Flamenco Dancing on a Dead Horse

K.S. Brooks by Richard Kridler
K.S. Brooks by Richard Kridler
K. S. Brooks firing a Sig Sauer 2022 9MM by Richard Kridler

I’m not going to beat a dead horse. I’m going to Riverdance on that carcass. That’s right. Because I don’t bang my own head against a wall anymore. Shooting things is far more rewarding. And productive. And fun.

There’s been a lot of complaining going around lately. Some of it’s good, some of it’s annoying. This past Friday, my buddy Ed McNally wrote a brilliant post. If you missed it, read it here. Ed pointed out how much negative energy was being spent complaining instead of banding together and working towards a common goal. So I shall now add my two cents to the compendium.

One of the great things about being an Indie Author is it’s sort of like being in a club. I’ve virtually “met” helpful, smart people…authors who take the time to give advice, to share links, and to promote their peers. People like Stephen Hise – the evil mastermind and Founder of Indies Unlimited. That dude spends all day long supporting authors – selflessly giving his time and energy and asking nothing in return. People like Hise make me proud to be an Indie.

Unfortunately, for every Hise out there, there are about 1000 people I’d like to toss into the Amazon River during piranha mating season. These are the people who cast the cloud of unprofessionalism over the Indie community. And here are some of the things they do, in no particular order.

Please don’t just post the link to your book on my Facebook page in your self-promotion “blitz”. Honestly, it is a blitz, short for the German word Blitzkrieg, which means “violent and surprise offensive.” How’s that for a hint? Posting your link on ANYONE’S page without permission is offensive. Believe me, if slapping a book link up on my Facebook page actually yielded results, I’d have sold a lot of books. In fact, let’s do the math: 825 Facebook friends x 9 published books = 7425 books sold. Since I’m not driving my new Saab convertible, you can pretty much assume blitzing my FB page does NOT accomplish anything, unless you’re trying to piss me off. In that case, congratulations, it worked.

I belong to a lot of Facebook Author Groups. I try to visit them at least once a day whether I’m posting links to helpful articles or not. I stay in the group a while, and I look around. Know what I see? Nothing but promotions. There are only a few other people who share information which might actually shed some light on new technologies or methods for achieving sales success. Those are the people I’d like to know better. So, does banging other authors over their heads with our books really accomplish anything? Hmmm…I may be having déjà vu.

And it’s the same on Twitter. I’ve followed back everyone who followed me, and now I’m inundated with their self-promotional tweets with the same review quotes and links to their books auto-tweeted on an hourly basis. I can’t even find the stuff that’s tweeted by the people who are NOT doing promotion. I’m so turned off to Twitter right now that I don’t even go there. I guess that worked out well for everyone, didn’t it?

I’m always right there when someone asks “How can I promote my book?” Well, if you’re reading this, first of all, you’re obviously smart and have good taste. Thank you for stopping by Indies Unlimited. Nice shirt, too. Most likely, this post is not directed at you because you’re a proactive go-getter. Honestly, that’s what we’re here for – helping authors promote their books – and helping readers connect with books which interest them. So when someone asks the same question once a week and doesn’t take advantage of the myriad opportunities presented to them – I have to ask myself if they really want to achieve anything beyond sympathy…or attention.

The same goes for those people who ask for input but don’t really want it about their book covers, rough draft stories, etc. – they-all can knock that off as well. It’s just a huge time-suck which is unfair to the people who are actually trying to help.

I could go on, but I won’t. Well, maybe I will. No, just kidding, because as Ed said I have better ways to spend my energy. And so does everyone else.

The number of truly amazing people I’ve met through Indies Unlimited, and also through Book Junkies, is staggering. They’re not the majority, as I mentioned, but they’re the ones truly worth searching through the haystack for. They know who they are. These are the people I want to hang out with. I’m proud to be in the same club with them.

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K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist and photographer, author of nine books, and Co-Administrator of Indies Unlimited. For more information, please see the IU Bio page and her web site: http://www.ksbrooks.com/[subscribe2]


Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist, photographer, and photo-journalist, author of over 30 titles, and executive director and administrator of Indies Unlimited. Brooks is currently a photo-journalist and chief copy editor for two NE Washington newspapers.  She teaches self-publishing and writing topics for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page.

57 thoughts on “Flamenco Dancing on a Dead Horse”

  1. I have to agree with you entirely on this subject and Mr Hise if you are reading this, Kat is right – you are one of the best guys in Indie World.

    Okay enough of smooching and back to promoting – Kat where can I stick my book cover? Didn't you say it was okay to shove it on your facebook wall? 🙂

    1. Beat you to it, Carol! Your book was on my wall yesterday after I liked it in the Smashwords-fest.

      But see, you ruined it by asking first. LOL

      1. I know the problem – someone got me last week, too. Not just for his book, but for another writer as well.

        I also wish people would stop asking to be friends on Twitter, then their first direct message to me is promotion for their book!

