This last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of promotion on Ink Spells! Between the Anthology Promoting Breast Cancer Research (see my guest post on PK Hrezo's blog), the Military Family Giveaway, and the just concluded BlogFest 2011 (Winner is Alison! Congratulations!!), there's been a lot of giveaways going on here.
Nathan Bransford recently suffered some backlash for promoting his book on his blog, which I think is a bit silly, especially given that the Great NateB is the original Mr. Nice Guy (see corndog on the sidebar). I mean, authors have to promote their work. It's a part of the business. It can be unpleasant (if you are excessive about it, or obnoxious), but it doesn't have to be. It can be fun and rewarding and a great way to meet readers, writers, humans, and possibly even cats. (Ok, maybe not the cats.)
The key, in my mind, is making sure you provide some value add to your readers (of your blog, of your book, of your author newsletters), whether it's entertainment, information, or just a connection where you share something in common. Connection, in my opinion, is the most powerful way to go about it. Because, in the final analysis, that's what writing is all about: connecting with other people, through your words.
This is true for accomplished writers, as much as for debut novelists.
I love when big time authors like Scott Westerfeld still tour and take time to give his fans a thoughtful presentation as well as a signing. Or mega-hit authors like Suzanne Collins are so gracious when the mobs are lined up for her signature.
Thank you to Michael Connelly for being so nice to my mom! And to all the authors out there, new and veteran: remember that connecting with people, through our writing, through our presence, through the simple human gesture of taking time to shake hands with a long-time fan, even when you're exhausted ... this is what our writing is all about.
You can call it promotion. Or you can think of it as the amazing work we're lucky to do.