How to Grip Self-Promotion and Shrink its Neck

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I have made some new amazing friends since I became a published author, many of whom have inspired me, taught me, and encouraged me. I’m thankful for them!

Today I spoke with Raymond Bolton, whom I met through The World Literary Cafe and Melissa Foster’s Fostering Success course. Raymond will publish his debut novel, Awakening, in early January.

Raymond and I discussed marketing tools like Goodreads, KDP Select, book markers and what helps readers find our books.

I shared with Raymond the greatest difficulty I have with being a published author– it’s the self-promotion. Every author, whether they publish with a small press, a traditional press, or independently, has to work at self promotion.  I often hear other authors complain about this part of their “jobs,” so I know I’m not alone in disliking this role, but it’s still difficult.

How do we sound genuine? How do we NOT sound like we’re bragging about ourselves or our books?

1. One way is to take the focus off of US and focus on others. Read books. When you find a novel you love–share it. Tweet quotes from the book. Write reviews at Amazon and Goodreads. Write to the author and tell them why you liked their novel. You will be noticed for having “good taste” in books. You will be noticed as an encourager, a professional advocate for authors. And maybe, just maybe, others will take notice of your work, your books. But don’t expect a payback. That’s not why we help others. We do it because we genuinely care!

2. Be willing to give advice, encouragement, or prayers for those who feel insecure about publishing. By being true to our own personalities we make friends. By taking the focus off us US, and focus on how we can serve others, we succeed. How? Because friends empower others and when they succeed we succeed.

3. Before you share your work, share at least 8 other posts, tweets, or reviews about another author’s work. Be their cheerleader. Unfortunately, self-promo is vital to an author’s success. Who else will tell readers about our stories? Hopefully readers, but if readers don’t know our books exist then how will they know what they’re missing? And haven’t we written these books so others can read them? So yes, you must share your work, but first, tell yourself you can’t blast a post about your work until you share 8 tweets or posts about someone else’s first.

We’ve written our books so others will think about the message and the social issues that surround their content.

But it’s art. What if they don’t like it? What if they disagree?

Then they do. And they will.

Can we handle rejection? 

Yes. After all, how can we expect everyone to like what we like? Didn’t God make us all different for good reasons?

Raymond Bolton sent me this quote from Marianne Williamson which she shared at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration. I read this and shed tears. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I’m sharing it with you with hopes that if you struggle with self-promo maybe this will help you, too.

Our deepest fear is not that we’re inadequate. 

Our deepest fear is that we’re powerful beyond measure. 

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. 

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented or fabulous? 

Actually, who are you not to be? 

You are a child of God. 

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. 

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. 

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. 

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in every one of us. 

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. 

Marianne Williamson – A Return to Love

Thanks to Raymond I have a new attitude today. I will not shrink from self-promo, from feeling insecure about my work or telling others about my stories. Instead, I will embrace promo with the light of a beacon so that others might see the value in my words and find their own way to share what’s in their hearts too. I hope you find the courage to get your shine on too.

But first, before you do, think of the other authors you can help by sharing their stories, by encouraging or teaching them, or praying for them. Empower them to succeed and you will too.

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How do you cope with self-promo? What are you afraid of and how can you let it go?

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  1. Beautiful post and so true. I have found the promoting of Ozette’s Destiny to be a huge challenge! You have given me something to think about and to work on in my own marketing efforts. I have to agree that helping others is not only a kind and loving thing to do but also a way to take us out of ourselves.

    • Hi Judy –

      Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads these posts. Thanks for letting me know this helped you. Raymond really helped my attitude. I love the authors–like YOU–that I’ve met along this journey! I hope you and Ozette are doing well!

      Hugs, my friend.

  2. Thanks for this post, Michelle. You may have noticed I have no problem promoting my books. Why? To me I am not promoting self, I am promoting God. He gave me my books and I would feel disobedient to hide His words under a bushel. Promote on, Christian authors! We have a message the world yearns to hear. Keep His Light shining.

    • Hi Elaine –
      That’s SO true and definitely helps spur me on. You’re right. However, sometimes I still fear that I’m not getting the “message” right, telling it the best way I know how, although, it’s the best I can do right now so I have to believe that He is behind me 100%.
      Hugs and thanks again,

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