I'm very bad at this. The self-promotion thing. So bad that just today, while watching a young woman read an e-book from her iPad next to me in a waiting room, I said nothing. Even when she started talking to another woman about the fiction book she was reading, proving she's an enthusiast of my genre, I still said nothing. After about 15 minutes of being my waiting room neighbor, she announced it was her birthday (in apology for all the IM popping sounds coming from the never-ending stream of birthday wishes).
Finally, I said something.
I knew I was going to be called in at any moment, so I asked her where she got her e-books. Turns out she's a Google books fan but was presently reading a Kindle book on her Kindle for iPad app.
"I know a great novel that just came out on Kindle, and it's only 99 cents."
"Really?" she asked. "That would be great because I'm almost done with this one."
"It's called Snapshot," I told her, "but you need the author's name because there are many titles with the word snapshot in them. The author is Wendy Ramer."
"I've got a good memory," she assured me. "That's an easy one. I'll remember it."
"Great." I smiled. "I've got to go now but I wanted to wish you Happy Birthday. And by the way, I'm Wendy Ramer."
Then I got the exact response I was hoping for. The birthday girl beamed with excitement. "Oh, wow." She extended her hand for me to shake. "It's so nice to meet you."
Sure enough, as I shook her hand, I was called in. I couldn't have planned my exit any better.
I was proud of myself because prior to that moment, I felt it was somehow shameful to promote yourself. Then a friend reminded me the other day, "Your friends can't always be there for you, standing beside you with a megaphone to tell the world what a great writer you are. So if you don't do it, who will?"
Apart from the fact that no friend has ever used a megaphone to promote me and only one friend has ever bragged about me to others in front of my face (Thank you, Marisela!), I understood the point being made. So today I hopefully inspired one birthday girl to actually remember my name and search for me on Amazon. At the very least, I wished a stranger a Happy Birthday and made her feel good.
To my writer blog friends out there, how do you feel about promoting yourself? Are you comfortable with it? I'd be very curious to hear your take on it.