Self Promoting Without Cringing?

July 8, 2010

I’ve decided to try out Social Oomph to help manage my ‘on-line productivity’. Essentially, it lets you write Tweets ahead of time and program when they will be magically revealed…I’m using it to send out  the occasional ‘promotional’ blog tweet (for when I get back from holiday), highlighting some previous blogs/comics that haven’t been seen in awhile.

So I’m sitting here typing out a mass of promotional tweets…and I feel like my own ad-man. Its not a comfortable feeling. It’s like I’m putting adverts out hither and yon, so when your driving down the information highway you see:

Billboard #1: Hey Everybody! Come visit my blog!

Billboard #2: For a good time, come visit my blog!

Billboard #3: Did you see the sign? Did you visit my blog yet?

Billboard #4:Why haven’t you visited my blog yet?!

Billboard #5: Hey, You! Yes, You! You need to get your butt over to my blog!

Well, you get the idea…

It’s not just due to Social Oomph. Anytime I send out an ‘updated blog post!’ notice I experience the same feeling of self-consciousness….the Self-Promotional Heebie Jeebies…

I kind of just make myself write the thing, then close my eyes and click ‘send’…because of course I want readers. I write to be read, preferably now, when I’m alive. I’m certainly no Emily Dickinson, scribbling feverishly behind closed doors, hiding it all in a shoebox to be revealed after I’m dead…

And therein lies the crux. I want you to read this, but I don’t want to push it on you. I want you to know about this…but I don’t want to be impolite and bring it up all the time.

There seems to be a fine line between being a self-promotional Guerrilla Girl with the requisite moxie and derring-do to stand out from the crowd and be heard…and being an obnoxious, obvious pusher of ME ME ME. (How many promotional tweets is ‘too many’, for instance? Is one a day okay? Two?) It’s a line I don’t know how to walk very well just yet.  So I’ve been erring on the side of caution. (Perhaps too much caution?)

So far, I’ve been watching to see how others manage it, to get a sense of what’s considered okay or the norm. I also think building relationships is key, as is participating in the the writing community at large. You get to know and be known that way. Social media should be more than just pushing your own ideas; it’s a conversation. A dialogue, not a monologue.

When it comes time to publish my novel, whether as an indie or traditional, I know I’m going to have dig in and do even more self promotion. I hope it gets easier with practice. It seems to. Twitter and blogging have certainly made me build up my promotional muscles…and maybe Social Oomph will help me get an even more flattering self-promotional figure…

But if you’ve any suggestions on how I can do this without cringing, I’d love to know!

PS. This blog by Jody Hedlund (@JodyHedlund) inspired my own reflection on this matter.

PPS. Her blog is I also where I first came across the terrifying idea of hosting your own ‘themed book launch party’…

PPPS. If, by chance, one day I have to give my own ‘theme launch party’ I’ve decided its going to be an all out Regency Extravaganza with me in my best Jane Austen-esque ball gown, a buffet of Regency delicacies (like turtle soup), a whist card table in one corner (gambling optional), an open bar in the other (port, cordial & sherry mostly, with perhaps some home-brew Raspberry cordial), and quadrille dance lessons every quarter hour!

PPPPS  This is another helpful blog I’ve found re: authors using social media by C. Hope Clark (@hopeclark)



    I feel the same way about self-promotion… or selling myself at all. Tweeting about my blog is the least of my problems. I first felt this way when I was applying to colleges and had to sell myself in my admissions essay. Now every time I apply for a job or go to an intervies I feel so AWKWARD having to say good things about myself… any I’m really bad at it since I haven’t gotten a job where my parents don’t have connections (read: own the place) yet. I am dreading querying agents, too. I can only hope that selling my book will be easier than selling MYSELF…

    • I hear you! It takes nerve and verve to put yourself out there and we aren’t used to doing it on a daily basis…

      but I think all this Tweeting and blogging is good practice…and the encouragement and understanding we get back from the writing community builds confidence…

      It isn’t easy, though. Maybe I need to try practicing affirmations in the mirror.

      ‘I am a good writer. I am worthy of an audience. My writing deserves to be read.’

      I am actually being serious here…

      Good luck, Ruth!

      Julie Johnson

  2. I don’t know–I never feel weird about letting people know about my blog posts. I know people are busy, and I know I certainly like to see tweets/posts in forums/etc about new blog posts. I often click when it’s got an interesting title or is on a topic I’m struggling with.

    I look at my own posts as ‘maybe this will help somebody, so I’ll pass it on.’ I’m not holding a gun to anyone’s head, and it’s totally up to them as to whether come by or not. 🙂 Some of my content won’t appeal to everyone, and that’s cool. But I’ve learned so much from others here on the web that if something I have to say on a particular topic can add value to someone else’s journey, I’m happy. Posting an update on your blog posting is just going where the people are. 🙂

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

    • Thanks! That’s encouraging to know that people are anticipating blog posts!

      Julie Johnson

  3. […] I’ve come up against this issue before. See Self Promotion Without Cringing and I Need a Business […]

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