Pimp My Writing

kiss-562556_1280Whore yourself; sell more books. Scandalous! Unflattering! True! A good writer is as much a pimp as an author, dressing his or her books with glitz and glitter. The author puts each book on display in the hopes a client will pay for the pleasure of spending a few hours in their company before tossing them aside for the next novel of the night. The right covering sparks expectations of what the book will deliver. The right words on the heel of that enticing image will merely fan those flames into a passion until the reader must handle that book and flip through to the last page until every quivering literary urge is satisfied.

Whoever said we shall not judge a book its their cover was a liar or naive. I confess I have trouble pimping my books. Fantastic novels sell themselves.  Mine need a little nudge. I am a terrible salesman and a horrible pimp. I have the ego, but not the talent, for grandstanding my literary prowess. Tooting my own horn does not come naturally, but like all forms of musical talent can you not supplement skill with practice? The salesman inside me is locked in an eternal struggle with the artist: for the latter, nothing is ever good enough; for the former, nothing is ever glam enough.

Fantastic books sell themselves. Mine need a little nudge.

There is only so much horn-tooting an author can do and there are only three main notes to play: cover, blurb, and promotion. Does the cover catch the eye? Does the blurb reel you in? Does the promotion ensure the book-snatching public is aware of your book’s existence and snatchability? We will save covers and blurbs for another day and focus on promotion. Stand behind your book and get the word into the streets. Many may be tempted to promote your book with the wrong venues. Book signings are a joy, radio interviews are fun, and newspaper pr spots give you a sense of hometown pride. By all means, do them and enjoy them. However, none of them will likely sell you very many books without enough towering fame to make them largely superfluous anyways.

You are a creature of the internet and ebooks are your main bread and butter—focus on the world wide web and reach more people. Sadly, many promotional sites require a minimum number of 5-15 reviewers (which is a sticky catch-22 if nobody is reading your books already). Guest blogging is another way to enlarge your audience; if nobody is reading your blog (or book), offer to write a few articles for someone else’s blog and at the very end of each put your contact information and a short pitch for your book. Some companies will even run guest blogging tours for you to maximize your exposure or offer to target reviewers for you. Along the same vein, author interviews are an excellent way to get your name out there.pimp-hat-25485_1280

This is a risky business for shy people, so don’t be afraid to don the fuzzy purple hat, strut through the streets, and hawk your books to the world.  Here are some weblinks to get you started:




Thanks for reading!

J. H. Bardwell