Self-promotion…it’s a scary phrase. My reaction when I was a young writer just starting out was, “I have to do what???” I didn’t want any part of self-promotion. Why should I have to do that? I’m a writer after all. I don’t sell things; I write!
And that attitude is all fine and well, unless you actually want to make a living writing. I mean if you are independently wealthy and don’t rely on your writing in order to hit the drive thru at Taco Bell…go ahead…don’t tell anyone how special your work is. As for me…well my writing has to feed my family, buy my sweats in the winter and keep the electricity on. Self-promotion is a fact of my life.
So how does it work…this self-promotion? (It sounds so…well…you know…) First and foremost, a writer has to write, but then they have to sell themselves. We have to be able to convince people that we are worth taking a gander at. And then we have to convince them that we are worth their investing their time and money into us. After all, when a writer is selling their work, it is, in a sense, selling themselves.
There are a lot of ways that writers sell their selves.
- When you write a blog – you are coaxing people to follow you and maybe buy your work. Your blog is one way you get your readers attention. Sort of a “hey, look at me” thing. Followers equate to readers which equates to word of mouth. Word of mouth=Good!
- When you pitch a magazine-you are convincing the editor that you have the qualifications to write for their magazine. That query is your how-do-you-do handshake. You have to make sure that it is a firm handshake otherwise the editor will move on to the next writer. You have to yell “pick me, pick me” louder than the rest.
- When you query an agent or publisher- You are selling an idea or a novel. You are telling this person, that you probably don’t know, that your work is worth taking a look at. Your book proposal is the make-up you dawn every morning…a way to say, “see….aren’t I purty???”
- When you leave a comment on a blog, Facebook or Twitter-Even when you are leaving these you should be selling yourself. You best face forward all the time means potential attention to who you are and who you are is your work. When you comment on certain social media sites think about what you are putting out there. These days those comments can come back to haunt you so why not make them work for you too?
These are just a few ways that we can self-promote and although I know that the thought of doing so can make you a bit queasy…get over it. You have a duty to put your best face out there so that your work can be shared with the world. Heck you have a bit or a moral obligation of sorts. So think about how you can self-promote and then just do it…then pay a bill with your rewards when your work sells…or go to Taco Bell…because sometimes…. getting a burrito makes it all worthwhile. (I am in no way promoting Taco Bell…in fact, I can’t stand it, but it was funnier than Wendy’s)
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