Self Promotion

So I’ve been told a time or two that I suck when it comes to self promotion. (Okay I was told I’m doing a bit better but I’ve got lots to learn.) The truth is it’s difficult for me to get that “Who does she think she is?” attitude out of my head. Each time I write a blog post I wonder if anyone will even bother to read it. Will they even care?   Are they, as one blogger writes, “rolling their eyes?”

But let’s face it. The book is out and authors are expected to do their share of self promotion if we expect books to be sold. That’s just the way it is.

I grew up in a household where it was thought to be boastful if we spoke about our accomplishments.  No one likes someone who brags all the time. It’s hard to get those thoughts of my head.

There’s a great post today over at Jody Hedlund’s blog , Can Writers Market Themselves Without Making Eyes Roll? If you have time check it out. Jody’s debut novel  “The Preacher’s Bride” is set for release in early October.

For the writer out thereDo you struggle with self promotion?

For the non-writersHave you ever thought an author’s self-promoting ways have made your eyes roll a time or two?

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39 Comments

  1. I’m like you, Laura and have trouble blowing my own horn. I feel like I’m boasting and who do I think I am?

    Wish I could be more like Loup with his bold posts on Facebook and his blogs! He doesn’t have that problem and is almost too conceited about his self worth ;) Maybe he could be my agent! heheh

    I get that imposter feeling and think, why would anyone care and they must be rolling their eyes right about now? Sometimes I’ll even delete a post if I think I’m bragging too much. Guess I was brought up in that era when girls were supposed to be modest, quiet, and unassuming. Hard to break free of that mould.

    Yet, from all the blogs I read and Facebook groups, self promotion is where it’s at. Writers need to be seen and be out there tooting their horn. If they don’t, someone else will, right Loup?

    Best of luck! I’m rooting for you, Laura! Be like that rooster and get out there and crow. You have lots to be proud of! Think more like Loup and howl loudly about how great you are!

    Cathy

    Reply
    • Thanks, Cathy. I’m totally at a loss as to why Loup hasn’t sent me a friend request on FB. I have to check this out…LOL! Loup IS great. He can say whatever he wants and no one gets tired of listening.

      Self promotion isn’t an easy thing but I’m sure there are subtle ways of going about it. I try to keep in mind that it is like providing people with information which they may or may not be interested in.

      I still have a long way to go before it feels comfortable.

      Reply
  2. I read Jody’s blog, too. I’m in the middle of self-promotion for my book, and found her comments very intersting. My struggle has a lot to do with confidence. My book is self-published and I worry about the perception that it is lacking in quality because it wasn’t published by a traditional publisher. In other words, I feel I have more to prove. Because the book is non-fiction, my audience is well-defined, so that has made focusing my marketing much easier–but doing the marketing is still scary.
    On the other question–an author that I follow on Twitter asks questions like: “Do you need to overcome writer’s block? Here are 4 great solutions.” When you click on the link it’s to his book’s page at Amazon. I always think that’s a cheat.

    Reply
    • I thought Jody’s post was terrific as is all of her posts. Many. many people are not going with a traditional publisher these days and their books are doing great! Sometimes those very same books are later picked up by a traditional publisher. Once people read your book, it will speak for itself and having some positive reviews will also help.

      Best of luck!

      When is your book due out, Heather?

      Reply
  3. Hi Laura:

    I think the worry about being seen as a “showoff” is a Maritime thing (or maybe even a Canadian thing). When I used to do a community newsletter for West Saint John, that was one of the things that was most difficult (and frustrating) – getting people to call me about what they were doing that was interesting (because they didn’t want people to perceive them as bragging).

    As a communications professional, I know that it’s essential to keep my name out there…this is one of the reasons I chose to keep my married name long after the marriage had ended – my reputation has been built on that name for the last 26 years (convincing my fiancé that I should keep my old name after we’re married is one of our current stumbling blocks)!

    Don’t be afraid to self-promote, especially if it helps sell more books! I maintain a website, a Facebook fan page, and an Uptown Saint John Member Page for the bookstore – this has contributed to a higher profile for our business. My blog is tied to my personal Facebook profile, so that it updates every time I post a new entry. This has brought me new readers.

    Wendy

    Reply
    • Thanks Wendy! I’m not sure if it’s a Maritime thing or Canadian thing. I know some writers south of the border who aren’t very good at tooting their own horn either. Maybe it is in the way you look at it.

      I do understand that self-promotion is a part of the publishing world. It only makes sense. If people don’t know about you or your book it won’t sell.