    1. It's relatively safe to have KS behind you. Mader is another story all together. It still hurts to sit down when the wind blows just right…

  2. I've reluctantly left all writerly groups on Facebook and Linked-in and everywhere. Some were okish, but the time-sink looking for the nuggets of gold between the promos, the complaints about promos, the fake advice asks which were actually promos, the people who ask people to like each other so they can promo and whinges about being suckered into liking people when… I'm losing the will to live even thinking about it. And it all really affected my writing time.

    Indies, however, well you're all cuddly little nuggets of gold and worth every minute.

  3. I am better at shooting a .22 rifle and mini-14. I quit promoting too much on twitter. I still put up my books every once in awhile, but not every half hour. I used to do it with my articles on Helium.com. What happened is that I made 8.00 a month revenue sharing instead of 6.00 so in my opinion it didn't help at all.

    So I see your dismay (or pain or rage) 😉


  4. You said it in a nutshell! The only thing I will add is that there may be some people out there who really don't understand how the whole thing works and before they learn they may do selfless book promoting on every venue they have. However, there's no excuse once they "catch on." I have to admit I was guilty of the Twitter thing for a couple of days. I really didn't know how the whole machine worked and I thought you were supposed to post your book links 24/7. Lucky for me, I caught on and stopped before any real harm was done. Thanks for sharing this informative piece.

  5. I agree with L.Leander. Truthfully, I had no idea on how to promote my novel. I was just happy to have completed it. I, like most people followed the little bit of advise that was give at the time of publishing. That advise was to "share" our links. Good for you that you have so much insight on this business. Unfortunately the rest of us dummies have to stumble through it as best we can while we try to figure out what the hell we're doing. None of it's easy or natural. And, there is so much "advise" out there. If I read it all I'd never get a word written. Yes, we do make mistakes. Many of us are babies to this industry without the help of an older sibling to guide us through. So, though you may be annoyed by the repetition of our moronic blunders, you can't deny that the efforts were well intended and not meant to offend you.

    1. K.L., different things work for different people. The only thing that offends me is when someone posts on my FB page without asking. To me that's the equivalent of someone coming to my house and putting a sign on my front yard advertising their wares. Tweeting is completely different. If it's done on an hourly basis, it's overwhelming. And I don't know if it's "insight" as you say, or personal preference. But I do know that someone jamming their book in my face is going to make me not want to buy it. How does it make you feel when someone does that to you?

      1. K.S. Truthfully, I get stuff jammed in my face all the time. I get it all day long working as a Bartender. I get a dozen messages a week from sales people on my answering machine at home which is why I don't answer the phone. And, since I'm a nobody, I don't have anyone plastering my FB with their book links. However I do have people plastering my page with their "Causes", petitions and political opinions. I "get" how annoying that is which is why I use the delete button. Don't think I'm trivializing your aggravation. I just felt compelled (perhaps unwisely) to respond to your complaint. And, NO, I wasn't one of those who posted links to your sites and I'll be certain that it remains so …, lol.

        1. We all get slammed with something, don't we? And truthfully's a good word. You and AC got me thinking, I'm formulating a sort of "do's and don'ts" kind of thing for beginners, but it really all comes down to a matter of personal taste. And don't worry, I know you weren't the person who posted to THREE of my pages in one day, and one of my friend's as well. I must really be a nobody, though, because I don't get the other stuff plastered on my pages. And no one calls me because I don't have a phone. LOL

          1. Lol! No, phone…, I wish. K.S. wonderful idea, the "do's and don'ts". It's been over a year since I first published my Ebook and I'm still stumbling around in the dark. What I'd love is a road map but if you're offering a flashlight, I'll take it. It would sure make it easier to see some of the obstacles in front of me. I'm tired of bruising my shins. 🙂

  6. Go Kat!

    It is easy to spam and abuse your business networks, at least until they block you. It is harder to use creativity and establish a marketing plan that will reach a potential reader. Many suggestions are being made here at IU. I am currently writing my post for next week, and the topic is promotion related.

    I think some people just have no manners, or are so narcissistic that they truly believe they are above the rules. That their masterpiece warrants special treatment. They don't read posts like Valerie's, Ed's or this one, and when they do they don't think it refers to them.

    My solution is simple – I don't buy their book.

  7. Great post, I made a few blunders at first but quickly caught on (I think) by reading everything I could get my hands on- indies unlimited continues to be a great learning source for me. Otherwise I prefer a nine-shot revolver- great for busting out knee caps.

    1. Thanks, Jen. Glad we're helping…I know it's hard to know what to do – shoot, I started out back in 2001 before anyone knew what self-publishing was. Before Facebook, Twitter and social networking. Man, before Facebook…that makes me feel old!

  8. Agreed. I go to my twitter seldom because I can never find what I want there. But others seem to get something out of it so I continue to tweet. I do look at the personal messages that come to my email and they do indicate that I am connecting – a bit.

