This post by Chuck Wendig originally appeared on his terribleminds site on 4/15/15. Note that it contains strong language.
*wheezes while stumbling down a mountain carrying ten stone tablets*
*dumps stone tablets on the ground and most of them break*
*coughs for like, 40 minutes*
OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE. WHY DO PEOPLE WRITE COMMANDMENTS ON STONE TABLETS. IF GOD’S SUPPOSED TO BE ALL POWERFUL WHY DIDN’T HE JUST HAND ME AN IPAD. DOES HE HAVE A THING AGAINST APPLE? GOD’S ONE OF THOSE STRIDENT ANTI-MAC PEOPLE ISN’T HE. SO HEAVY. IT HURTS. IT HURTS SO BAD.
Ahem. Okay. Yeah. Yes. Hi!
It is time to speak about the sticky subject of self-promotion. You’re a writer. You’ve written a book and somebody — you, a big publisher, a small publisher, some spider-eating alley hobo — has published it. And now you want to know how you promote the book so that the world can fling money at your face in order to greedily consume your unrefined genius. But it’s not easy. You don’t know what works. What makes sense. You don’t want to just stand on a street corner barking at passersby and hitting children with your book. But you also recognize that you’re just one little person, not some massive beast of marketing and advertising, hissing gouts of pixelated steam and vacuuming up potential buyers into the hypno-chamber that is your belly.
What do you do? How far can you go? What should you say?
Thus, I bring you these ten tablets.
Ten commandments about self-promotion for authors. In a later post I’ll get into the larger practicalities of self-promotion — what seems to work for me, what seems to do poop-squat for me — but for now, we’re going to cover the overall basics.
Let us begin.
Thou Shalt Throw Pebbles
The self-promotional reach of a single author is not very far.
Big publishers and companies have giant cannons.
You, however, have a satchel of pebbles.
A publisher will ideally dp outreach that puts your book in front of various folks within the distribution process — book buyers, librarians, the secret tastemaker cabal that operates out of a warehouse in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood. You, as lone author, do not have that effect.
The best you can do is pick up one of your pebbles and throw it.