      Reply
      • Pam Chamberlain

         /  August 31, 2010

        I struggle with self-promotion, too, so nope, it’s not just a Maritime thing. I think it’s a Canadian thing. I heard once that Alice Munro’s book titled “Who Do You Think You Are?” (which I think every Canadian (woman?) immediately recognizes) had to be re-titled in the U.S. because readers there didn’t “get” it. So is it a Canadian thing? A woman thing? A writer thing?

        Reply
  4. It’s the worst part of being a writer as far as I’m concerned. If I had money, I’d pay someone rather than continue to torture myself. But as you say, there’s no getting away from it or around it. There’s no escape if we want to sell books. I’m not convinced it works anyway, but that’s besides the point. I think it’s more books that sell the last ones. I remember the first time I discovered Carol Shields. I borrowed “Happenstance” from the library and couldn’t wait to get back to borrow more once I’d finished it. I’d never heard of her before that, yet I’m sure Penguin promoted her works. So, while I will continue to market and promote my books, I’m not entirely convinced doing so sells books.

    Reply
    • Agreed self-promotion is the worse part!!

      I do think it works to some extent in fact, I seen it myself. If I get to know someone through a blog or twitter I’ll be more likely to buy their book then if I don’t know a thing about them.

      On the other hand, I have no qualms about helping to promote someone else or their book. Now, that feels good!

      Reply
  5. The hardest part was launching my Facebook Fan Page. Since I don’t have a published novel yet, I felt like a fraud, but my Web 2.0 instructor insisted that marketing my work NOW is crucial. I was worried people would think, “who does she think she is?” and turn their noses up at being my “fan”.

    Instead, I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness, warmth, and encouragement I receive on that page, often from people I don’t even know. I’m really glad I did it, and will be a great marketing tool when my books are released.

    The best advice I can give is that an author should mix promotion with personal facts about their lives or even helpful links from other sources. If it gets to be too much of “BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK!”, people WILL drop you, even if they don’t roll their eyes. I used to be a fan of Jillian Michaels, but her constant self-promotion got to me, so I left her fan page. It’s all about balance.

    Reply
    • I don’t have a FB fan page for that very reason. I am on facebook but that’s a bit different. I guess I would worry that if I had a fanpage I might be the only fan listed..LOL Well, maybe my kids would sign up without rolling their eyes.

      I think you’re right, Holli, no one wants to have someone cramming their book down your throat. Knowing personal facts, as you say helps you to get to know the author to some extent. Good advise!

      Reply
  6. I’ve looked into paying someone to do the promotion – egads. Spend a little, get very little – spend a lot (meaning open-ended ‘here’s my checkbook’), you’ll get more opportunities for exposure, but no guarantees AND (Joylene) you STILL have to do most of the work. On top of that, writing for kids, in my case, is an entirely different world with regard to promo, since most kids don’t read blogs or carry Kindles or visit chat rooms (or read reviews).

    I just don’t have the time or inclination to promote. In fact, not very many people even know that I write or have a book out, just never mention it. I can’t bring myself to add tags (which is something every author should probably do) to my posts, providing a link to my work when commenting on blogs. (Not sure, but think that even ‘my picture’ that pops up on comments is none book-related.)

    With apologies to Laura – Do want to respond to Heather: “My book is self-published and I worry about the perception that it is lacking in quality because it wasn’t published by a traditional publisher. In other words, I feel I have more to prove.”

    I would encourage you to get past the whole perception thing. Better to enjoy the ride. “Validation” from others is overrated, &, in my opinion, if you give it too high a priority with writing, or anything in life, it becomes a handicap that’ll just hold you back. Self publishing is a viable option & it’s very possible to produce a quality work this way these days, though I think that using an outside editor is a good investment. Suggest you visit Joe Konrath’s blog – A Newbie’s Guide To Publishing to see how the market, & ahem, perceptions, are evolving . I never trash traditional publishing, but TP is a confusing world right now. I’ll jump in line to offer kudos to anyone with the stamina & patience to follow & succeed via that route, but it’s not the only game in town & certainly not lucrative for new(er) authors. Don’t let ‘perception’ bash your confidence.

    Reply
    • Hey mister MY BOOK IS UP FOR AN AWARD BUT I DIDN”T THINK I”D MENTION IT IN A BLOG POST—-I can really tell you’re not into self-promotion. But CONGRATULATIONS again. I’m so thrilled for you and your book!!

