Today is Martin Luther King Day, Jr. Day, and my office is closed in remembrance. I have done nothing in life to merit getting the day off in honor of all that MLK was and did. I’m grateful for the day away from the office, and I will think fondly of the man at several points today (as I hit the snooze button, for instance)—but there’s something about my getting the day off that makes me feel…uneasy. I don’t deserve this. It’s wasted on the likes of me.
(I know it’s not about me, but I would feel the same way about Veterans Day—if I got that day off work, which I don’t.)
Uneasy is also how I feel when I think about this week’s topic. Self-promotion.
After all the years of my career, I’m in a sales position. And the product is—myself. Can you hear my primal scream from where you sit?
I’m not alone, I know. Most writers, by nature, are introverts happy to sit at a computer or notebook for hours by themselves, getting those words good and written. And then, boom. They’re required to stand up from their pajama-pant-wearing lifestyle and turn into the sort of person who can speak eloquently. Out loud. To other humans, instead of the dog.
I’m lucky, I suppose, in that being around other people at conferences or other public events doesn’t make me break out into a rash (see Terry Shames’s post from yesterday). But I’m still that same introvert inside, counting the hours until I get back to my bunny slippers.
There’s also a bit of that same old self-doubt, lurking: This is wasted on me. All this effort. All these fantastic people giving me their attention and time. Why would anyone be interested in what I have to say? I don’t deserve it.
Now that’s a pretty big piece of baggage to unpack today, so let’s just ask ourselves: How do you get out there and market your book—and the real product, its author—every chance you get ANYWAY?
I wish I could give you a five-bullet-point list with action items and fool-proof, guaranteed results, but I haven’t figured all this out yet. (I’m hoping the other Debs will have better advice.) What I know is that I’d rather be myself than the salesman for myself, so that’s what I’m going to be. I’ll talk about my book when it makes sense to, because my writing is a huge part of my life, and I want to share how excited I am about it. I like talking to other writers and to readers who tear through mysteries—we have so much in common! Just try to keep me from talking about mysteries—that’s not salesmanship. That’s being an all-out nerd for this community and these books.
At the same time, my self-promotion goal is simple. I want to be the self that deserves all the generosity I’ve already experienced, the one who never has to feel uneasy about any tactics I take to sell a book—and the kind of writer readers don’t mind getting to know a little better.
Photo from http://www.apparelsearch.com