Thursday, July 10, 2014

Not Self-Promoting—Self-Alienation

Copyright © 2013 John Foxjohn
First Published by 1st Turning Point, 2010

Self-promotion should be a positive, enjoyable experience.  Others and I have come on here and told everyone things they can do to help in this endeavor—that is the positive spin on self-promotion.
Unfortunately, some authors start out in the hole and if they dig it deep enough, it’s hard to get out.
Imagine hearing someone say…
“That author’s writing stinks.”
“If he or she can publish a book like that, anyone can.”
“Publishing a book like that shows that there is hope for me.”
“He or she doesn’t know how to write.”
“I’d never write a book like that.”
“The author’s writing is pitiful.”
“That author doesn’t have a clue how to write romance.”
“That author doesn’t have a clue how to write mysteries.”
“That author doesn’t have a clue how to write suspense.”
Have you heard people say things like this?  Unfortunately, when you hear these kinds of statements, they usually come from writers.  To be honest with you, most of the time these statements come from unpublished writers.
Now, I’m not about to stand up here on my pulpit and tell you that I have never done it—I have, and trust me, I’m not proud of it.
I’m not saying this because I am a published author.
Sure, there are books and authors that I don’t read.  I don’t like the way they write, or I don’t like the genre, so I don’t read their books.  That’s human nature and the realism of the publishing business.
There has never been a book printed that everyone loved—nor will there ever be.
The truth is, writing is subjective.  What I like or what you like may be different from what someone else likes.  There’s nothing wrong with this.  We like things based on our opinion and taste.
Others like things based on their opinion and taste.
When a writer stands up and says that another author’s writing is trash, that writer is stating his or her own opinion, but saying it as a statement, like it is a fact.
Statements like this tell others three things:
  1. The writer saying this thinks he or she knows more than the author who wrote the book, and all the publishing professionals who put that book on the market.
  2. Their word is gospel.  Because they don’t like it—no one should.  Some people might say that this is ego run a-muck.
  3. Maybe most important, that writer is saying that anyone who does like the book is ignorant, has no taste, and is not nearly as intelligent as the one who stated his or her opinion as fact.
In other words, the person making these kinds of statements is insulting everyone who likes that author’s books.
I know that there are a couple of the mega-authors who have come out with statements like this about other published authors, but the truth is, this doesn’t happen often.  For the most part, I have found that most published authors aren’t egomaniacs.
One of my favorite authors is John Sanford.  I like his books, the genre, and the way he writes—for that reason, I am going to use him as an example.
Let’s just say I don’t like John Sanford’s writing—you know that isn’t true, but for argument sake, let’s say I don’t, and I go around trashing his work.  I’m not only insulting John Sanford’s work, I am telling the millions of people who read his books and love them and put them on the New York Times best-seller list numerous times that my book is nothing like his.
If you make statements like this or anything similar, not only are you showing publishing professionals that you are an egomaniacal amateur, you are insulting people who might one day consider reading your books.
The good thing is, there is a cure for this kind of self-inflicted idiocy.  Just stop doing it.
I broke myself of it, so anyone should be able to.
Now, what does this have to do with self-promotion?
The object of self-promotion is to engage readers into wanting to read your books.  You will have a better chance of doing that if they don’t hate you to begin with.

John Foxjohn, the author of the best-selling true crime, Killer Nurse, epitomizes the phrase "been there--done that." Born and raised in the rural East Texas town of Nacogdoches, he quit high school and joined the Army at seventeen: Viet Nam veteran, Army Airborne Ranger, policeman and homicide detective, retired teacher and coach, now he is a multi-published author. 
Growing up, Foxjohn developed a love of reading that will never end. In fact, he refers to himself as a "readalcoholic." He began with the classics and still lists Huckleberry Finn as one of his all time favorites. Later, he discovered Louis L'Amour and besides owning every book he wrote, Foxjohn says he's read every one of them at least five times. 
However, when he was twelve, Foxjohn read a book about Crazy Horse, and decided right then he would also write one about the famous Lakota leader. After many "yondering" years as L'Amour called them, he spent ten years researching his historical fiction, Journey of the Spirit, now titled The People's Warrior. 
Maybe because of his eclectic reading habits John has not limited himself to publishing in one genre. In fact, he has published mysteries, romantic suspenses, historical fiction, legal thrillers, and nonfiction Killer Nurse. 
When he's not writing, teaching writing classes, or speaking to different writing groups and conferences, Foxjohn loves to spend time square dancing, working in his rose garden, or in his garage doing woodwork. However, his passion outside of family and writing is without a doubt, anything to do with the Dallas Cowboys. 

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For months, the DaVita Dialysis Center in Lufkin, Texas had been baffled by the rising number of deaths and injuries occurring in their clinic. In April alone, they’d rushed thirty-four patients to the hospital. But no one expected such a horrific cause to be behind it all.
Kimberly Clark Saenz was a well-liked licensed vocational nurse at the center. The East Texas nurse was a mother of two, and known for her smiles and the stories she told to help patients pass the time. But on April 28, 2008, witnesses came forward to say that instead of lifesaving medication, they’d seen Saenz adding toxic bleach to IV ports. Turns out, it wasn’t the first time. Once caught, the shocking story of Saenz’s murderous practices began to unravel…

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