UPDATE: I briefly deleted this post due to a negative feedback from one of the people I follow on Twitter and enjoy reading, who called the idea of a blog pledge drive BS.
I took the post down to consult with the Twitterati, and while people couldn’t read the actual post, the consensus seemed to be (mostly) fair game. Though to be fair, the problem may be in the execution of the post.
So to be totally clear, I AM NOT ACTUALLY ASKING YOU TO PLEDGE MONEY TO ME. This post is just supposed to be a lighthearted reminder/request that if you enjoy the blog, which is free and something I devote a lot of time to, please consider buying the book (which I think/hope you’d really like!). If you want to. I’m not going to go crazy if you don’t.
Finding the right ways to self-promote is not easy and is truthfully is not something I enjoy a great deal, but since I want to continue writing books that find an audience it’s something to balance with the regular blog content. Your thoughts appreciated in the comments section.
Hello! You know how on PBS they interrupt their regularly scheduled programming for pledge drives and there are a lot of people in the background sitting in front of phones that are ringing at regular intervals and maybe there’s a bell when someone makes an especially big pledge?
We’re having a pledge drive today on the blog!
If you like your regular blog programming, please consider that this here blog and the discussion forums are free of ads, are free period, and are you might call a non-commercial enterprise.
If you do enjoy this blog, all I ask is that you please support the cause and consider buying a copy of my novel, JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW. Buy it for a friend, buy it for yourself, buy it and blast it off into space. Your choice! And if you have already bought it and read it, please consider leaving a review somewhere.
It should be available via your friendly neighborhood bookstore, or you can buy it from one of these online booksellers:
Barnes & Noble (hardcover)!
Barnes & Noble (Nook)!
This Week in Books will be back in full effect next week, and thanks so much for your kind attention. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Have a great weekend!
Photo by aficio2008 via Creative Commons
I think that anyone who knows you (by way of this blog) understands you're trying to make it as a writer just like all of us are.
That means getting people to buy your book.
This post shows your creativity in doing just that.
Twist my arm–ya got me. Amazon just took a few clicks.
Twist my arm- ya got me. Amazon just took a few clicks.
Lauren W. says
Nathan I've already purchased your book and I'm reading it my 5 year old son (who's LOVING it!) Once we're done reading I'll be sure to write a glowing review and I appreciate all the terrific advice you've dispensed over the years!
Haste yee back ;-) says
Two things generally sell printed material, 1) – word of mouth. 2) – controversy.
Nice controversial blog post, Nathan!
I can remember a time when you extolled the vitues of "word of mouth" and the "merits" of a book as judged by its' audience that provided for its' success!
Yes, time is not free, but you made a personal choice to spend your agenting time, and beyond, as you did – and now are. (I think you know, no one owes you anything for that. If that weren't true, we'd all be tithing to Albert Einstein's estate for his E=mc2 thinking time, or Paris Hilton's for showing us "how to be a celebrity with little or no talent)!
You and I both know your book will ultimately sell, or not, because it has that intrinsic "X" factor we're all hoping to capture.
Happy hunting… to you, and me.
Haste yee back 😉
Well I bought the book (pre ordered!) and read the book and both my daughter and I enjoyed it immensely so, Yeah, buy the book!
Mr. D says
I learned from you, Mr. Bransford, that blogging is one way to establish a platform.
And the purpose of a platform is to promote books, no?
Your blog is unique not only for the great info it provides but for another reason. It gives the rest of us an opportunity to share that platform.
Of course you should promote your book! Isn't that what we all do?
Although anonymous @ 12:25 has a point. You shouldn't call it a pledge for the reason he/she gave.
Nathan Bransford says
haste yee back-
I've talked equally as much about authors doing whatever they can to give their books a boost. It's not just about word of mouth — that word of mouth has to start somewhere.
I've never posted here before, but I am an avid, thankful reader of your blog. You truly do a wonderful, (hopefully) much appreciated service for aspiring writers–I don't think I could have gotten my own book deal without you. I cannot possibly understand why any of your readers would complain about you trying to promote your book on your own blog.
Susan Kaye Quinn says
You shouldn't have to apologize for promoting your book! That's just a bit silly (not on your part; on the complainers part).
I came across this recently; you might like it: Online Marketing for the Middle Grade Audience
Jennifer Groepl says
Thanks for standing your ground on this one. I'm not sure why writers and other creative types are supposed to feel ashamed about wanting to make a living from their efforts. Self-promotion is a necessary evil of being a writer these days, whether we like it or not. Competition is fierce for writers, and you have worked so hard to create a successful writer platform. There is no reason at all why you shouldn't use it to promote your writing. Isn't that why you created the platform in the first place?
