A friend of mine asked me to promote her new business that she had started. I shared a link on Facebook and told a few people about it. A lot of us comics sell our own products such as CDs, t-shirts, and (of course) books. We don’t really promote each others’ shows or merchandise though (nor do we really ever ask that other comics promote it for us). Why is that? I’m not saying we should, but instead wanted to explain why we don’t and shouldn’t (with a few exceptions).
Whether we want to admit it or not, we’re kind of in a competition with one another. Not necessarily on stage, but on the internet. Comics tend to spam the hell out of Facebook friends on upcoming shows. Friends get sick of hearing about promo. So if we’re going to make annoying promotions (almost all of them are), we want to reserve that for our own shows and products. (I’ve had people bitch about this blog being in their Facebook groups even though I’ve shared an additional book’s worth of advice in it over the last two years and only slide in small mentions of my book).
On very few occasions have I reached out to other comics or people to promote my book. Here are the exceptions:
1. Bookers–Bookers know a lot of up and coming comics who need help with certain things my book covered. Steve Sabo and Eric Yoder were some of the bookers who were very happy to oblige and even paid for their books. Thanks again, guys.
2. People with a large following–I sent a free book to two people who I’m “friends” with on Facebook hoping they would share. One person I reached out to and sent him a free one because he had authored a book as well (Mark Titus, Don’t Put Me in Coach). He never got around to it, fine whatever. It was my gamble. The other was a comic WHO REQUESTED ONE FROM ME and said instead of paying he would Tweet and post on Facebook to thousands of people… and in 18 months he has yet to do so much as post a Tweet for it. (He hasn’t had time to read it in those 18 months and apparently can’t even skim enough to give it a positive Tweet.) You would think that of all people a fellow comic wouldn’t just “take” merchandise from another comic and not hold up his end of the bargain. Maybe 2014 is the year he finally gets around to it. I like to email him every May on the matter. Or hey, he could just send me money.
Jimmy Pardo and I worked out a deal where instead of paying me as his opener he would mention my book on Never Not Funny…and then he went ahead and paid me anyway because he’s that much of a gentleman.
So why shouldn’t we ask each other to promote out stuff? Other than the overabundance of promotion, it has to do with the quality of the product. Secretly, a lot of us think, “I can’t believe he/she sells that crap.” Your product comes from your imagination not our own. If someone is ahead of us in the game we think they don’t need our help. If they’re behind us, well then, we may find it not worth promoting. So don’t ask others to promote on most occasions.
As Polonius said in Hamlet, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”
And I’ll admit, I’ve asked you to share this blog, but my intention was to get the teaching points across. Buying my book is your own choice.
And while I’m at it, my friend Trisha Wiles’ business helps people who need support on a wide variety of issues (comics) so check out www.iamafighter.com and get some there. Sign up for free!