All publicity is good publicity, right?
Some publicity is bad publicity. And, what's worse, some authors bring it on themselves.
In the last couple of weeks I have seen several serioulsy ill-judged bits of self-promotion or exposure that must surely do more harm than good. I'm not going to name names, obviously, but here are things that really are best - and are very easily - avoided.
1. Don't put up badly written blog posts full of grammatical errors, spelling errors, and with no coherent thread. Especially don't put up posts about how you don't have any commissions, your career is failing, you have fallen out with your publisher (then dissing said publisher), you have no ideas or all your ideas are crap. A blog post is a public statement. Your publishers, potential future publishers, agent, readers, potential future readers and any enemies you have might all read it. There are several people whose books I will never buy because their blog posts are so badly written. No doubt there are publishers who won't work with authors because of what they have written on their blogs. *waves to the MD of a major publishing house who said to me "I'm not working with anyone who calls themselves Stroppy Author"*
2. Don't assume that every publisher has turned down your latest book because they can't afford to take a risk/don't have room in their list/can't see its brilliance. It might just not be very good. On the other hand, it might be good. But don't just shove it out on Kindle anyway, with a poorly designed cover, no editing or proofreading and no confirmation from anyone else that it is actually any good. There are people whose next book I won't consider buying because the book they self-published on Kindle is rubbish. No doubt there are publishers who won't consider their next book for the same reason, because you can be pretty sure that if you submit to a new publisher they will look on Amazon to see what you've self-published.
3. Don't put up a hideously amateur, home-made book trailer. You know the type. The author talks straight to camera, having apparently barely given a thought to what they are going to say (unless they scripted in all those ums and ers), their dog wanders across part way through, their phone rings, there is the buzz of a TV and children in the background, they hold up their book, talk about their 'writing journey' and maybe wave a plastic or furry prop or two. They don't edit out the mistakes. They don't even edit out the bit where they lean forwards, looming scarily out of the screen, to turn off the camera. There are books I will never buy because the trailer is so desperately off-putting. No doubt there are publishers... etc
Now, for the people who perversely like to read selectively and misinterpret everything to be provocative: I am not against blogging (dur). I am not against self-publishing good books as long as it's done properly. I am not against people making their own video trailers as long as they do it properly. And of course there is an element of taste. But I'm not talking about taste, I'm talking about quality. It's not a matter of taste if a blog post is full of grammatical errors or your trailer is all blurry (where it shouldn't be).
A bad blog post is worse than no blog post. Self-publishing a book that's bad or not ready is damaging to your career. A bad book trailer is worse than no book trailer.
Act like a professional.