Self-Promotion – how ready are you to shout about it?

The author’s world is a strange one when you come to think about it. We spend most of the year in virtual solitary confinement: researching, planning, writing and revising. And then everything changes. Our book is published (hopefully) and we are expected to shout about it – to everyone. We kind of have to – because who else is going to do it?

Last month, my book, The Lemon Tree Hotel was published in paperback by Quercus Books. It came out alongside: stories I’d written for magazines such as ‘S’ magazine (Sunday Express), My Weekly and Yours; articles about subjects as diverse as my writing journey, creating a sense of place, even the gap year my husband and I went on in our camper-van ten years ago (You magazine for the Sunday Mail).

Then there were the literary festivals, the talks, the workshops, the panels, the library visits, the bookshop signings, the launch event… In short, all the hullabaloo that goes with publication. I had to talk to so many people! I had to smile all the time! And that’s not easy for a writer who’s more used to solitary confinement…

It’s all in the name of publicity of course. Because, with so many books being published each week there’s only a small window of opportunity in which to sell, sell, sell. And don’t even get me on to the demands of social media…

Is it the right way? Is it the only way? Who knows? But if we don’t shout about it then no one’s going to know about it. So my advice is to grit your teeth, try not to sound too amazed/ excited/ smug, spend time supporting other authors and causes too and then go for it.

We all understand. It’s not easy. It goes against the grain (for most of us). Weren’t we taught to be modest and self-deprecating back in the day? Self-promotion is well, being a bit up yourself isn’t it? Er, yes and no. Authors must find the balance where self-promotion is concerned. They have to do it as much as they feel able.

Then afterwards they can sit alone in a dark corner feeling anxious, biting their fingernails and waiting for the sales figures to come in. (And then maybe self-promote some more…)

© Rosanna Ley
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