Nathan Bransford says
Thanks for that link, Susan!
Sally Hepworth says
How / where do we post a review? I LOVED your book (which I bought for myself, not my son).
Nathan Bransford says
Thank you!! And anywhere! Amazon, B&N, blog, Goodreads… anywhere is helpful. I really appreciate it!
Michael Winchell says
Well, I love all things Bransford, but I'm siding with Don Linn on this one. I think you'd be better served creating a second blog/website for the book–which I bought, by the way–and then linking the book's blog/site to this oft-frequented blog of yours. I just didn't like the tone, honestly. I mean, tons of writers have blogs and that takes time, which as you said, ain't free. But you know what? You've sold a least some copies (like the one I bought) because of your name, and I bought it not because I want you to keep the blog up and running, but because I liked the concept and knew you'd have a great MG voice. And you do. It's just a bit of a turn-off having a guy I respect complaining that people use/visit his blog but don't buy his book. You're a San Fran guy, Nathan, so let me put it to you this way: You kinda went Barry Bonds on us there for a bit. Just my thoughts, sorry.
Nathan Bransford says
Barry Bonds? Eh? Dude, I'm not taking blog enhancing drugs, these veins are clean.
And I'm sorry, but I'm standing up for myself on this one. Building a separate website costs a lot of money. Keeping this blog going takes a lot of time. I give a whole lot of myself for this blog, and while I'm extremely thankful that people like you have bought the book (seriously: THANK YOU!), fact is there are still quite a few people who haven't.
I'm trying to reach those people. I'm not going to apologize for that. I'm not doing anything I wouldn't have told my former clients to do, what I would tell any aspiring author to do, what I preach on this very blog all the time, what I say in interviews.
You have to try to give your book a boost. You have to try and remind people that if they want to give back to something that they consume for free there's a really easy way to do that that doesn't involve a PayPal donation or a handout.
Being an author involves self-promotion. Self-promotion can rub some people the wrong way, but I can't help that. I think my post was pretty gentle and innocuous, and if it alienates people I feel like thems the breaks.
And I never even noticed the plug!
Other Lisa says
I'm flabbergasted that some people had a problem with that post.
Using your own blog to promote your own book? Why, that's just…um…normal and expected?!
Oh, the interwebz. Where everyone has an opinion…
Haste yee back ;-) says
Nathan, the subtext of this post came across to me as a "guilt me" attempt at advertising/buying your book…
Yes, I agree, word of mouth starts somewhere, but I think not with the author saying… "I did thus and so for you guys, and spent this and that time for you guys, now do this for me!"
If that's what all this Social Media comes done to, one big shill playing upon questionable emotion/s, I dunno, just dunno! (leaves room scratching head)…
Haste yee back 😉
Nathan Bransford says
haste yee back-
If that's the reaction you had it's obviously something I should take into account. I'm not trying to tell you how you should feel.
But I also feel like just about every blog has a thing that goes, hey, like our stuff? Please check our sponsors, or like this blog? Please buy the book.
I feel like I went out of my way to be like, hey, read this blog? Consider buying the book, not hey: buy my book or else I'm going to hate you forever.
But maybe there's a better way of doing it in the future. I be the first to say that when it comes to these self-promos I'm not very good at it.
You have a book blog and you aren't supposed to mention YOUR OWN book on it? Or promote it?
I remember when I was a finalist in one of your first paragraph contests — I think I told everyone I knew, even people who had no clue what I was talking about.
It's totally okay to celebrate your hard work and remind your many blog readers that you've got a book out!! It's a big deal.
hey nathan, totally love your blog. want you to remain fed. hate skeletal writers. i'll buy your book 🙂
I'm one of those people you were trying to reach and it worked. Visa in hand.
Your blog has helped me these past two years and I am a firm believer in supporting authors.
You have courage,Nathan,and that's what you need to have to be successful.
I meant… You have courage and that's what you need to be successful. Apparently what I need is caffeine.
Michael Winchell says
Yeah, Nathan, I have noticed an enlarged neck lately. So, Bonds? Hmmm…maybe.
Really, though, I understand the self-promotion, I really do, but I guess what turned me off was the way you tied the two together, as if someone visiting the blog MUST by a book. Almost as if you're begging. Or bribing. Or guilting them into buying it. That isn't you, as far as I know. Don't you want someone to buy your book for the sake of wanting it, reading it, and appreciating it. Here's an example. Go to my blog right now. Click on my profile and you'll see it (Beanstalks & Bookends). Once you're there, take a look on the right side where I have my reading list. Guess whose book is there? Yes. Yours. It's been there for a couple weeks. Now, here's my point. Did you put a post on this blog begging/bribing/guilting me or anyone else to do such a thing? No way. And if you had, I wouldn't have done it. I don't react well to begging, bribery, or guilt. Admittedly, my blog doesn't have a huge following, but my group blog, Project Mayhem, does have a very good following and it's devoted entirely to middle grade. Check it out if you haven't.
