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Book Reviews, The Writer's Life

Post, Pimp, Promote: Writers Helping Writers

A new take on a familiar concept has been circulating in the blogosphere recently. It’s a variation of the Pay it Forward idea of a few years ago. This one’s called Post, Pimp Promote, and it started in March with a post by writer Chuck Wendig, who invited visitors to promote their work along with that of someone else.

It’s come to me through blogging pals August McLaughlin and Marc Schuster in this slightly different form:

1. PIMP: Share a link to a blog post, book or other venture you’re stoked about.

2. PROMOTE: Share a link to a pal’s post, book or other work you think ROCKS.

3. MINGLE: Have fun checking out others’ links, while the rest of the partygoers enjoy yours. Feel free to pop by later or over the next few days to catch links of the fashionably late.

I love the idea, and plan on including at least one pimp in my blog each week. However we promote the work of a writing friend or just someone whose writing we admire, this is worth taking some time. Remember, there are very few ways writers get promoted these days. The media ignore us, and even most publishers do little in the way of PR.

If we don’t pimp each other, it won’t get done.

Here’s this week’s pimps:

Fellow reviewer Daniel Wallace has an essay/review on Fiction Writers Review that discusses Brian Kiteley’s The 3 A.M. Epiphany and examines creative writing philosophies and pedagogies in general. An excellent read. Here is Daniel’s blog post, and here is the essay.

Next up is a new chapbook of poetry by Thom Dawkins. The Los Angeles Review’s Anne Shaw says of After Alluvium, “Dawkins rejects hipster irony in favor of a nuanced consideration of our histories: literary, ecological, spiritual and human.” This slim volume is handmade by Three Sheets Press.

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About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.

Discussion

28 thoughts on “Post, Pimp, Promote: Writers Helping Writers

  1. Love the concept of PPM. Thanks for the interesting links.

    Posted by Nadia Ibrashi | June 16, 2012, 3:09 PM
  2. Thank you Joe. You are a great pim–I mean, you are a great promoter.

    Posted by Daniel | June 16, 2012, 9:33 PM
  3. :) And here I thought I was just being lazy by making my planned Wed. blog post pretty much all about The Trust, a book I just read for a friend of mine (one of the authors of the book)… now I can write it off as good karma!

    Posted by Helen Pattskyn | June 17, 2012, 10:56 AM
  4. Great post! I love your thoughts and attitude regarding writers helping writers–so important. Can’t wait to check out the links! Both authors sound fantastic.

    Posted by August McLaughlin | June 17, 2012, 6:11 PM
  5. Thanks for this heartening, humorous and somehow very uplifting post. You’re entirely right about this. As a recovering career academic, and as the daughter of a failed business man, I have something of a trauma-reaction to the words “sell sell sell,” but if I can shift those words to “support, educate, disseminate” in service of the members of my artistic community, then the politics and ethics of those acts feel very different to me. Thank you again!

    Posted by Stephanie Barbe Hammer | June 17, 2012, 7:31 PM
    • I operated a small business for 14 years and never got used to the idea that every relationship, every nicety was based on eventually selling something to someone. Promotion is a necessary part of life, but the idea that the only thing that matters is sales (check the mission statement of just about every corporate board) reduces that concept to simple self-interest.

      Which brings to mind a quick side topic: yes, much of the nation’s charitable donations come from corporations, large companies and wealthy individuals. Is the goal of this philanthropy societal good, or good PR? I like what Dr. Cornell West says on the subject: “There’s a huge difference between philanthropy and justice.”

      I’ve blogged about that before. Maybe I’ll revisit.

      Posted by jpon | June 17, 2012, 8:34 PM
  6. Posted a deep reply that got disappeared by the internet. In short, great job on this one. If we can educate, disseminate, and support the work of our writing communities, we are taking important steps towards making our culture(s) more vibrant and sustainable. inspiring!

    Posted by Stephanie Barbe Hammer | June 17, 2012, 7:39 PM
  7. The optimist in my wants to believe that we can help each other. It’s a beautiful thought.

    Those blog awards were an awkward attempt at this. Guest blogs are fun, too, and interviews, but I’m open to other ideas about how to do this. It seems to work best with two writers who have a similar style and one blogger is bigger than the other– one nice person who had recently been Fresh Pressed mentioned me on her blog and I got a huge jump, but I don’t know if anyone stayed because her style was so different from mine.

    Any suggestions of other ways we could band together and support each other?

    Posted by girl in the hat | June 18, 2012, 3:14 PM
    • That’s a tough question, Anna. The writing business has become so corporatized that we already spend a huge percentage of our time promoting ourselves, which makes it difficult to find time to promote others. I’m a little lucky because with my position as an editor for LA Review, info about other writers comes in constantly. I can basically pick and choose what I want to promote. (Of course that takes a chunk out of my day too.)

      Like everything else in my writer’s life, I am trying to set guidelines. I only blog once a week because to do otherwise would take too much time from my creative writing. With the promotion, I try to limit it to an hour a day–most of it is spent on Twitter, HootSuite and Just Unfollow (all related), so I can get my followers numbers up, which allows me to promote other writers to potentially thousands of people. What do I get? Influence, mostly, and the possibility that others will promote me when I have something going on. In the last month my Klout score, which measures my internet influence (yes, there’s a web site for everything), has gone from 25 to over 40, which is supposed to be pretty good.

