Stop Begging. Please.

Badly written self-published books don’t make me feel embarrassed to admit that I am self published.

Neither do poorly edited ones.  Or bad covers.  Or even gay dinosaur erotica. As far as I’m concerned if an author wants to publish a text file that is the word “banana” repeated eighty-thousand times and a reader wants to pay money for it, both have my blessing.

No, what makes me ashamed to admit that I am a self-published author is the constant begging.

PLEASE buy my book!
PLEASE leave a review!
PLEASE support my Kickstarter!
PLEASE donate to my website!

Seriously, people, stop it. You’re making us look bad.

Believe me, I understand that it is tough to support yourself with a full-time job and also write full time.  It’s frustrating to spend a year of your life on something and see it selling like pork chops in Mecca. Most writers will never support themselves with their creative work.

Neither will most musicians, most graphic artists, most stage magicians, and poets never make a living from their work until they’re dead.

Deal with it.

I have nothing against honest promotion. Selling a product is part of the job of producing a product.  I know I ought be doing more promotion than I am.  It’s the part of the job that I hate, so I don’t do as much as I should.

There is a difference, to my mind, between offering a product for sale because you believe that customers will get a decent value for their money and asking for people to support you because you are tired of holding down two jobs.

That line has been crossed so often and so quickly by self-published authors that it’s all but eradicated from the skid marks.  And it makes me very hesitant to talk about my work at all, because I know that people, as soon as they hear “self-published” start waiting for the charity pitch.  I don’t want charity.  If my work doesn’t stand on its own it deserves to fall.

My finances are not your problem, and your finances are not my problem.  Neither of our financial states are any business of our readers.

If your work is worth publishing you will find a way to get it to the marketplace.  If it isn’t, then no one else should be asked to subsidize it. I know that’s harsh, and I’m sorry, but life is harsh.

Deal with it.



About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
This entry was posted in Artists That I Admire, On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Stop Begging. Please.

  1. LindaGHill says:

    Agreed. Nothing turns me away from a book faster than begging, especially when the author is simply begging for money.
    On the bright side, my job brings in a whole $15/week, so pretty much anything I make on the sales of my book will be a bonus. 😛

  2. I’m loving this. Gonna share and gossip about it while I slap hi-fives today.

  3. Jonas Lee says:

    I think that you have a good notion with “begging” becoming the usual with self-published authors. It can get fairly tedious seeing it pop-up with posts a lot. Then again, why not remind people that you have a book for sale or if you sold one remind them to review it. It never hurts to ask in my opinion. We’re floating in a sea of other Indie writers and if we can get anyone’s attention, it’s worth it. If people ask constantly, they’re signing their own death warrant, so let them.

    • MishaBurnett says:

      My concern is that it is becoming the usual, as you say, and as a consequence self-publishing as a whole is getting a reputation for constantly asking for money.

      • Jonas Lee says:

        It’s like seeing a bum on the corner begging for change. On the first one, you feel a need to help, but seeing them block after block gets tiresome

  4. sknicholls says:

    I agree with you on the in-your-face marketing that screams, “Buy my book,” and the net-handling, like panhandling.

    I can’t agree about the lack of proper editing and proofing. An author who chooses not to clean up their work is digging their own grave. I have recommended authors I felt had terrific stories to tell. People have emailed me or PM’d me on Facebook to say, “Great premise, but this author’s work is so riddled with typos, poor grammar, and errors as to be unreadable. Please don’t recommend such titles to me (or on my page) in the future. It is a bad reflection on all self-published work.” I may read it, but I can’t recommend it.

    Word-of-mouth goes a long way in marketing, and if that is what people are saying about your work, you won’t be going far as an author…no matter how many volumes you put out there. I know one author who has twenty-three books. Each one that I have read has a couple of great reviews. The two books I have read were so unreadable…I will never purchase another and would never recommend him.

    • MishaBurnett says:

      I personally feel that a poorly edited book makes that particular author look bad, but poor behavior makes us all look bad. I’m not sure why.

      • kingmidget says:

        I have read countless examples of readers who completely dismiss the entire self-published category because of their perception that books in that category are poorly edited and of poor quality. So, unfortunately, the quality of others’ books in this category does effect us all.

      • MishaBurnett says:

        I, personally, have never run across anyone who has said in print that she or he refuses to buy self-published books as a class because of a purchasing a poor quality product. Can you provide an example?

  5. Doug Daniel says:

    I basically agree with the point you’re making. I have never been comfortable with the “buy me, buy me, buy me” school of indie marketing. Aside from a brief period of Twitter-spam I committed early in my self-publishing effort, I’ve had a tendency to rely on my blog to let people know what I have available. I’m shy to start with, and making a spectacle out of myself has never felt right.

    Having said that, my sales for 2014 were practically non-existent, so it’s obvious I need to figure out some sort of strategy. Just not sure what at the moment. And I don’t think I’m the only indie author in this boat.

    • MishaBurnett says:

      I think we are harder on ourselves than we need to be, actually. The US economy is in the worst shape it’s been in since the 1930s, and there just isn’t a lot of discretionary income out there. You can’t sell to people who can’t afford to buy anything.

  6. agmoye says:

    Reblogged this on lightningbooksbyagmoye and commented:
    I, too am reluctant to push my books anymore after being inundated with constant buy my book. Very good article so I re-blogged it. A.G.

  7. gay dinosaur erotica? I sincerely hope not.


  8. Dr. Mauser says:

    I’m not worried about money, I just want to be read, and then I want people to tell me it’s good.

  9. I fine it even more annoying when someone omits the word “please” and just demands.

    I also don’t like the attitude of ‘Your a writer, u owe it to all writers everywhere to buy and like and give good reviews for there books cos your a writer and if you would of published a book and noone liked it you will feel bad wont you?’ Yeah, I saw you flinch. 🙂 Now imagine reading a whole book written that way and being told that you “owe it to all writers” to give such a book a 5-star review.

    If someone has published a book, I certainly don’t mind them letting everyone know. I WANT to know about books written by bloggers I follow. An occasional ‘Hey, I published a book — here’s the link, if you’re interested’ isn’t a problem. (And if I am interested enough in what they have to say on their blog that I’m following it, I’m a lot more likely to buy their book to show support for a fellow author. Funny how being a nice and engaging person works well as a marketing ploy, too.) Incessant Tweeting and spammy Facebook posts (on groups that specifically do not allow self-promotion) and making every single blog post about how everybody ought to “Buy My BOOK!!!!!!!!! cos its the most uniquest fiction novel ever”… No. Just don’t.

    • MishaBurnett says:

      I have seen a lot of people taking that approach: “You MUST support me because we are both self-published.” No, actually, I mustn’t. I support writers whose work I enjoy. Period.

      • kingmidget says:

        Definitely agree with this. Far too many self-published authors have fallen into this trap … pushing every self-published book out there regardless of whether they’ve even read it. There are so many examples of blog tours and reposts and other efforts by fellow bloggers to push the works of other authors and they’ve almost lost all credibility for me because there’s no way all 72 bloggers who post about the book the day it’s published could have possibly read it that quickly. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much.

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