The reason is very simple: behavioral reinforcement. This is a branch of psychiatry that studies how the behavior of individuals can be altered. Case in example: you have a kid that behaves well, is respectful to his elders and doesn’t place his elbows on the table when he eats. Occasionally, you give him a cookie as a prize for his good behavior in the hopes he’ll stay in the good road with the right incentives. Then you have this bad kid that hits his little sister, is a complete jerk… and you suspect that he escapes home at midnight to drench old people’s homes with gasoline and then proceeds to torch them. This one is a candidate to have his ass beaten until you break something (your hand or his ass, whatever comes first).
This reward/punishment system can sometimes be twisted to some very strange ends. Take slot machines as an example. You keep dropping coin after coin into them and then you pull their levers. Dials will spin and after a little while you’ll be told you have lost. Of course, if you lost constantly to these one-arm bandits, pretty soon you’d end up walking away with a bad taste in your mouth and swearing you’ll never approach another of these infernal contraptions again.
And here’s the trick: every once in a while, the machine will cough up a few winnings and reward you for your efforts . That’s the way in which the manufacturer and/or owner of the damn thing does ensure that you’ll drop by and pour a few more coins into it.
Now, self-promotion of my books is like one of those Las Vegas one-arm bandits, merrily flashing their enticing promises: come… pour in some more money and time… come… come… you’ll win big if you do. I know that a few other indie writers out there have succeeded (somewhat) in this area and have managed to get back a few coins back whenever they promote their books.
Unfortunately, that’s not my case. Every time I spend my time in front of this machine, I never seem to get a sale. All I get for my efforts in self-promotion is that my pockets remain empty (ZERO sales and therefore no reinforcement reward) and that I leave the place with a very sour taste in my mouth.
By the way, if you’re a successful indie writer who has succeeded with self-promotion and you’re about to post a comment on how I got an attitude and that I’m doing it all wrong… well, I have two words for you, Mister or Madam: Screw You!
I don’t want to know…