Isn’t your greatest wish to be left alone in your cave—to write out your words, the way they come to you, without noise or interruption? Then when you are done, all you would have to do is step outside your cave and drop your material on the doorstep. Then you could run back to your cave and shut the door.
Then, an agent would come along, pick up the manuscript and shout, “Brilliant!” and leave you a check just outside your cave door. Then this magic agent would get on her magic megaphone and share your masterpiece with the world, leaving you to go back to doing what you truly love: Working on the next manuscript.
We writers like to be in our caves typing or scribbling—alone. The thought of stepping out of the cave and calling out to the world, “Hey, I’m here!” can be truly daunting. When I ask writers about their take on self-promoting their material I hear questions like:
- Won’t I look like a self-centered narcissist?
- Won’t I annoy people?
- Shouldn’t I just keep my head down and not call attention to myself? Won’t people just find me ’cause they like my work?
- I have no idea how to promote; it’s not my area of expertise. Shouldn’t I leave it to the professionals?
- What if people say mean stuff?
- Won’t the publisher do all that? (No, sorry—heavy sigh)
- Do I really have to use social media, I mean how effective is it anyway?
Okay, I won’t lie to you.
People do get sick of humble braggers, general narcissists, and annoying self-promoters. If you are in a community of writers, you know that person. Every post, every tweet, and every pic are about them and their book. They seem to be in their own world—the one where only their book exists.
To become a Feisty Self-Promoter, your goal is to start building an authentic base of supporters, readers, and fans. People who love your voice will want more of it. So it’s perfectly fine to let them know where they can find you, or what you will be up to next! Think of feisty promoting as creating a solid and lasting relationship between you and your readers.
How to be a Feisty Self-Promoter:
- First of all, know it’s okay to have confidence in yourself and your material.
- Speak from your most authentic voice. Be yourself. Take risks. Let your real voice shine (even in posts—even in tweets.)
- Don’t engage the haters. Keep the tone of everything you do positive.
- Don’t make it all about you. Write about your readers—what they want, wish for, think about, dream about, etc.
- Get help from branding experts. You can spend (read: waste) a lot of time working on promotions that get no return. A few words from someone in the know can have a serious and lasting impact on your PR efforts.
- Mix it up, change the channel. Write about something else besides your work. Show that you are not about promoting you all the time.
- Tell good stories. This is a great way to promote without being annoying. Talk about your real process. Tell us the good, the bad and the ugly.
- Keep being visible—no matter what. Find your venues.
- Lift up other writers. Support your writing tribe. When someone else comes out with a book—help them out. Tell others, share posts, write a review for them, attend their launch, toot their horn.
- Tenacious consistency is key. Let go of quick results. Building a real platform, something solid, is well worth the time.
- Enjoy the process. Readers can tell if you are dragging yourself to the keyboard—or hate the promotion part. Find the parts that give you authentic joy. Then I guarantee that your efforts will resonate with passion. (And who doesn’t like passion?)