      So to get around to answering your question, I believe the answer is to think long term and act short term (a variant of think globally, act locally). I wouldn’t expect any particular action to make me a star–successes like our friend Averil Dean’s are few and very far between. But I hope that my efforts will have a cumulative effect. So if I see an opportunity to retweet something interesting or otherwise promote someone, I will try to follow up. It may not seem like it helps me today, but it might help me (and the other) tomorrow.

      Sorry for the long answer.

      Posted by jpon | June 18, 2012, 9:27 PM
  8. This is a great idea, Joe. Can I pimp in comments, because I’m crazy for Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and nothing would make me happier than to see it knock that 50 Shades trio out of sight on the Amazon sidebar.

    Posted by Averil Dean | June 19, 2012, 12:49 PM
  9. Everybody is reading 50SOG.The question is why?

    Posted by Nadia Ibrashi | June 19, 2012, 5:05 PM
    • Sex, with no deeper message.

      Posted by jpon | June 19, 2012, 6:41 PM
      • You know, I beg to differ slightly. 50 shades is actually providing helpful information for folks interested in exploring the BDSM community. An interesting question for us, as writers, is what the growth of BDSM might mean to us and what that designation “us” might actually constitute.. I suspect that the answer to that is quite complex. I blogged about the use of erotica over at Magically Real, and I think there are some issues to explore around the fifty shades craze.

        Posted by Stephanie Barbé Hammer | June 19, 2012, 6:55 PM
      • Point well taken, and I shouldn’t judge a book without reading it. I based my comment on what my wife (who is reading it now) said. It was clear she liked the sex, and didn’t care much about what it might mean.

        Posted by jpon | June 19, 2012, 7:09 PM
  10. Joe, read the book If you can get past the first few pages,and get lulled by the simple conversational style . Cosco has a dedicated stand for the 50 shades trilogy, which it had never done before for any book. It is about sex, of course, with a crash course in sex toys and BDSM, but it is also about the power of love to redeem. I’d be curious to see what you think.

    Posted by nadiaibrashi | June 20, 2012, 1:53 AM
    • Thanks Nadia and joe. Yeah, I think it’s really a romance in the old school genre sense – where people grow and are changed/transformed a la Northrop Frye’s definition of the form. I havent read the 3rd one, but perhaps I should, and then can comment on the end. It’s also interesting for us in that it originated as fan fiction in the TWILIGHT slash community.

      Posted by Stephanie Barbé Hammer | June 20, 2012, 2:05 AM
  11. Hey Joe,

    I hope this finds you well.

    So, I took your advice and bought the book about Twitter strategies. It’s amazing. I’ve almost doubled my Twitter following two-fold. But here’s a question for you: the author take you up to 2000 followers and it sounds like he has a strategy after that, which makes sense considering that many of the followers I’m getting now have nothing to do with writing/storytelling/PR or any other field that might relate to me. So, what does one do next? I haven’t gotten there yet, but I guess I’m curious if I missed something.

    OK, social media guru, guru it out for me.

    Be well,
    gabe

    Posted by the circular runner | July 23, 2012, 7:24 PM
    • Hi Gabe,

      Glad to hear it’s working for you too. I’ve developed a few additional strategies of my own that may help. First, regarding the 2000 limit, he’s referring to Twitter’s restrictions on accounts that reach 2000 following, without having a similar number of followers. I didn’t have any problem with that, since I built my account 100 or so at a time, so the numbers were always fairly even. Once past 2000 followers the strategy is the same, as far as I know.

      One thing I started doing early on is limiting the people I follow to those involved in the writing or similar businesses, and ignoring the scammers and other, non-writing accounts. I also pay attention to who I select to go after new followers. I’ve noticed that people with fewer than 200 or so followers don’t have many active followers. Those with over 4000 usually are followed by tons of non-writers and are not worth searching. The best people to scan for followers usually have from 1000-3000 followers. And if an account is like mine, that is, has a strong writer contingent among their followers, I’ll go well past the recommended 20 people to follow.

      The result is more of a writers’ community than just a bunch of followers. That way the people following me are more likely to pay attention to what I tweet, which raises my web influence, which is what I’m really after with all this–I need all the help I can get in getting publishers to realize I’m out there and can provide good marketing reach should they publish a book of mine. This means a little extra work, but hopefully it will be worth it.

      And use JustUnfollow often. I find it a fabulous tool. It’s definitely worth the $10 to get the unlimited usage. I go in every 2-3 days and unfollow the people who didn’t follow me back. I also follow people who followed me first. This keeps my numbers looking as good as possible. They also have a great new tool that lets you see who unfollowed you.

      I am going to suggest to Richard that he add these side strategies and offer a version of the book just for writers and artists.

      Hope this helps. If you have more questions, feel free to email me.

      Joe

      Posted by jpon | July 23, 2012, 8:12 PM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Pimp another stef/ph No.1@ Storytime Sunday: Stefanie Freele’s “Sweet Venus” « Stephanie Barbé Hammer @ Magically Real - July 1, 2012

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