Here's what I offer to you. Let me read your book (it's next on my list) and then I'll do an honest-to-goodness review on the Project Mayhem blog (next scheduled post is August 1st). It'll give you some publicity without asking for it. And if you wish, completely up to you, I'd love for you to have a guest post on Project Mayhem about writing for middle graders, which is what you're doing now. Not agenting, but WRITING. Plain and simple: writing. Let me know.
Thank you for the post. Book ordered. Can't wait to read it. Just saw BB King at the Albert Hall in London. He was playing on stage from a chair, rousting the audience to their feet. He'll be 86 this fall. BB told us, mid-concert, not to forget we could buy the DVD. It's what the greats do. Remind us that we can enjoy their work in the comfort of our own chairs.
Nathan Bransford says
I guess I don't understand the MUST part. I said "consider" not DO IT OR THE KITTEN DIES.
Also: If there were a such thing as a one-size fits all self-promotional post that worked for everyone I'd only have to do one and I'd be done.
Please e-mail about the possible guest post, we can chat about it. I appreciate the offer. https://nathanbransford.com/contact/
David Gaughran says
Let's put aside the fact that Nathan is a writer for a moment.
This is much more than a blog, as any forum regulars will know. I've been on plenty of forums where the owners have asked people to pitch in every so often and help with running costs. Fundraising drives are normal on non-commercial websites – especially those that don't have any advertising.
The guy who pays the bills for the site that we all use and enjoy has come along and said – hey if you buy my book that would be a great help.
And people are giving him grief.
Lori Howell says
Maybe what has some peoples snickers in a twist is the word cause. There is absolutely nothing wrong with promoting your book. I will buy your book, if you buy mine. "An Adventure with Joshua and Hoppy Frog". Promoting is promoting…Keep up the good work.
If you can't promote your own book on your own blog, then what the fudge?! Nathan, your blog is great, informative and worth paying for. Have you considered putting a donation "hat" on your blog? Or getting subscribers through Kindle? I can't speak for others, but your blog is one of the few that I follow that I would pay to receive (like I pay for newspaper & mag subscriptions).
Not saying you can't ask us to buy your book, but my guess is that the majority of your blog followers don't read MG books but those same folks may be very willing to put some scratch in the tip jar or subscribe to keep getting your content.
Thank you for keeping up the great content.
Thanks, Nathan! I live in San Francisco and I actually bought it this week — I picked it up from The Booksmith over on Haight Street. They didn't have it on hand so I had to order it, and as I was doing so the bookseller mentioned that you are on her reading list because she's on a committee to decide the best debut authors for the year. Well, I felt very hip and in the know, explaining to her you were a local author and she should definitely consider you (though I know nothing about which award it is exactly). Glad to help out since I've been a longtime reader of the site and the forums.
By the way, I would love it if you would announce a book signing in the area since I happened to be out of town when you had your book launch!
I want to buy your book – any book – because I want to read it for its merits. Not because I feel guilty for visiting your blog so much.
I felt a bit put off – I don't want to be sledgehammered into buying anything. I want to buy a book because I want to read it.
If you said something more along the lines of – Today I'm begging everyone – if you think you would enjoy my book, please support me by buying it – that would leave a nicer taste in my mouth. I almost feel like I don't like it here as much as I did – and that is because of the guilt trip it feels you are pulling. My instinct then isn't buy the book – it makes me a bit want to turn away, and think – this person isn't for me.
That isn't how I feel about you and your blog incidently, which over-rides it all (and why I have chosen to be anonymous) – but I want to tell you how it makes me feel, as there must be others who would feel the same, but perhaps not like to tell you. And why alienate people needlessly. You are a brilliant writer. You have no need to force people to read your books as if they had no intrinsic merit.
Nathan, your blog is outstanding and provides so much amazing information, I think promoting your book and having a "pledge drive" is a-ok! Thank you for all the energy and effort you put into producing this blog – it is an invaluable resource for aspiring writers.
Jo Eberhardt says
I follow a lot of author blogs. Every single other author blog I read seems to be *only* about self-promotion. It's all: buy my book, buy my book, buy my book, check out my guest post here, enter a competition to win some merch material there, here's some info on publishing that is really just a thinly disguised attempt to talk about my book, oh and buy my book.
