On Self-Promotion

          This ad was placed as an insert in a local paper.

For about 15 years I owned a carpet cleaning business. My father installed and cleaned carpet so it was natural I did the same when I was no longer a minister. I bought a small established company for $35k, called Brock's Carpet Cleaning Inc. I got the money from a divorce settlement. I had to compete with other established businesses. The way to do that is to promote your business. So I did, with flyers, radio commercials with celebrities praising our company--like a former Mayor--and in coupon books. Notice the section "Don't Just Take our Word For It!" If you have a product to promote then you must promote it, and testimonials help.

I followed the same model when it came to books, since I was an unknown, having no recognition from the four horseman, or WLCraig. My book publishers spent next to nothing on promotion. Prometheus Books just sent out complimentary copies to people, as did others. Darren at GCRR held conferences on my books which helped!

I shared what others were saying about my books just as I shared what people had said about my carpet cleaning. BTW: I prided myself on being The Spot Geek, saying that "If I can't get a spot out then no one can." I educated customers by saying there is a difference between a spot and a stain. A stain is a chemical reaction that changes the color of the fibers. No one can get that out, although there are a few kits and techniques to colorize them back to the original color.

Anyway, people told me not to promote my books, that doing so is unprofessional. I promote them, yes, but you'll never (or almost never) find me saying my books are the shit, which they are! ;-) I let others do the talking for me. When they say so, I in turn say so. So say I!

I know people don't like me doing this. It produces haters, mind-readers who think that I think more highly of myself than I actually think. They like to punch holes in my "egotistical" bubble, saying my work is overrated. Listen up, I don't doubt there are others who can do better than I did. It's just that they have not done what I did. Do what I've done better than I've done, then you can spit darts at me! Ouch!

I started out this way and couldn't stop doing it until I annoyed people. But when it comes to what readers say, I merely quote them, that's all. But I do it a lot. While no one would say I like eating humble pie, I'm not to be described as an egotistical person. I never felt I measured up. My older brother made sure of that! The truth is I lack a whole lot of self-esteem. I’m never satisfied with my efforts. I always find fault with them no matter how good they are. I continually think I don’t measure up. This is what created my drive to do better and better, better than others. It's what made me who I am. I aspire to greatness. Don't most people? You don't like me? Sometimes I don't either! When people tell me a book I wrote or edited is great, I get excited about it. I'm overjoyed to share it with others. I'm excited someone said something good about it. That's not being egotistical.

So if you like my books please help me promote them. Perhaps I'm just not going about it right, but whenever I see someone asking which books they would recommend it's quite disconcerting that no one mentions my books.

Take for instance this question on the Capturing Christianity Discussion Group Facebook page: "If I were to study philosophy for the sake of Christian apologetics, where do I start? Any book suggestions?" Granted, if I jump into the fire I'm going to get burned, but it's quite annoying that the usual books were being mentioned, by WLCraig, JPMoreland, CSLewis, and other fundamentalist apologists, along with a few philosophical one-issue type of books. So I said, "If you want to be spoon fed then read the books being mentioned. But if you want to think for yourselves read, "The Case against Miracles". Then I linked to my book. I also linked to What Apologetics And Counter-Apologetics Books Do I Recommend?. In response I got a bunch of laughing emoji's, along with this comment from apologist Matthew Flannagan:
John W. Loftus notice the claim your making here. Your suggesting that if people read any of a number of books by professional philosophers they are just uncritically being spoon fed. However if they read a book you wrote they are thinking. If any claim might be one we should subject to the outsider test I’d say the breath taking hubris in that claim made by the very author himself might be a candidate.
As you might guess, he got a bunch of likes and love's. I had said, didn't I, that if I jump into the fire I'm going to get burned? So being singed a bit, I responded:
Matthew Flannagan it's not just me who says good things about this book. I would recommend it even if I didn't write anything in it, as it's an anthology. What I was suggesting is that one should read good works from authors who are not trying to defend Christianity of the fundamentalist kind, if they truly want to be educated, especially, and perhaps even exclusively, on the issue of miracles. Do you disagree? If not, we can have a discussion of which books should be read that are not trying to defend Christianity. Again, here are some recommendations of it. Given those recommendations wouldn't YOU recommend such a work yourself?
Steven Tilley listed a few philosophy of religion anthologies, to which I responded:
Why are your suggestions all philosophical in nature when the issue is apologetics? I taught philosophy of religion myself, and I love your suggestion of the book, "From Socrates to Sartre". But little in your other suggested books deal with the evidence for the truth of Christianity. Analytical philosophy, after all, focuses on meanings and coherence, not evidence. Do you recognize that philosophy is but a prolegomena to studying the actual evidence of the miracles in the Bible? The title to CS Lewis' book on miracles suggests it, saying it's just a "Preliminary Study" to the evidence of miracles.
Oh well!

I could only hope for several more of my supporters to be like Dr. David Madison who mentions my works often. [Thank you profusely David!] Or, perhaps, there are a few readers who might do what Gary M did, a former conservative Lutheran who writes for his blog Escaping Christian Fundamentalism, which I highly recommend. Gary M challenged people to "Send a copy of 'The Case Against Miracles' to your favorite Christian apologist!!!" To say he recommends that book is an understatement. He says This of it:
I am a counter-apologist and have read a long list of books by Christian scholars, apologists, and fellow skeptic counter-apologists. This book, "The Case Against Miracles," is absolutely devastating to the theistic belief in miracles, and more specifically, absolutely devastating for the greatest alleged miracle of all, the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
That being said, books are dead, so you won't have to worry about promoting yours. People prefer YouTube content creators, short sound-bites, and memes by far. Audible books also do well. So from now on, rather than push my books, I'll share more excerpts of them from time to time. Thanks for reading! Knowing that I have readers keeps me writing. Cheers!