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The shamelessness of self-promotion...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DrFrylock, May 9, 2011.

  1. DrFrylock

    DrFrylock
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    I generally loathe self-promotion. I think it's gauche. Well, that's not completely true. I loathe obvious self-promotion. For example, a manager that really talks up how well her subordinates are doing and the great things they're accomplishing is actually self-promoting at the same time, but at least she's not being obvious about it.

    On the Internet, however, it seems that the taboo against self-promotion has largely been eviscerated - now, everyone and their Mom is whoring, whoring, whoring.

    My co-authors and I recently got together to discuss a second edition of our book and possibly writing a second book together since the first one went pretty well. We also discussed promotion strategies. We noted that our giant megacorp publisher had certainly imbued our first effort with "cred;" but didn't do a very good job of promoting the book.

    We went out of our way to avoid "shilling" it directly, although we did provide the publisher a large dossier of potential people to contact about it (which they promptly roundfiled, we now learned). We also did not get anyone we knew to review the book on Amazon or anywhere else, preferring "organic" reviews from real readers. A "competitor" of ours, on the other hand, got about 5-6 of his good friends to immediately post glowing, near-messianic reviews of his new book on Amazon. They all used their real names, but none disclosed that they were close friends or coworkers of the author (we know this because we know all these people personally).

    Because of all this, for our next edition, we are strongly considering abandoning shame and whoring ourselves out as much as possible. We will likely have to get temporary lobotomies of conscience to stomach this, but it seems to be the way of things now.

    FOCUS: What are your experiences with self-promotion and the accompanying shame? Is the stain of whoring yourself out now diminished in light of the egalitarian Internet? How much is too much?
     
  2. lust4life

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    I'm much too humble to participate in such a discussion.
     
  3. Noland

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    Frylock wrote a book?
     
  4. NotaPharmacist

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    Paging Alabama's top legal mind and future MFA candidate...
     
  5. Frank

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    The other week I found a report I put together being complemented on someone's blog because it was well detailed. I posted something about it on my facebook account because it was the first time anything I wrote for work got any sort of public recognition and the guy who wrote it is extremely successful. I purposely didn't say it was me that wrote it in my post because I hate getting the fake congratulations from people who just want to give positive reinforcement, but don't want to be bothered with reading whatever I'm posting about.

    Not a single person gave me any sort of complement or recognition. My own girlfriend just said 'oh neat' and closed the page immediately, SHE WOULDN'T EVEN TAKE THE TIME TO READ THE TWO PARAGRAPHS THAT WERE QUOTED IN THE ARTICLE AFTER I SAID THEY WERE WRITTEN BY ME*.

    In hindsight the subject matter is EXTREMELY boring for anyone not working in some sort of financial field and the fact that I wrote it is buried deeper than you would expect, they would have had to open up the article, click another link and scroll to the bottom of a 5 page cover letter to know it was the company I worked for, and there's no way I should have expected someone to dig deep enough to figure it out, I know I wouldn't have.

    *I'm actually very happy about this, now when she asks me to help her with or attend some dumb school function I can say "you remember that article I showed you complementing my work and you wouldn't take 30 seconds to to read it? Yeah, good luck getting me to care about your stupid job."
     
  6. mya

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    What you call shameless self promotion others may call marketing. You can have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows about it...
     
  7. MoreCowbell

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    This is why I have always been very bad at writing cover letters. I have plenty of substantive qualifications for things, but goddamnit do I hate writing promotional fluff. I've often had to get other people to help, because I just can't do it.

    In a perfect world, cover letters would typically read as follows:

    Quicker to read, quicker to write, no bullshit. Better for everyone.
     
  8. Guy Fawkes

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    There's a fine line between enough & too much self promotion.

    However in your case you're promoting a book. You want it to be successful so you need to get eyes on it. Don't think of it as self-promotion think of it as marketing.

    You want to get paid... then get fuckin hustlin.
     
  9. DerrtySlime

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    I'm not a fan of self promotion either. The best guests on various interview shows are when the guest tells a story, or something he is interested in and wants to talk about. A recent example of this is when Will Ferrel shaved Conan's beard on his TV show.

    With that said there are plenty of different ways to create a buzz around your product. It sounds like you should explore some of those. Spamming on Twitter / Facebook is pretty weak, but of course both platforms allow you to spread the word very easy.
     
  10. BL1Y

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    Expect that no one will put in more effort to promote you than you put in yourself.

    I, obviously, don't mind self promotion. I think what makes self promotion truly obnoxious is when what you're promoting sucks. If Phila Lawyer retweets something someone said about Happy Hour is for Amateurs with a link to the Amazon page, is anyone really that annoyed by it? Probably not.

    On the other end, there's crap SEO whoring sites [rhymes with Flawyerist] that spam Twitter with links to a lobotomized 200 word article on the importance of having a phone in your office, which is then linked to 5 other similarly bullshit articles.

    Some people hate advertisements altogether, but I think many of us appreciate it when someone brings to our attention something we're probably interested in. Compare how you feel to seeing the second Head On commercial within the same commercial break to how you feel about finding out that the place you love to eat at is having a 50% off promotion all week.

