Are Authors Too Naked in their Self-promotion?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Author self-promotion is a necessary evil and a ubiquitous 24/7/365 business. But can it go too far?

By Edward Nawotka

“I’m nude when I’m alone, and I’m nude when I’m in his arms, but never in a sort of casually stupid gesture of the morning or whatever. Never.”

“So nudity is not something trivial?”

“Of course not. But we know that.”

I, too, must never be nude in front of my husband, she advised. “You shouldn’t,” she said. “Otherwise, he won’t buy you lunch.”

La Seduction - How the French Play the Game of Life

The above passage is excerpted from La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life by Elaine Sciolino, forthcoming this June from Times Books in the United States. The book outlines what are described as the “hidden truths” about seduction. Sciolino, who is in conversation with singer and actress¬†Arielle Dombasle, notes that seduction is a battlefield of communication. “Seduction is transmitted substantially through words — what you say and what you decide to keep quiet, about, Dombasle said. “Voila. That’s the key. Seduction is not a frivolous thing. No. It’s war.”

Today’s editorial discusses the launch of a new writer’s co-op aimed at helping authors reach new audiences. The initial plan for promotion is as simple as making the authors available to book clubs who want to chat via Skype. Increasingly, authors are being called upon to handle some of their own publicity and marketing. And the advent of digital publishing means that not only are authors asked to write and make appearances, they need to tweet, blog and do whatever else they can to maintain the interest of their readers.

Previously, you might have heard from an author once or twice a year, when their books were released in hardcover and paperback — and even less for those not so prolific. Today, it’s a 24/7/365 cycle of promotion. There’s the passive and mundane sort of promotion — where you can subscribe to tweets that range from what an author had for breakfast or saw when they walked their dog, to pithy profundities on what they read that day. And there’s the active sort, in which a writer might ask their fans to design a book cover for them — a la what Timothy Ferris and Gary Vaynerchuk did for their recent titles (Vaynerchuk, in a classy move, printed the several covers, in full color, in the back of his book, The Thank You Economy).

The question is: At what point does author self-promotion go to far? When do you get to see too much of a favorite author?

Let us know what you think in the comments?

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.