Why does self-promotion feel so icky?
We’re much more likely to promote our friends and favorite authors than we are to promote our own work. So look at yourself from a distance. Treat yourself like someone you care about and promote the work you believe in.
I get it. There are so many sales pitches in your news feed already: cosmetics, health products, monogrammed totes, kitchen supplies, etc. You don’t want to spam your followers with a constant stream of advertising. So post something about your work once a week. The rest of the time, be focused on others. Remember to give, give, give, ask. People are always interested in a behind-the-scenes glimpse at others’ jobs, so occasionally pull back the curtain on your own creative process, too.
Calling up the newspaper or tv station can be terrifying. What really helped me phone up our newspaper last spring was an emotion that’s, in my opinion, undervalued: anger. I’ve wanted to publish a book since I was eleven years old. I got really angry I hadn’t done it yet, and so it was much easier to coast on the fumes of that motivation. During launch week, I had just enough sassiness left to fire off an email to the paper. It went something like, “Hey, I’m having a launch party for my novel, thought you guys might want to come.” Note: there was no wheedling or begging or apologizing. My tone was a little cheeky, but still respectful and (mostly) professional. In other words, I’m doing this because I love it and it’s what I do. Come be a part of it.
Your Own Website
You definitely need to flood your website with your products, appearances, and other opportunities for your fans to connect with you. Put share buttons in your footers and along the sidebar. Remind readers to share and to review. Put a call to action in every post, newsletter and menu. And use the Golden Rule. How would you, as a reader, want to be treated? You don’t mind polite reminders when you truly love someone’s content. But if an online marketer is pushy, and you can’t get to their content without jumping through six hoops each time you want to access it, you’ll eventually abandon them, right? Don’t be that guy. Instead, offer great value and clear, considerate calls-to-action.
Though many writers are introverts, and the thought of public promotion is daunting, we have to get over it. Self-promotion is like so many other skills—with practice, we improve and feel more confident. Don’t just hope others spread the word about your work. Get out there and promote it, too.
For you, what’s the most difficult aspect of self-promotion? What do you need to work on?
Cole Smith is a writer, teacher, and mountain biker in West Virginia. She enjoys good coffee and great stories. She shares inspiration, encouragement, and tips for creative overwhelm at her blog, Cole Smith Writes. Her cozy mystery set in smallish-town West Virginia, Waiting for Jacob, is available here.