Save yourself. Don’t be that writer, the one who makes my book marketing mistakes.

Tim Stutler
Tim Stutler

Guest blogger Tim Stutler is a California writer, humor blogger, and lawyer. He is preparing to release his second novel, Hillari’s Head, on August 1st. Learn more about Tim at his website (http://timstutler.com/) and blog (http://timstutler.com/blog.html).

As a book writer, I understand the need for marketing. And I embrace it. But I fear becoming one of those authors on social-media sites who overdo the self-promotion part a bit. We’ve all seen the type: twenty tweets and ten Facebook posts a day, every day, all shouting, “CHECK OUT MY LATEST – FIVE STARS! MY BEST YET!” Oh sure, there’s occasionally some pretense of foreplay: “Hi, how are you, dear friends? Listen, um … CHECK OUT MY LATEST – FIVE STARS! MY BEST YET! (It was good for you too, right?)” By the way, that’s only 126 characters – in case anyone is casting about for their next tweet.

It’s so easy to lapse – which can be embarrassing on the Internet, but utterly disastrous in the real world. By “real world,” I mean the world outside of Caleb and Linda Pirtle, Facebook, Goodreads, and other Internet sites. It starts when a writer turns a party or cocktail hour into a series of one-on-one sales pitches. And it soon progresses to evaluating social events solely for their publicity potential. By the way, did you know that anyone – even strangers – may get up and say a few words at a funeral? And what kinder way to help a grief-stricken captive audience than to distract them by … oh, I don’t know, suggesting a good book?

Good lord, I need help.

Just the other day, I received a request from a friend’s unsuspecting wife. Her husband was turning 40, and feeling a little down. She thought some letters and e-mails from his buddies and coworkers might bolster him – nothing fancy, just a few cheery and supportive birthday wishes. What a good wife, I thought. And then it occurred to me that she would probably read these aloud to the assembled family and other guests – maybe dozens of them. Well, of course I complied with her request: after all, her husband is a friend. And I thought my e-mail was perfectly appropriate. But my wife was mortified. I don’t know why. Here’s the actual e-mail (with my friend’s name redacted):

Cover Mill Creek - Final40th Birthday Wishes: Congratulations on your advancement in dotage. I know that some people will tell you the first 40 years are much better than the second. But I can’t agree with that – mostly because i can’t really remember what the first 40 years were like. Come to think of it, I can’t even remember who said that. They’re likely dead by now anyway, so it’s probably just as well; thinking about them would only depress me. Actually, it depresses me that I can’t remember who said it. And these chronic neck and back pains that started when I turned 40 depresses me even more. I’m so depressed.

It’s too late for me. Save yourself. I think Bluto in Animal House said it best: “My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.

But before you do that, be sure to order a copy of my upcoming novel, Hilari’s Head. Yeah, that’s what I really wanted to say. All will become clear after you read Hillari’s Head (coming to Amazon this summer).

“In my humble opinion, Hillari’s Head by Tim Stutler is the finest novel of the millennium – any millennium” – Tim Stutler.

Don’t hate me because I’m turning this birthday wish into a shameless promotion of my book; at my age, it’s all I have left. They’ve taken everything else.

Get it while you still can, and take a copy – or two – of Hillari’s Head with you.

My friend and my friend’s wife, and my wife and her friends, and their friends too haven’t spoken to me since I sent the e-mail. I know, I know. They’re probably right to be upset. I have a problem. But I’m trying to fix it – and to help other writers learn from my mistakes.

So please, don’t be THAT writer. By “THAT writer,” I mean me. And by “me,” I mean Tim Stutler, author of Hillari’s Head – coming to Amazon.com August 1st. Oh sweet Festus, I did it again. I do apologize. I’m so ashamed. I’d better just stop now.

I have some eulogies to write anyway.

 

 

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  • A message is always remembered best when it comes with humor attached. Your message will be remembered. Yet, so often, it’s having the guts to shamelessly promote your produce that triggers them most results. Your blog this morning was a winner on a lot of fronts.

  • This is a gem. I am repulsed by promoting my own work, and I know exactly what you are talking about, here. There comes a point in time when people will stop asking you what you are working on now, because they know you will tell them–and if you ever do start to tell them…they will pick up their cell phone and pretend to get a call right when you are getting to the good part. It is hard to learn just to keep one’s mouth shut. Some of them aren’t really interested anyway. I have one good friend who always comments on my self-promotion posts and she truly likes my writing–that, and the fact that we were raised together as next door neighbors. She would probably do me that kindness, no matter what. Thanks for writing this.

  • Great post, and one that I think all of us can relate to. I dipped my toe into this style and quickly retreated when I noticed eyes glazing over. It’s good that friends will give you a chance to redeem yourself… Thank you for posting this!

  • Tim, fun post and oh so true. Oh, and look at the top of the page if you would like to see my book that was a top five finalist for Best Indie Book of 2012 in the thriller genre, lol. SW

  • Hi-larious! I especially like the quote about the book of the millennium. Obviously, whomever made that comment is brilliant.

    Honestly, I don’t think your’e an over-promoter at all. I also think the eulogies are the way to go. That’s a gold mine right there. 🙂