      It’s true, self promotion is time consuming. When I first started writing many years ago, I honestly thought that no one would ever have to know if I ever had a book published. In fact, I cringed when I thought about the word ever getting out… Pretty naive. Especially in a small place like East Dalhousie where people know pretty much everything..

      Reply
      • Thanks Laura for the thumbs up. Was recently in touch with some relatives in Nova Scotia – They’re helping me out with some pics & historical info for a book that I want to do. The story will be based in NS, an idea that’s been fermenting for a couple of years. Yeah, I know…. no one surfs up there – outta my element – but a great excuse for another road trip. Research ya know.

        Reply
  7. Thanks for the encouragement, Dave. You’re absolutely right. I’ll check out Konrath’s blog, too.

    Reply
    • I don’t know why I was thinking that your book was due out this fall, Heather. I know someone who might be interested in this. It’s a terrific idea for a book.

      Reply
  8. I once worked with a horn-tooter, and as much as she annoyed me, she moved ahead and left me in her horn-tooting dust.

    Horns aside, I think no one would think you are bragging by self-promotion, as long as it’s that and not bragging. Telling the world you have a book, or you have awards, or won contests are great, if not necessary.

    Repeating praises others have given you can border on bragging.e.g., book blurbs. I pass over book blurbs because I don’t care to read all the praise. I just want to read the book. The only person benefitting from a blurb is the author.

    Reply
    • Agreed– too much can be totally annoying. There is a point where I would consider it bragging. We know those people. We all have them in our lives.

      I’ve never thought of book blurbs as bragging. I would if it was the author’s words but when the praise comes from some place else I don’t mind. I can’t say I’ve been influenced to buy a book because of it, though.

      Have been enjoying the stories on your blog, Tricia! Nice to see your work being published and so nice to be able to read it!!!!

      Reply
      • Thank you.

        About the blurbs, I guess what i meant to say was blurbs are a sneaky way to brag. I don’t get them, personally. I mean, they’ve come up with about forty different ways to say great book. To me it’s fluff on the back cover/inside cover wherever, that I don’t read. If the blurbs were about *me, however, I’d probably frame them, maybe even get tempted to tell everyone what Publishers Weekly said about my book (where the author bragging comes to play) . That’s why I think they are more for the author than valuable information to the reader. Reviews, yes. Blurbs, no.

        *No probablys or maybes, I know if I ever get an endorsement from another author, I’ll eat my above words and shout my praise from the rooftops. :-)

        Reply
  9. Ah, such an interesting topic. I do not know if I will be a self-promoter. I have thought about this … and my blog’s relationship to my collection when it comes out. I think that I would like for the relationship to be a subtle one; readers will have the opportunity to find out more, but I certainly wouldn’t push them. If they’re curious, then wonderful. If they’re not, that’s wonderful too. Everyone’s looking for something different, I guess, and I figure they’ll come my way if they’re intrigued enough. All the other promotion stuff will fall into place, and I’m sure I’ll have to pick and choose what I’m comfortable/uncomfortable with.

    But it seems asa though at the heart of it, it’s really about believing in your work, and being confident with it. I think this comes through in self-promotion. So, be proud! And congratulations, btw!!! You’ve put hard work into this, so soak up the love and admiration as much as you want/can! If it’s good energy, then there’s nothing wrong with it!

    Much love.

    Reply
    • As I told one author we can only let people know what we are about. Is they decide they are interested they will book our book up and read it. To me that’s what self promotion is about not raving about how great we are because for every person who might think our work is wonderful there will be those who do not. Everything is subject to personal taste. That’s really what it comes down to and none of us should think that our work is all THAT! In the end we are the ones who have to be happy with what we’ve produced.

      You are right there has been a lot of good energy around since my book came out.

      Reply
  10. Hey Dave, there actually is surfing here in and around Lawerencetown Beach, (near Halifax) Lesley Choice (children’s book writer with over 30 books to his credit, publisher of Pottersfield Press) is a big surfer. Just thought I’d throw that in there.

    Good luck with the next book!

    Reply
  11. Thanks for the shout-out about my post, Laura. And my book! I appreciate that! I’m cringing inside thinking to the next month of having to start the promotion for my book. But as you said, it’s part of the job. I’d just like to be able to do it without turning people off! I’m hoping to muddle my way through this next phase and learn a lot in the process!

    Reply
    • Jody, you are more that welcome.

