Should Authors Forego Schilling Their Own Work?

I saw this post cited on a few other blogs. Basically it states that author’s schilling their own work is more annoying than effective.

I have no doubt that my sales would have been diminished if I hadn’t put as much marketing effort into 32 CANDLES as I did. Also, I think marketing is a good thing, in that it gives authors something to DO, as opposed to simply wringing their hands and worrying about their sales numbers. Constantly marketing is better than constantly worrying about your numbers.

Some argue that marketing is outside of most writers’ skill sets and therefore something we shouldn’t have to do. I would argue back that anyone who wants anyone to buy something that he or she has made should make acquiring a marketing skill set a priority. Most actors don’t complain about having to do interviews to get the word out about their movies. Most businesses don’t complain about having to advertise their product, I’m not quite sure why so many authors complain about having to promote themselves. Literature is a consumer-based business, why should authors be exempt from having to help get the word out about something they want consumers to buy?

That all said, I do agree that it can’t all be self-promotion. There are certain authors who do nothing but promote their own work. Reading a blog or twitter-feed that only lists the author’s interviews, appearances, and accolades is not worth reading. In cases like these, I think it’s better for the author to throw up a website and go about writing the next book as opposed to purely schilling one’s own book(s) online.

As with most endeavors, it’s important to strike a balance. If you start a blog, don’t just talk about your own writing. If you write a book, do yourself (and your career) a favor and learn the marketing basics. The only regret I have so far is that I’m not better at the marketing game.