    If you feel shame about peddling your book, ask yourself if you think the person you're peddling it to would enjoy it. If it's to an individual, would they like it? If it's too a bookstore, will they be able to sincerely recommend it to customers? If so, that should help you not feel too scummy for telling them about it. If not, work on the book until you think it's worth promoting.
     
  11. Nom Chompsky

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    I have a story tangentially related to the thread!

    As some of may know, and none of you will care, I do some marketing, specifically on the internet. While I do enjoy being able to charge people for dicking around on blogs, parts of the job DO feel pretty dirty. I'm not somebody who enjoys self-promotion -- I almost never even promote my OWN blogs -- so having to do it for a client goes against my nature.

    I had one client, who is a musician. A large amount of my day was spent emailing various blogs asking them to review his work -- over time I probably wrote a few hundred such emails. Austin alone has like 50 fairly heavily trafficked music blogs. Ideally, you'd want to cultivate a relationship with the people you talk to, and actually add something of value before making a marketing pitch or request. All jokes aside, the reason why BL1Y hasn't been blocked or shunned is that he was a valuable (?) member of this community (??) before starting his website. Same with 1002.

    Unfortunately, I didn't have this kind of time. So I developed a template for this sort of email that was somewhat friendlier than REVIEW please. When I was briefing a new coworker on the client, I gave her the template I had been using. It went something like this:



    Not the most intimate or well-worded, perhaps, but I had very limited time to send a bunch of these. Apparently, my co-worker had even less time, because once when I checked the email account, I saw this:


    She had sent out a whole slew of emails without even bothering to fill in the template. If you're not familiar with marketing, this is generally considered a Bad Idea.
     
  12. bewildered

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    I think there is a big difference between self promotion through the proper channels, and....the crappy kind.

    If you're posting positive reviews on Amazon, buying ad space, etc, then those are all appropriate measures and no one will feel that you are being overbearing, pushy, or annoying.

    When you bring your book or product up constantly in every day conversation or if you are the guy who tries to sell his shitty products at social/family functions obsessively, then people are going to loathe you for it.

    The measures and ploys that you mentioned your acquaintance going through all seem pretty straightforward and reasonable. I'm sure there are PR people who could give you a million different ideas about how you should go about whoring yourself out in the most professional way possible, and I'd listen to them.
     
  13. jrussellmikkelsen

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    Sounds like you got this whole "relationship" thing figured out.

    focus
    I don't hate self-promotion, but I do stink at it. I wish I were better. When I watch others successfully promote themselves I am envious.

    Self-promotion is a skill. Maybe part of the reason people hate it so much is because we've seen too many examples of those who over-achieve on the "shameless" part and destroy the "promotion" part.

    Now, with internet and all, I at least try to promote my stuff. Mostly I am ignored and I still feel the shame. So, yeah, good job me.
     
  14. BL1Y

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    Dude, you just have to DHV, do a little bit of push-pull, and engage anti-flake mechanisms.

    I've seen some people who seem to self promote very well. No clue if they get much success, but at least they seem experienced and comfortable. ...They also seem really scummy, like used car salesmen or people who work for network marketing companies.

    I've made a couple attempts at directly contacting companies to try to sell advertising space and...well, nothing yet. I have no clue what I'm doing on that front.
     
  15. Harry Coolahan

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    I've gotten pretty good at self-promotion due to competitive job applications and the like. I've helped quite a few people with their own applications and what I've realized is it takes a certain skill or mindset to be able to look at your own accomplishments and recognize them as objectively interesting or unusual. A lot of the time, our most interesting qualities and accomplishments are the ones we take for granted.

    Often the things we put the most work into are not readily impressive to others, whereas the things we've been doing on the side as a hobby or passion is the one that separates us.

    I also don't think it's being humble to sell yourself short when you're trying to self-promote. People can't know what you're about if you don't tell them. And it makes you kind of boring, in my opinion.
     
  16. BL1Y

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    Scratch that. I have one very solid lead (likes the price, wants to start advertising later this summer), and have a call next week with a company that spends a mountain of cash on marketing.

    Pretty soon, you guys are going to have to find a new whipping boy.
     
  17. Frank

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    #17 Frank, May 11, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015
  18. katokoch

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    A required class at my business school was on self-promotion, i.e. getting better at whoring yourself out in resumes and cover letters. The funny thing is that the professor was the most insincere and fake professor I had. Nobody could stand her except for those that directly sucked up to her. However it is necessary to be good at that if you want to do well at big job fairs and in mass interviews to get precious internships at big companies. Case in point, fuck that.

    I keep my blog running but I've never been motivated by views. It's not one of those things that will ever be really popular as a blog too, so I haven't focused on that. Instead it's for the sake of archiving progress on projects and creating an interactive portfolio of sorts that is easy for people to navigate, so I focus on content and connectivity rather than just getting as many people as possible to click on stuff and put it up on Facebook.

    I do put a bunch of photos up online on forums, but I rarely include the site url with them- I only do it when there's a lot more information in the blog than forum post and it's something cool. I personally don't like it when businesses (or at least people that make $ from it) really push themselves on bboards like this so I try and avoid coming off like that. I share stuff because I do a lot of work people aren't too familiar with and everyone likes gun porn.