Last Saturday, in an unprecedented flurry of marketing activity, I sent a press release publicizing my book to an online heavy metal-oriented webzine, a print magazine, and my college alumni journal. I also sent my story about spending 24 hours aboard an aircraft carrier to the Navy. It was the most intensive session of self-promotion that I have engaged in thus far in my writing career. That’s right: four emails were all I could muster in my effort to market my writing beyond Facebook friends.
Self-promotion involves effort, and effort conflicts with my inherent slothfulness. I do have a Twitter account, but I have managed only a single tweet. I should have a Tumblr account, but I’m uncomfortable being affiliated with a spelling error. My friend Sean and I even have plans to start a metal-oriented podcast and have recorded three episodes. Sean has the equipment and skills to make the podcast a reality, but he shares my proclivity for laziness and, in addition, he’s a perfectionist. You’ll have to wait a while before you get a chance to hear us online.
My press releasing was inspired by an editor from a heavy metal webzine. He came across my book while surfing Amazon.com and stalked Facebook to find me. He messaged that he was interested in getting a copy for a review and interview, and I excitedly mailed one to him. While I am thrilled that I might become a feature in his online magazine, it was painful to spend the money to ship the book to him. He lives in Canada, and the international shipping costs are outrageous. It would have been cheaper to mail him a check for the cost of the book so he could order it for himself. I’ll have to sell half a dozen copies to make up for the postage.
As for the press releases, I’m doubtful much will come of them. I’m far too lazy to research the “right” way to market my work. I did a brief Google search for how to promote a book, and the first article recommended a press release-style announcement. It also offered a sample, which I promptly copied. I did change the title of the book and author name, of course. My lethargy does have limits. But sending these press releases to the “Contact us” email addresses of various publications is a proverbial shot in the dark. I hope the people that receive my emails are generous, curious souls willing to give my book proper consideration, but I am prepared for the possibility I will be deleted forthwith.
While the odds are slim my press releases will lead to bestseller status, I’m pinning my hopes on the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” adage. I’m not sure sending an email can technically be considered venturing, but it’s certainly more daring than watching TV.
My reluctance to self-promote is based on more than indolence. Marketing my writing is one of the more obnoxious things I do: “Hey, stranger! Here’s stuff about ME! Don’t you just love it?” I am a memoirist, after all. I’m not just pushing my writing, I’m pushing myself. While I have an arrogant streak, I don’t necessarily like to make a big deal of it. And, yes, I recognize that blogging isn’t exactly a selfless act of humanitarianism. Wow, am I just a messy pile of humility and hubris, or what? I think I’ll spend the day trying to sort out that pile. Or I’ll watch TV and obsessively check my email for responses from magazine editors. Either way.