There’s a discussion happening now in my fiction marketing course about what is, and isn’t, shameless self-promotion.
Not surprisingly, in this group and others I’ve worked with, there are different definitions.
Some authors are uncomfortable putting “my” and “book” together in a phrase that goes in a sentence (you know, as in “my book”). But I’ve seen others fill their Twitter feed with nothing but “Buy my book” coupled with an Amazon link.
There’s a gender divide, too.
While men can be just as uncomfortable as women putting themselves out there to talk about their book in a way that attracts media and book buyer attention, more women than men tell me they’re uncomfortable with the process.
Many women — including me — were raised to believe we shouldn’t call attention to ourselves or our work, so we feel “shameless” when we do it. In reality, as long as you’re not being obnoxious, it’s just good business.
I try to help reluctant promoters see that they’re not talking about themselves. They’re talking about their book, and their book is going to help people. It’s an important difference.
Think of it as a public service announcement
In fact, you’re doing a public service when you do what it takes to get the word out about your book. That might sound like a stretch, but think about it. You wrote your book to educate, enlighten, entertain, or inform, right?
How can you do that if nobody knows about it?
It’s up to you to tell them about it.
But do it in a way that’s comfortable for both you and the people you’re trying to reach. If you’re a gentle soul, then reach out gently, in your own way. If you tend to be hard-charging and aggressive, then we’d be surprised if you didn’t approach book promotion the same way (whether we like it or not).
Avoid stretching the truth
What you don’t want to do, though, is be dishonest, and I think that is what’s at the core of the discussion in the course site this week. While some might be comfortable saying that their book could be the next National Book Award, others feel more humble, preferring to leave the superlatives to others.
It’s an individual choice; there’s no right or wrong. As you move forward and assess outcomes, you might find that you need to put a little more zip into your promotion or that you might need to tone it down a bit.
But letting people know how they’ll benefit from reading your book? That’s never the wrong thing to do.
Where do you stand on shameless self promotion? What do you think is “shameless?” What are you comfortable doing for your book — and not doing?
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