My agent has sold foreign rights to BEFORE I GO in six different countries so far. Every time a new sale comes in, I want to shout it from the rooftops, which in today’s modern times means: “Post it on Facebook to show the world (read: my ex-boyfriends) that I have come a long way from that drunk girl who used to order a sackful of Krystals at 4 a.m. and wake up sometime the next day with a half-eaten slider stuck to the side of my face.”
But, as much as I want to, I don’t post about my foreign rights sales. Why, you ask? I give you one name: Todd Manly-Krauss.
Manly-Krauss is the fictionalized author that’s the main character of the viral blog post Writers You Want to Punch in the Face(book). It’s a great article, hilariously examining the fine line between the necessarily evil of self-promotion and being an insufferable, arrogant tool.
But when I got to this fake FB post by Manly-Krauss, I cringed:
Bench pressed 120 this morning, graded 15 amazing student essays, and came home to an email from my agent: we’ve sold foreign rights to TZP in Estonia! Yessss!
Ugh. Just, UGH. I do not want to be Todd Manly-Krauss, therefore I will not be mentioning Estonia or any other countries that we’ve sold foreign rights to on FB or Twitter (though I may or may not let it slip to a few people who I know still keep in touch with my ex-boyfriends. Obvs.).
So that’s become one of my hard-and-fast rules in these very uncertain times where there are no rules on how to self-promote without being self-aggrandizing or super freaking annoying to your friends, family and Twitter followers.
Here are a few others:
1. Get a separate FB page for your writing stuff. I have a personal page where I post what goes on in my every day life and a writer page for my writing news. That way, people can still be friends with me and not be subject to all my annoying book promotion if they don’t want to be. They will only be subject to annoying pictures of my ridiculously adorable kids at pumpkin patches.
2. Promote other authors. And no, I don’t mean name drop your bestie Stephen King who told you over lunch that you’re the definitive author of your generation. I mean, make book recommendations and commend other writers for publishing novels, writing something spectacular or getting great reviews. Though self-promoting, by definition, is all about you, its nice to take the spotlight out of your ass off of you and balance it with other people’s great news.
3. Look up … from all your navel-gazing (wait, is that part of a Krystal’s hamburger stuck in my belly-button?) and at the FB pages and Twitter posts of your favorite authors. Many NY Times Best Selling authors have become social media gurus (see: Jodi Picoult and John Green). They really know how to build, maintain and connect with their fan base on social media. The good news? You can learn from them by observing. The bad news? This self-promotion shit doesn’t end, even when you’ve hit the big time. Like selling foreign rights in Estonia.