      I enjoy reading your blog. You always have such interesting posts. Many people who read your blog will buy The Preacher’s Bride because you are such a sweet and honest person. It certainly show through on your blog!! I know you will do great with signing, etc. I found that if you are interested in people and like talking to them then they really seem to appreciate it. I thought about it more as a social time and if they chose to buy my book then all the better, BY the time your next book comes out you’ll be a pro!

      Reply
  12. Polilla-Lynn

     /  August 27, 2010

    The self-promoting part is what disturbs me the most, I think, should I ever have the blessing of a published book. (Because of that requirement it would seem like a mixed blessing to me.) I don’t know if I could ever feel comfortable about that part, it seems so against what I have been brought up to believe about myself in relation to other people – as you and others have mentioned. But, if an author really believes in and enjoys her/his finished work, and a publisher likes it enough to actually add it to their book list … then what choice do we really have these days? If we want people to read it, we have to do as much promoting of our own work as we can if we want it to sell. Times have changed so much in that regard, which I learned just this year.

    So, Laura, don’t be shy! :) Especially since Bitter, Sweet has been honoured already … keep promoting that book! The publicity certainly can do nothing less than help.

    Reply
    • So true, Lynn. People like to see a face behind the book. To be able to say they met the author of such and such. If you are open and honest with them then you can’t go wrong. It is an author’s job to inform people that we have a book out there but it is the public’s choice to buy it if they wish.

      Hopefully, by the time we have a book published we are at a place in our lives where we can handle all the publicity with it. For me, it seems as though the focus if the book, not me and this is how it should be. Our books are like babies to us. Every new mother loves it when her baby is praised and they certainly don’t mind taking a back seat to the attention.

      Thanks for your kind words, Lynn. I appreciate how supportive you have been. I’m so glad you came by my signing that day in New Minas!!

      Reply
  13. I would imagine that promoting a book would be not only tough, but emotionally exhausting. But it’s a part of the game of being published and I’m all for supporting people and their accomplishments. I haven’t rolled my eyes at anyone’s efforts to date … no one has come off boastful to me. It might feel uncomfortable for you, but chances are it doesn’t make your readers feel uncomfortable.

    I found it interesting, and you might too, how this author (http://www.ivyleagueinsecurities.com/required-reading/) via her blog. And another blogger hosted a book club on her site for the book (http://mothereseblog.com/2010/06/21/life-after-yes-a-qa-with-aidan-donnelley-rowley/).

    Personally, I LOVE to meet authors in person. And hear what they have to say about their book too.

    Reply
    • Hi Julie,I’m glad to hear you haven’t been turned off by anyone’s effort’s to self-promote. I have to say I’ve never been turned off by an author, either. But it does feel a bit different when the shoe is on the other foot. I do understand that it is part of what we do. We can’t simply write a book and then be done with it. It just doesn’t work that way.

      Thanks for the links I must go check them out!

      Reply
  14. terrible terrible time with self-promotion. But, not when others do it. I think, of course,Laura, you have to promote yourself. You deserve it. I too have a angst with each and every blog post and wonder if it will ever pass????

    Reply
    • Well, kind of good to know I’m not the only one. I guess if we broke this all down that even talking about our work, or our book could be classified as self-promotion, even having a blog for that matter.. I wonder at what point it stops being self-promotion and just ends up being us talking about what we do?. Hmm, might make for another post later on.

      Reply
  15. Laura! I’m new to the biz, but I’m starting to see where it can get tough, especially as an unpublished author!

    You seem to be doing a great job Laura!

    Reply
    • Thanks for visiting, Mo and leaving a comment.. Some aspects of self-promotion seem to get easier as time goes by. Luckily, there are many people out there willing to give advise and to help out… Wait until you are a published author . :)

      Reply
  16. This is a very interesting discussion. I’m going to bookmark it to remind me that it is okay to self-promote. I’m better than I used to be, but I have a long way to go.

    Thanks, everyone, for sharing.

    Reply
    • Hi Diana, that’s for dropping in and for your comment. I recognized your name immediately! I’ve been reading your articles in the paper for some time now. Self-promotion seems to be a topic many of us struggle with. Glad you’re gaining ground!

      Reply
  17. Oh . . . I’m still getting used to people knowing my name and knowing I write a column. This whole business for me, so far, has been a home business, a job where I don’t get to meet many people.

    Now that I have my first book published on Smashwords (Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove by Candy McMudd (pen name), I have to get out and promote myself more.

    So, here goes. My children’s book (ages 8 to 12) is available as an ebook at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/33448

    The printed format will be available in early January.

    Diane

    Reply

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