

We all understand those people are just another part of the internet. But what is fueling my annoyance lately is that I've noticed more and more writers acting decidely troll-like. And nowhere was this more evident than on former-agent-turned-author Nathan Bransford's blog last week.

Nathan did a tongue-and-cheek post about having a pledge drive and asked people that if they enjoyed his blog to consider buying his book. The post was polite and light-hearted. No biggie, right? Well, apparently it was to some people. A few of his blog readers jumped his shit like Nathan had asked them to sacrifice the blood of their first born child to him. It was ridiculous.

Newsflash from Captain Obvious: Authors are expected to promote their books. And, hello, it's HIS blog.

He didn't come to your house and hand you a flyer, he didn't clutter your inbox with an email pimping his book, he didn't spam you on Twitter. He talked about HIS book on HIS blog. Being insulted that he did that is like being insulted someone walked around their own house naked. His blog is his place to talk about whatever he wants. It's your decision whether you stop by to read it or not.

Newsflash from Captain Obvious' Sidekick--Mr. Well Duh - Most of the people online who are blogging regularly are doing it as a form of self-promotion.

Yes, connecting with others and sharing ideas are the bigger pieces of it. But I can tell you (as someone who has blogged 5 days/week for two years) that blogging that consistently is HARD work and a time suck. I enjoy doing it and am so grateful for all the people I've met through it, but at the end of the day, I'm not going to lie--I also hope it helps sell my books.

And as someone who has spent all this time blogging and making an effort to provide hopefully helpful (fiction groupie) or fun (this blog) content, I don't want to feel guilty about asking readers to consider buying my book when it comes out. I'm not going to beat anyone over the head with it, but I'm also not going to apologize for bringing it up.

And I certainly don't feel offended if a writer I follow and enjoy does the same. If I like your blog and have gotten to know you online, I WANT to buy your book and show my support. In fact, I did it yesterday for Tawna Fenske. It's a nice thing to do. And an effective way to find good books since chances are if you like their voice on their blog, you'll probably enjoy their writing as well.

So you writers out there, stop apologizing when you do a little self-promotion. It's okay. It's part of your job. Asking people to consider your book does not mean you've become one of those annoying people on Twitter or Goodreads whose first message to a new follower is "Check out my book at wesuck dot com!" 

If you are taking time to genuinely connect with other people and, as Kristen Lamb says in her books on social media, being service-minded--meaning go into social networking with the mentality of what can I do to be of service to others?--you're going to be fine. It's the "me, me, me" people that give self-promotion a bad name and an icky feeling. You are not that person. Nathan Bransford is not that person. That person is busy setting up auto-post "buy my book" tweets on Twitter.

So be friendly, be genuine, and be comfortable promoting something you've worked hard on.

Now, enough about that, who wants to pre-order CRASH INTO YOU? ;)

How do you feel about self-promotion? What annoys you about it? Do you mind when a blogger/writer you like talks about their book? What completely turns you off when it comes to self-promotion?