Friday, February 10, 2012

Promoting With Friends

As you may know, I recently released a new humor book, Nonsense for Nothing. So far, the response to it has been very positive. My family can't recommend it highly enough.

I'm not sure how my friends feel about the book. To be honest, I haven't told too many of them that it's now available. I'm not much of a self-promoter. It's not easy for me to talk about myself. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I suppose this is one reason why I've yet to be invited onto a late-night show to discuss the book.

(If I were a guest on a late-night program, it would be the shortest segment in TV talk show history:

"Shane, tell me about your book."

"Yeah, it's called Nonsense for Nothing, and in it I talk about love and pop culture and glasses and stuff. I guess it's entertaining."

"Very good. Valentine's Day is coming up. Do you have any plans?"

"No. I'm single."

"Yes, I understand you recently came out of a long-term relationship?"

"No, that's incorrect. I think your researchers got wrong information. I've been single for a long time."

"OK...well, the title of the book is Nonsense for Nothing. Shane, thanks so much for stopping by. We'll be right back with Lana Del Rey!")

I did share an iTunes link to my book on my Facebook page, but only after great hesitation. I was initially worried that I would be bothering my friends by plugging a book they might not even be interested in reading. But I became less concerned after I logged onto Facebook, scrolled down my News Feed, and counted 11 or 12 baby pictures that had been posted by friends earlier in the day.

Make no mistake: I am so happy that my friends are raising healthy children who are impossibly adorable. But since they've chosen to provide hourly updates on their babies on Facebook -- they never even bothered to ask me if I wanted to receive updates -- I won't feel too badly about repeatedly linking to my book. They can promote their babies, and I'll promote my books.

In one sense, Nonsense for Nothing is my own baby. I created it and raised it to be the best humor book it can be. In another, more important sense, it's a book that I want my friends to download.

I've posted the iTunes link to Nonsense for Nothing on Facebook five or six times, but I don't believe many friends have seen it. My pals tend to act surprised when I mention the book to them in person. "You released a book? Congratulations! I'll be the first one to download it!" "Too late for that, it's already received a lot of downloads." "Great! I'll download it right now!" They never download it "right now," but it's the thought that counts, right?

I wish my friends would be more honest with me. My feelings wouldn't be hurt. I'd rather they say, "I don't think I'll download your book. I'm not reading anything you write unless it's available through a Washington Post or Yahoo! social reader." Or, "I'm not going to see your dumb band play at a dumb bar. I retract my 'Maybe' from your group invitation." Or, "Learn how to cook already. We're all posting pictures of our dinner every night on Facebook while you're wasting your time eating cereal. Don't be anti-social."

Because most of my friends haven't seen my links, they seem to have trouble finding my book online. I've told them they can download it by searching for it on iTunes. Their standard response: "Can you send me a link?" I inform them that they can find the iTunes link to my book on my Facebook wall. "Cool," they reply, "send me a link." Note to Apple: you really ought to promote this iTunes thing. I have friends who have no idea how to access it and search for stuff on it.

It's slowly sinking in that my links are not very effective, for whatever reason. I'll still continue to post the links, though. At least until I become a father and have something new to promote.