Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On Self-Promotion

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.


  1. Funny, I had almost the same experience in the doctors office. But I said nothing. We talked, but not about what was on her Kindle. I asked her about "it" and not the book she was reading.

    I'm all over self-promotion, but only with a business card in my hand. I used them when I worked in the restaurant/catering business. I love that, because it's so easy. Stick out your hand with the card in it, "Hi, I'm Anne Gallagher." They look at the card and see the pictures of the book covers instead of a regular old business card and the 10 minute conversation flies by.

    1. You're right about the business card, and I do have one with my book cover on it (second novel). But to be quite honest, I wasn't in a doc's office when this happened...I was at the salon treating myself to a rare manicure. (Didn't want to post that bc I thought it sounded too posh.) Anyway, didn't want to ruin my nails...which also means she and I never really shook hands. But the introduction was made, which was really the point, wasn't it? :-)

  2. I don't think I'll ever be comfortable promoting myself, but I find I can slide into mentioning myself after I've had time to converse about fiction in general. If I see somebody with a book or ereader, I always ask what they like to read.

    If it's a genre I don't write, I recommend my friends. And if it's a genre I do write, I mention that I've had a few books published.

    I liked that you were able to time your exit just right. :) Good for you for speaking up.

    1. Yeah, that perfect exit...it was my plan all along ;)

  3. I'm super uncomfortable with it. I'm working on it.