Shameless Self-Promotion: A Hobbit's Tale

by Kellyann Zuzulo
Don't be ashamed of your book. Bilbo wasn't.
The hobbit wasn't ashamed to promote himself. And he was an author. Bilbo wrote the book, There and Back Again: A Hobbit's Tale. Okay, so it was a book within a book. The point is that he went around telling everyone about that book, which, by the way, remained unfinished for decades. He'd never survive today as a working author. Writers today have to produce if they want to stay competitive. Anyway, back to what writers can learn from Bilbo Baggins.

When an author has a book to sell (yes, authors don't just write books, they have to sell them, too), they often become self conscious about doing what's called "shameless self-promotion. " That seems to imply there's something to be ashamed of to begin with. I don't know how many times I've read blogs by writers sheepishly suggesting that you check out their book, their website, or their Amazon buy page. Okay, there are writers who aren't so sheepish about it. And it can become obnoxious. There's a fine line between  promoting and egotistical gushing. Bilbo Baggins was never guilty of the latter. He was proud of his book. He told friends about his book. He was willing to allow a spin-off by his nephew Frodo. ( Perhaps that's an early example of fan fiction.) The other hobbits in the Shire didn't snicker and roll their eyes when Bilbo mentioned his work. And authors shouldn't worry that people would snicker and roll their eyes when they hear about their work. After all, we're not that different from Hobbits. Well, except for the diminutive stature and hairy feet. 

Hobbits keep it simple. Here's the straightforward and effective and short trailer for An Unexpected Journey. If you do a book trailer, summarize like this and keep it between half a minute and a minute and a half.

Here's my own trailer for The Genie Ignites. I think I learned something from Bilbo. It's concise but informative. It's a bit longer, but then I'm a bit taller.

Use Bilbo Baggins as an example of tasteful self-promotion. 
  • In advance of your book's release, share the date on your social networks  as a simple date and book link.
  • Write a blog introducing your book and who is publishing it. 
  • Welcome other authors onto your blog and offer them some toast and tea.
  • Engage your readers. Don't just tweet or FB about your book. A good rule of thumb is one promotion tweet for at least every 5 to 10 tweets that connect to others, retweet, or share links not related to your book. But do post those links!
  • When you do add a link about your book, keep it simple. "Here's my new book..."
  • Don't apologize or try to be clever when explaining your book. Let it speak for itself.
As an example:
And here's my new short, THE CHRISTMAS BOTTLE, just in time for the holidays. Get it for 99 cents from Amazon or 75 cents from the publisher

(see how I did that ; )
Don't worry. You'll make it there and back again.

Best Wishes,
The proud author of THE GENIE IGNITES.
Available from Boroughs Publishing Group and wherever ebooks are sold.


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