Blogs and self promotion

A few years ago, Oprah sold her autobiography to a major New York publisher. You can imagine the delight among booksellers.

At the last minute, she backed out, never really explaining why.

I wonder how many books she would have sold? A lot, certainly, but as many as the titles she regularly promotes?

Here is a fascinating statistic:

Last month, I posted excerpts from my new book. I also wrote a glowing post about Garr’s new book on presentations.  Guess what? My stats show that I sold more copies of Garr’s book than mine.

The truism of the web: people talking about you is far more effective than talking about yourself.

Clearly, just about everyone who reads my blog enjoys my writing. You’d think that a significant percentage would then hustle over to buy a copy on Amazon the moment they heard about it. But, just as Oprah is at her best when she’s talking about somebody else’s book, something funny happens when a blogger talks about his work.

Cory and Mark both have terrific books out. And as co-editors on the world’s most popular blog, you’d think that they could use boingboing to sell a ton of books. But it doesn’t happen. Lucky for bloggers, if you write a good book, a few other bloggers will write about you and then the sales start happening.

Once again, what do you know, it takes patience. It’s not a direct, first-order promotional thing, the way old media is. Instead, it’s one thing causing something else, which leads to a conversation and then, maybe, a sale.

Interesting irrelevant aside: how come books get blurbed and promoted by other authors, but movies don’t get blurbed and promoted by other directors and actors?