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The Line Between Promotion and Interaction



Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Ben Oakley

I use Twitter for two reasons, promotion, and interaction. Two words that throw writers off the rails and into the doldrums of questionable insanity. Why? Because it’s all so dirty.

Promotion, AKA: Marketing, advertising, selling, shifting books, is considered not to be the job of a writer. In fact, promotion, call it what you will, is a huge part of a writer’s life, if not bigger than the writing aspect itself.

Most writers realise early on that you simply can’t produce a book and drop it into a galaxy of works only to have it magically picked up, read, and lauded from on far. We know we will not sell a million copies, nor we will garner the critical praise of the planet.

For most writers, it’s not the point.

Yet, by promoting our labours of love, there is a chance that we may reach our intended audience. Though we may not achieve critical acclaim or hit that million-copy ceiling, we would have sold a book.

And that, dear reader, is the aim of producing a book in the first place.

We write books to be read AND sold.

I don’t for a second believe that writer’s produce books only to be read by other people. That maybe the honourable purpose, but the very process of having someone read your work means they have paid to read it.

You can give it away free until the end of time but until you get that sell, your work cannot be accepted as a marketable product. And a product is exactly what a book is.

There are exceptions to the rule of desiring others to purchase your work. Educational books, free guides, catalogues, articles, or news reports are some that come to mind. But here’s the crux, people would have been paid to write them.

Again, there are exceptions to that rule. Some educational books would have been written ecumenically with a group of teachers who would never receive royalties, as the book would never be on sale in the first place. Yet, they would be paid as teachers, therefore there is money changing hands.

Ultimately, a writer of books, whether fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or screenplays, wants to be paid for their work. If you’re writing a book with the intention of never selling it then good luck to you. I’m certain at the back of your mind, the words masterpiece, bestseller, or critical acclaim, would have rolled through at some point.

Writers don’t author books to be stored away on a file never to be seen by anyone else. We write books to be read and we aim to have those books sold.

Is there really a fine line between promotion and interaction?

What exactly am I talking about here? Well, to promote your work – to get that sale – you need to shout about it to the heavens. One way to promote your work is on social media.

I’m an advocate of Twitter, I find it to be more beneficial in terms of traction than other social media sites. Mostly, I despise Facebook and Instagram, and don’t wish to be part of a social media culture that promotes falsities and life-deception above honesty and kindness. More on that in another post.

To promote work on Twitter, I need to post about it. Which is fine but it needs to be promoted daily, mostly through an automated scheduler like TweetDeck. Yes, every single day, you will find promotional posts on my Twitter feed.

I produce a lot of work very quickly. I have a new book release every two months on average. If I’m not promoting my previous books, then how will I find new readers? This is alongside traditional paid advertising methods.

Promoting your work daily may turn some followers off but it will more than likely convert into a sale from a new reader or new follower. I have no idea why an author would shy away from promoting their work.

You did it! You wrote that bloody thing, had it edited, designed, and published. Why wouldn’t you shout it to the world over and over? I know I would, and I do.

Use both promotion and interaction techniques.

On the flip side, it’s not a good look to simply have a Twitter feed that is full of promotional posts and absolutely nothing else. This is where interaction comes into play.

Interaction doesn’t always mean leaving comments and talking to others, though it’s wise to always reply to comments on your own posts. The simple act of retweeting is interaction enough, if you don’t have the finger energy left to tap out a conversation with others.

By retweeting, it shows we are active and interested in what others have to say, which is one of the reasons for Twitter in the first instance. Some people are against retweeting, they think it clogs up their feed with irrelevant posts from others that takes eyes away from their own work.

That’s what you have a profile description for, and a pinned tweet in addition if needed, to promote your work and links on a static basis.

If you’re not interacting on Twitter, not even a retweet, then your feed comes across as self-important and cocky. Though the proof is in the content of the Tweets themselves, a feed full of self-promotion is a turn off. Even Elon Musk and Obama retweet relevant content.

Authors should promote their work and they should be proud of it, if that means seeing a regular promotion post on their feeds every day, hidden in the retweets and rants, then good for them. They’re getting out there and telling the world they created something they’re proud of.

Authors should interact with other authors, creatives, readers, and fans. For without interaction, we’re just a machine devoid of the sensibilities that, in a sense, make us human.

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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!