Thursday, 16 September 2010

Self-Promotion - Does it sometimes go too far?

Mark Samuels has raised some interesting issues on his blog about the amount of self promotion that goes on these days amongst various writers.

Mark says: "I’m finding it increasingly difficult to drum up enthusiasm within myself for the horror/weird fiction genre right now. It’s not the literature itself that depresses me, it’s the insular self-obsessed promotional circus that surrounds it. I know there are good talented folk in there, but, by heaven, they’re not the ones making the most noise."

I must admit I do have a certain amount of sympathy for what he says. I've noticed on the BFS Forum (and elsewhere) that some people (a minority) only seem to find the energy to post something when it's about themselves and never say anything about other writers or about anything else in fact. A bit of self promotion is all very good - and these days writers do need to use their voice if they're to be noticed. But some do take this too far. Whether this ultimately does them any good or not, I'm unsure. When I see certain posts from some of the worst culprits, I must admit I avoid them like the plague.

Mark adds: "It used to be acceptable to hold the view that if you were talented enough, you didn’t have to talk about your work; others would do so."

Maybe, but there is a kind of quid pro quo attitude, and unless you are prepared to talk about others, I don't think many will talk about you either. Of course when that happens it's called back-slapping or cronyism which is perhaps regarded even worse than self-promotion!

I like to hope that Mark's attitude is the right one. But message boards aren't the place to find it. That's in reviews by people who don't have an axe to grind, like She Never Slept  or The Black Abyss or in journals like Prism.

Edited to add Weirdmonger too, the unique D. F. Lewis, whose reviews, especially his Real-Time ones, are so enjoyable if sometimes mystifying to read!


  1. I always buy the books I real-time review - so I hope I can also be seen to be axe-grind-less!
    I have already stopped myself on most forums. I have great sympathy with Mark's blog. I intend to vanish altogether soon...
    Another interesting thread on this subject:

  2. Thank you David... that's always nice to hear, and thanks for linking to our news/reviews site (I added you to my links page in return - ). Please do email me, I'd love to review "The Lurkers in the Abyss" - I just need to know who to contact.

  3. Agree with Mark. I am tired of even promoting myself nowadays - its an exhaustive unproductive affair. I have a particular gripe with the one post, here's my new novel approach - as another guy you've never heard of insists you read his work.

    Craig Herbertson

  4. I guess I am guilty of this on some forums. But on other forums I interact more. It all depends whether the subjects discussed interest me enough to get involved.