Raise your hand if you enjoy self-promotion

I remember the moment when I decided to write a book. Newly pregnant, and feeling creative, I began jotting down ideas in an old page-a-day diary. When I finished the manuscript, I put it aside for a while, and realised after a re-read, that it was rubbish. Sigh.

When baby arrived, the greatest challenge while working on the second manuscript, was battling tiredness and trying to squeeze in time to write during naps, without feeling too  guilty that the housework wasn’t getting done. After the last word was written, I sadly had to admit that it was rubbish too, like the first. So I stored them together where they keep each other dusty company.

The challenge with the third manuscript was the ending; getting it right. There were times when I felt like my brain had evaporated into the sky and I was left sitting there, in front of the screen, an empty shell trying to think with my fingers. But miracle of miracles, I managed to get it finished.

So, the next challenge was finding a publisher. Scary, scary, scary. Sending it out, waiting for a reply – snore – getting knocked back after a year’s journey of “almost accepted”.  Trying again.

With a heck of a lot of luck, I was finally accepted.

I wasn’t naive enough to imagine that I could now sit back and relax.  But the thought of promoting myself was scarier than sending out the manuscript in the first place. Not that I’m shy; far from it. I’m happy to step onto a stage, I’ll easily chat with a group of strangers, but selling myself and the book in the process, well, that had my knees knocking.

The publisher does most of the hard work, but they took a risk on me and I want to help them.  My biggest fear was that they’d regret taking me on. Ah, the insecurities of a writer!

So, how do you feel about promoting yourself? Easy? Terrifying?Any tips?

I found a great little article (link below) thanks to John Kremer, who you can find here: http://twitter.com/johnkremer


May we all be courageous, despite knocking knees.



Filed under authors, blogging, book launch, editors, fiction, launches, life, opportunity for writers, Reading, writers, Writing

24 responses to “Raise your hand if you enjoy self-promotion

  1. Hey Lisa. I am in the process of trying to get an agent, so I’m not concerned about self-promotion at the moment. However if I had to do it, I think I’d be a little nervous like you! Even though enjoying promoting oneself is usually a built-in feature… 🙂

    • Good luck with finding an agent, JP. I suspect they would help you a fair bit with the promotion side of things. Glad I’m not the only one who feels nervous about it.

  2. It took me a long time to convince myself to begin a blog of my own — so I’m not in a position to give you advice on this one :).

    If you were steadfast enough to not have given up after your first two attempts (and gotten it right enough on your third to get published), you’ll do just fine with your publicity/promotion attempts, too, Lisa! Good Luck!!

    • I must confess I felt very nervous about blogging to begin with, although wordpress is filled with such generous, warm souls, I’m not sure what I was ever worried about now.
      Thanks HemaP for your encouragement.

  3. Lua

    I don’t know why, but I’m OK with self promoting 🙂 Maybe it has something to do with my law background; we were raised to talk, convince and promote… Being shy wasn’t an option 🙂
    And I think, since the book is ours, it’s our story, our career and our journey, promoting doesn’t sound so wrong…

    • Lua, I think you have found a nice balance; you are good at promoting your work in a way that is welcoming and effortless. I’m learning a lot from you! 🙂

  4. Hm self-promotion. To be honest I think it could be a lot of fun. Don’t get me wrong, I would be terrified but at the same time I would enjoy the challenge. I guess it depends on how you feel about public speaking and opening up about your experiences as a writer.

  5. Yowzah, I’m still just trying to figure out how to get anyone to read my blog 🙂 My sister, though, has been thrown into the world of self-promotion in these last months–even though she isn’t self-published, the publisher is new as of this year, so they haven’t offered their authors a tremendous amount of support. It’s been trial by error, but she seems to be doing well reaching out to her local community to arrange for book signings and getting her book adopted by book clubs. She’s under the pen name Nicki Elson at http://nickielson.com/ if you have any good advice to share!

    Meanwhile, congratulations to you and never fear that self-promotion–you and your work are worth the attention!!!

    • That is terrific news about your sister; congratulations!! My book isn’t self-published, but I don’t want to leave all the work to the publisher, who are wonderful. I feel guilty sitting back and letting others do all the work!! I think it’s a woman/mother thing.
      Anyway, I’m going to check out your sister’s site. I’m sure she’ll need no help to be a great success.
      And as for you, fallenmonkey, starting a blog is scary stuff. Congrats to you too!

      • You are such a nice author lifting some of the burden from the publisher 🙂 And, yes, I knew you weren’t self-published, but find myself always qualifying references to my sister with that because she’s found that, in having to do all her own promotion, she has to answer that question a lot–apparently, a lot of the book clubs she approaches are real sticklers about going only with publisher-backed books, so even though hers is, the fact that she’s approaching them herself makes them wary. Ah, yet another obstacle to self-promotion even when you have a publisher! In any case, bravo to you for succeeding in the journey to publication–no easy feat–and I say exploit those resources they provide as much as you can!

  6. Hi Lisa,
    I’m pretty shy about my work (though, like you, not so much in personality). I think it’s also ingrained that talking about yourself (a.k.a. bragging) is not the most delightful quality. Of course, self-promotion is not really bragging…it’s part of the job. Still, I’ve only told a few friends about my blog when I have a Facebook list at the ready :), and once had a very close friend come across one of my short stories in a magazine on a whim — I hadn’t told anyone about it. Could it be the thought that you’ll never receive negative feedback, if no one ever sees you/your work? Something I definitely need to work on. Good luck!

    • Hi Amanda, I think you may be onto something there.
      “…you’ll never receive negative feedback, if no one ever sees you/your work.”
      Yes, I definitely can relate to that. You’re right about the bragging thing too. Self-promotion often feels like bragging. Bingo!
      Not sure what I’ll do with this realization, but I’m sure it will help me … 🙂

  7. junebugger

    I love self promoting myself. It’s great fun! And publishers these days (or so I am told) expect an author to take responsibility of promoting their work. And I think blogs are a GREAT tool.

    I always admire authors who forge on with their writing career when pregnant/have an infant. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be when your attention is so divided

    • I’m full of admiration for you, Junebugger. Your clip that you put together for your book was amazing and well worth having a look at, guys. Top marks. 🙂

  8. Gillian

    Not sure about the self promotion, haven’t got there yet, but think I’d find it a bit scary.
    Admire you for being able to complete a novel while having an infant to deal with, makes my excuses a little on the weak side.

  9. Right now, I’m a little intimidated by the idea of self-promotion, but if I ever get an agent, I will gladly jump in and do it. I do think as an author builds up little successes (i.e., after getting an agent/publisher) self-promotion may become easier because your work has been validated.

    Congrats on your journey!

  10. I think (know) I’d be embarrassed to promote myself. Because I’d be uncertain about the merchandise. I might like my stuff, but how do I ensure another person will like it? I’d feel always like I should apologize – and warn the buyer I’m biased. 😀

    Another cross to bear!

    I’ll add my wish for courage to all those with knocking knees.

    – Corra

    The Victorian Heroine

    • You have no need to fear, Corra. Your “merchandise”, if your writing and blog are anything to go on, are exquisite. you’d be doing readers a big favour by promoting yourself.
      But I understand knocking knees!

  11. Pingback: Talking in circles. Break-Free! « Chronicles of Narlia

  12. You did it. Thank you for setting an example for us.

    Your writing is simple and honest, gets to my heart immediately.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    I’m glad, Kavita’s pink award drew me here.

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