Your blog is awesome. I look forward to reading it every day. The trouble with having an awesome blog, though, is that people start holding you to higher "standards". Don't let them get you down. And thanks for the reminder to buy your book. 🙂
David Gaughran says
Sledgehammered? Don't you think that's a little strong?
The words he used were "If you do enjoy this blog, all I ask is that you please support the cause and consider buying a copy of my novel"
All he asked was that you "consider" buying the novel.
I would imagine he chose his words carefully, and he means exactly what is written: consider it.
Nothing more. Big deal.
Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) says
I suspect what has a few people's undies in a twist is that this does feel like a subtle shift. That's why I suggest you do it more often. There's no way with your values you'll shift into spamming, but if this were part of your regular practices, no one would have the right to feel astonished or dismayed. You're just getting pushback about a change, so make the change your new normal.
Paypal donation buttons are another consideration, especially with places like the forums.
"I said "consider" not DO IT OR THE KITTEN DIES."
This is why I love your blog!! And sytle 🙂
BTW…you didn't do anything wrong.
Lisa Ahn says
I thought it was clever and lightly done. I get a lot out of your blog and am looking forward to your book. You've said it yourself before — don't let a single negative opinion, or even a small cluster of them get you down.
Kevin Lynn Helmick says
I don't see anything wrong with what you're asking. Like you said,'your time, your blog, your book.' you can do what you want, if your fine with it; that's all that matters.
Maybe even do a drive, once a week or once a month for some other writer you think needs and deserves the attention.
I get that you're making a bit of joke here, but maybe you should consider selling some merchandise. Of course the book is first and foremost but maybe a Jacob T-Shirt or even a Nathan mug might help keep the blog rolling. You put out an amazing, and free, product almost daily, and you gotta eat somehow.
I don't know if you signed away your merch rights, but I'm sure you could work something out with the publisher.
Plus, if you have Wonderbar shirts, you could use them as promotional items in contest giveaways…
Just a thought.
I've come here of my own free will to read your blog. I've gotten tons of free writing advice… here on YOUR blog. Let's see… I'm here reading… YOUR… BLOG. And you shouldn't be allowed to promote your own book?
I don't get it.
Marcia Richards says
Reading your blog has made it east to come to like you and want to support you. My opinion is that that should be enough, along with mentioning the availability, to sell your book. I can see asking people who liked the book to please review it on Amazon, since that helps your sales, and it's a way folks can support you further. I don't feel comfortable with you outright saying 'buy my book and review it because I give you a lot of free content'. It smacks of a tit-for-tat attitude. It doesn't suit you. I intend to buy the book for my grandson, but I wouldn't if that post was the first I'd ever read about you. A softer appraoch is usually more successful, not to mention acceptable.
Nathan Bransford says
Thanks everyone for all the great feedback. This is enormously helpful and I really appreciate it!
Lisa Goodwin says
Your blogs are wonderful, and you offer so much great advice for aspiring writers. Actually, your blog was one of the first ones I started read an follow. Such good advice, and help for writers. I wonder how many writers you have helped on their path to becoming published authors?
Everything I have read of your posts are funny, entertaining and enjoyable, as well as providing valuable information.
I know you can't please everyone. And I know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even if they are misinformed. *smile*
This is your blog,please Just keep doing what you do and sharing what you share!
You are a great motivator and everything you have shared is so helpful, and funny! And I don't remember ever being charged anything for subscribing to your blog.
Plus, your pledge drive reminded me of my youth when we only had 4 television channels
Thanks for the smiles!
I think those people who've gotten their knickers in a twist over this need to look up the word "consider" in the dictionary. It means to think carefully about.
You didn't ask people to buy your book, you asked them to think about buying it. That's a no pressure sales pitch.
And so you have uncovered one of those little ironies in the writing community: there are quite a few writers who need a class in reading comprehension.
More power to you…
Well said, Jenny Bent 🙂
Oh – and I'd like to add the best of luck, Nathan. I've read the chapter sample, and Jacob seems like a fabulous read. Right up my reading alley. I would love to buy a copy and will. Thanks for the reminder.
Dawn Anon says
Negative…about that? oh for petesake!
I expect writers to promote their books on their blogs. It's part of the reason I read blogs by writers. And I hope (if someday I write a book that makes it to some form of print) that I will be able to think of entertaining ways to remind folks that it is for sale.
Bryce Daniels says
Nathan: You may not remember me, but I won a copy of your book through last year's NCAA challenge.
Now, I'm not a book reviewer. I don't profess to be one, and don't want to even take a stab at it.
Other than AWESOME. You made two children hungry for more. Not only did they DEVOUR your book, but they both insisted on getting library cards immediately after reading yours.
I HOPE that's good enough for you. It is, without a doubt, good enough for me.