Figuring Out The Awkward Art Of Self Promotion

My book came out last Wednesday, so naturally I’ve been tweeting and fb posting and blogging about it. In the sea of eleventy billion books, mine will easily disappear into the abyss if I let it.

Here’s the rub, though: many of the authors of those eleventy billion other books are doing the same thing. And trying to shout above the din is awkward.

A couple days ago, I tweeted about how self-promoting makes me feel like a peacock wearing a jester hat while banging a tambourine. The next day, I illustrated it.

peacock jester tambourine

Look at me! Look at me!

There was wide agreement among fellow self-promoters. Especially for those of us who lean introverted, it’s uncomfortable. Writing begins as a solitary task, a time of coveted quiet to hone our craft. We have to start talking to people when it comes time for critiquing and beta reading, and after it’s released, the real fun begins. How do you get strangers to notice you and your work?

Obviously, I’m new at the whole book peddling thing, so feel free to correct me in the comments if you feel I’ve gone off course.

1. Tweet and post directly, but don’t overdo it.

Writers who follow other writers on Twitter know it looks like a book catalog most of the time – promo after promo after promo. I’ve certainly added to this a little. I’ve taken the tactic that less = more. That is, if I don’t post as often as others, maybe what I do post will get more attention. Rayne Hall (@RayneHall) would support this.

2. Post successes. 

My book got a little more attention when I tweeted about it hitting the historical mysteries best seller list. I posted the next morning that it was ranked #12 out of 100 on the hot new release list for historical mysteries. I wasn’t necessarily trying to sell the book with these. I was super excited and wanted to share. Posting a success is part of what Twitter is for.

3. Be a real human being.

Interacting with people on blogs and Twitter and Facebook and whatever other social media you use is the best way for people to take an interest in you and what you’re doing, in my opinion. I largely ignore the book promos that go through my Twitter feed 24/7. The books on Twitter that I have purchased came from authors who post interesting content (not book related) or who have interacted with me in an authentic way (in that they didn’t spam me personally with a book link). Think about it – aren’t you more likely to buy a book written by a friend than by a stranger?

BONUS – it’s not awkward because you’re not intentionally selling anything. I’m tweeting and talking to people like I was before I had a book for sale. If whoever I’m talking to takes an interest in my work, great! But the important thing is the connection.

What do you think? Do you find self promotion to be as awkward as I do? 

12 thoughts on “Figuring Out The Awkward Art Of Self Promotion

  1. Pingback: Where Writers Get Stuck: Marketing | A Writer's Path

  2. Pingback: Where Writers Get Stuck: Marketing | Allison Maruska

  3. I’m right there with you. I feel more comfortable promoting the menu of the restaurant I work at than my own labor of love–how crazy is that?
    Great blog. Great tips.


  4. FWIW I think you’ve hit on just about the right amount of promotion. You’re in my main twitter feed, and I think you do a good job of promoting and reminding people you have a new book out without overdoing it.

    I’m taking notes 🙂


  5. Really good points. Especially number three is something I’ve considered lately. Strangely, I feel more comfortable promoting to strangers than to friends. I only promote my book once a week on Twitter (because it’s a serial and a new chapter is released every week), but I’m always unsure if it’s enough or too much.


    • Hmmm. In the Twitterverse, I’d say once a week is basically nothing. They (whoever “they” are) say the shelf life of a Tweet is five minutes, tops. I do two direct promos per day – one kind of “standard”, and I try to make the other one snarky or funny. And I use images with them. But I’m with you – I don’t know if that’s too much or not enough. I will say I had decent sales yesterday, and I think the snarky ad was largely responsible.

      Liked by 1 person

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