Me: You know, looking at a lot of the online self-promotion that writers do, I sometimes wonder if most of it is just being seen by other writers — book trailers, guest blogging, that sort of thing.
Poe: Is that such a bad thing?
Me: Well, the hope is that your promotional efforts reach plain old readers too.
Poe: Aren’t writers also readers?
Me: Well, yes . . .
Poe: In fact, wouldn’t you say that writers are quite likely to be the most avid readers out there — not only buying more books, but also being the type of person most likely to thrust that beloved book into the hands of someone else?
Me: Hmm. What’s your point?
Poe:My point, fellow scribe, is that if your goal is to reach the most enthusastic readers possible, then you’re quite likely to find them among your fellow writers. It’s like in Malcom Gladwell’s Book, The Tipping Point —
Me: Wait a minute. You read that book?
Poe: Certainly. It’s on your bookshelf there.
Me: But you’re like four inches tall. How’d you–
Poe: I’m locked in your office all day. I have a lot of time on my hands. The point is, Gladwell writes about how those early enthusiasts of any product, call them early adopters or what have you, can by instrumental in getting the word out about any product — whether it be shoes, technology, or even books. I think it’s quite likely that by promoting your work to other writers you have a decent chance of reaching enthusiastic readers who might just spread the word to those readers who aren’t writers.
Me: Ah. You’re pretty smart for a piece of plastic.
Poe: Don’t insult me. I’m a poet.
A lot of people know that I’ve got an Edgar Allan Poe action figure in my writing office at home, complete with a miniature raven on his shoulder. He sits by my computer and looks on while I type. After a while, I started talking to him, sharing my concerns about writing, family, and life in general. One day, amazingly, he started talking back.