    The same goes for facebook. I use it to pass on info but rarely actually go there to read it myself. I do answer personal messages, though.

    You mean it's Ok to tweet a promo, like a freebie, more than once? I never have, but hey, if it's not BAD I may next time. How often would be OK?

    1. Yvonne, I'd think if it's a time-sensitive event or offering that it would be fine to tweet more than once. Not everyone is online every moment, so tweeting something every few hours "tune in for my radio interview…" or something like that is quite understandable. To me, personally, the guys who tweet the EXACT same tweet 3 times a day EVERY day "everyone in the world should read my book" with a buy link really needs to come up with a better way. I'm just not getting anything out of that. Well, except annoyed.

  9. WOOOOT! I want a "like" button and a "give Kat a big, squishy hug" button! Fabulous! I've learned more from my indie friends in the last six months than in TWO DECADES of writing on my own.

  10. I would like to know about ONE author who became successful through social media. Just ONE. As far as I know it hasn't happened. The successful indie authors we've all heard of and admire, such as Amanda Hocking, Darcie Chan, J.R. Rain, J. Konrath, et al didn't use Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or other such sites. They wrote good books (or even not so good books) and sometimes, good blogs that attracted attention. Most wrote series. Some were really lucky. Some spent money on advertising and promotion. I've seen famous authors on Facebook and Twitter, but I don't think they're promoting, they're just schmoozing with their fans. So why bother with social media? Maybe it helps but is it worth the time sink and pissing people off with spam?

  11. Glad to read this! A guy who posts incessantly about his book on Facebook was indignant when somebody complained about it – all his friends jumped in to support him, angry at the curtailment of free speech. I was just glad somebody had the balls to complain!He reckoned it resulted in sales but I'm damned if I'd buy his blasted book!

  12. Kat, I have the same reaction when people post their promotions–their book, their cause donation URLs, etc.–on my fb page. Or their dog photos. Yes, no dog photos.

    Nice gun you've got, btw.

    And I *shall* review the piece you send the pdf of—actually, am looking forward to grabbing the time to finish reading it.

    Best to you,


    1. Hi Paula! It wasn't my gun, but I enjoyed every moment with it. And thanks for remembering about the pdf – I'd forgotten! Nice to hear from you.

  13. I'm still new to IU so I don't know if there's a page for this or not but…based on some of the comments I've read and on what I've seen on LinkedIn I'm wondering if a simple, step-by-step article on marketing for newbies might help.

    On LinkedIn there was a lot said about using social media and social networking to market one's book but no information on /how/ to do it. The very best advice I read was to build relationships and then let the marketing take care of itself.

    That advice made sense to me and fitted with my comfort level when it comes to self promotion [2 degrees above zero] but I know it won't suit everyone. There is a need out there for something though. Any brave soul prepared to do a Marketing for Dummies article?

    1. AC, I do believe you are right on the money about building relationships. I think when it comes to marketing, it's really just a matter of evaluating how you'd feel if someone did it to you. In my queue to write in the next couple of weeks is a sort of "checklist" of things to do after your book is released. It's not about techniques, though. It's really up to the individual if they want to be known as the annoying used car salesman or not.

  14. Very true! I think the biggest issue is that people are uninformed. Its an issue that occurs when a market is opened up. Suddenly, hundreds of thousands of people are entering what used to be a closed off room, with no experience or instruction on the proper etiquette of entry. I think the best we can do as a collective is educate other writers – its a benefit that works both ways. Or we could shoot them… 😉

    1. Heh Stacy. I like it! The best practice I believe authors can have – no matter how seasoned – is to ask themselves how they would feel if someone did it to them. I understand that because – and you're right – with the market now opened up – people feel they need to shout louder than the next guy. But does someone yelling at us make us want to buy? I'm thinking no. LOL

  15. Hmm. Thoughtful. I'm new to all this and this post is enlightening. I did the same thing with Twitter and it took all the fun out of it for me. I was considering unfollowing the worst offenders and THEN read a bunch of Tweets about how completely awful people are who unfollow other people and how there is no reason to do so blah, blah, blah. So, I felt frozen. Like well, why would I want to piss all these people off, right? Maybe I should just flamenco dance on their dead asses.

    1. Well, I say unfollow. If it takes the fun out of it for you and you never go there – then their tweets aren't being seen by you anyway. I bet most of them won't even notice that you've unfollowed if they're so busy tweeting every 5 seconds. Do what's right for you.

  16. Great post, Kat. Gee, I was going to stick my book on your FB page, but I guess I had better not do it now. Wait! I don't even have a book yet!

    I get annoyed, too, when I see post after post with nothing but "buy my book" on them. I certainly won't buy their book. In fact, I wouldn't even take a look at their web site. Too bad they can't see that they are 'accomplishing' the opposite of what they are trying to do.

    1. Thanks Diane! Good to see you here. And I don't mind if my FRIENDS post their books on my page, so when yours is finally done – keep that in mind.

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