Fact 1: I love being a writer!!!
Fact 2: Telling people that and telling them about my work is the HARDEST thing for me to do!
The act of “self-promotion” has always been hard for me, but even more so with my writing. Sure, I can joke around with friends and family about my “awesomeness”, but when it comes to being serious, and telling the public about it, I literally grow a shell and hide in it.
When I sit down to try to come up with a promotional post or email for my books, I get this sinking feeling in my stomach and my mind goes completely blank. For every sentence of “self-promotion” I can actually formulate on the screen, I could have written two chapters in a new book. I swear, with the amount of time I waste in fretting over how to just tell the world about my love and passion for my writing, I could have written a library of short stories. It’s really ridiculous.
Why is “self-promotion” so difficult? Why does it send me fleeing into a dark closet in my mind? I’d like to think it comes from a tranquil spring of humility. But since this is confession time, let me be honest – rejection really sucks.
Yes, I love to write, and I love what I have written, otherwise, I wouldn’t share it with the world. However, rejection is inevitable. I know as soon as I put a new book out, some will love it, some will just think it’s ok, and some will down right hate it. That group of “down right hate it” flag wavers is what causes my shell to grow over when I try to put an “ad” together.
But why does the negativity affect me so? Honestly, I don’t want to disappoint anyone. If I put a piece of “self-promotion” out there, and someone bites the bait, reads the book, and then hates it, I feel like I have failed that individual.
I write for myself first. However, I share my work because I think others might also enjoy it. And because I have decided to share my work, I write with a level of scrutiny that forces me to respect my readers and take them into consideration when I’m writing. I try to capture emotion, real life, fantasy, and hope into each page that my soul bleeds into a story.
So, because I have made my readers a part of my process, “self-promotion” no longer just includes me and my books – it includes my readers. How do I speak for them? How do I put a “self-promotional” piece out there on behalf of the readers?
This is the conundrum that promoting my writing puts me in. Am I promoting myself, my characters, or my readers? Reality is, I’m promoting all of them and that is a very intimidating reality! Why, you may ask. Well, because of that group of “down right hate it” flag wavers. If my readers are indirectly being promoted in my “self-promotion”, I feel a bit protective of my readers. I don’t want that negativity to transcend and affect my readers.
It’s a bit like the paradox of the child suffering the crimes of the parent. In reality, the negativity of the “haters” probably doesn’t impact the readers who love my work, but this is condition the act of “self-promoting” put my mind in.
So, if my interactions, promotional posts, emails, etcetera seems a bit too far and few between, it’s just because I care too damn too much.
But now that I’ve figure out the hang-up I’ve had with my thinking on “self-promotion”, it’s something I’m going to have to work on. I have to get better at it, not just for myself and my writing to become more visible, but so I can better serve my readers.
To all of you readers waving the “I love it” and “it wasn’t so bad” flags, you’re more appreciated and valued in my heart than you’ll ever know. Also, to the “down right hate it” flag waivers, I appreciate you as well – you’ve helped me to grow.
Happy reading to all of you!