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Jan 18

Why You Should (Shamelessly Self-) Promote Yourself

I believe in shameless self-promotion and so should you.

I don’t mean just with your writing but with all aspects of your life.  You need to be passionate.  Who else is going to get excited about you and your work if you aren’t?

I have never taken off work on my birthday, and I never will.  It’s a waste of a good opportunity.  When someone asks that standard “How are you doing today?” question, I reply, “I’m doing great; today’s my birthday.”  I always get a smile and some variation of “Oh, I didn’t know.  Happy Birthday!”  It’s a bonus when that comment is followed by a “Let me treat you to lunch/coffee/spa day/paid week off” offer.

FullSizeRenderbuttonsI’m all about free stuff.  My husband and I celebrate every fifth wedding anniversary in Walt Disney World.  The resort staff knows we’re there for our special occasion–they know because we told them–so they give us large, cheerful Happy Anniversary buttons that we wear.  Because these days being married more than nine weeks can be an accomplishment, I tell everyone we meet “It’s our ##-year wedding anniversary.”  Compliments feel good. We get numerous congratulations, free drinks, special appetizers and special treats.  On our 2013 trip, a gift shop cast member took our buttons and surprised us with free personalization of our names and “10th anniversary” artfully crafted in gold calligraphy.  Those buttons were the most complimented, commented and coveted aspect of our trip.

The point is no one knows to celebrate you if you don’t share that information.  By telling people, you are celebrating you yourself.  Others will follow your lead and celebrate.

No one would have done anything if we weren’t bold.  Being bold is not egotistical or vain.  It is being proud of your accomplishments, whether they are personal or professional.

Think about the kids you know, yours or others.  Would you be hesitant to share the fact that one of them made first trumpet in the band?  Would you be embarrassed to brag that he or she won the science fair?  Would you volunteer that information?  If you don’t hold that back, then why would you hesitant to share your writing success?

To increase your success, you must promote your work.  Promoting can be as simple as telling people, “I am a writer.”  With every book I publish–three to date, all available through kindle on Amazon–I send an email out to my family, friends and acquaintances stating, “I published a book, (Title).  Go to (this link), please buy my book, and then leave me a review at (this link).  Thank you.”

When you ask, you may be surprised by what you will get.  With emails like that, I received reviews of Lessons from Dad: a Letter to You and a 4-star rating of my first fiction book, Jimmy the Burglar.  My most successful project publication to date is my first short story, Mom, Star Trek and Las Vegas: a Grand adventure with 10 reviews, two first place state awards and one third place National award. Give them a read yourself, and let me know what you think.

In order for people to know you’re a writer, you must tell them.  By promoting yourself, you are holding yourself accountable to others, thus motivating you to set goals and deadlines.  It also encourages you to write when you feel uninspired or stuck.  Will this generate sales?  Maybe and maybe not.  If sales are a part of your goals, then exposure is what you need.

Doing self-promotion can be intimidating.  I’m outgoing,–I get that spirit from my Dad–so it’s not as scary for me.  This does not mean I am not tentative. What if no one likes my writing?  If no one knows I exist, I’ll never know. And I want to know.

I promote myself on a variety of social media sites: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and, reluctantly, Facebook.  The more people who see me, the more I am noticed.  Those two statements are different.

Am I that important to merit or deserve all this media attention?  Yes I am.  I’m a talented wordsmith with three books, two columns staff for Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine and one award-winning blog.  However, some people may think these are modest successes and therefore, I’m not worth all this fuss.  I’m simply pretending to be more than I am.

But I’ll never be more than I am without believing I am.  You need that fierce approach to your writing.

If you’re not proud of your work and share your pride, why should anyone else be excited?  I won’t be.

Be strong.  Be fierce.  Be shameless.  Be successful.

8 comments

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  1. Book Lover

    Ah, food for thought and food for a positive change in my thinking. I’ll have to practice self promotion. Not as easy for some of us. That’s sad.

    1. dwhirsch

      I struggle, too. How much is too much, and too little? I just get my bolness, forwardness from Dad.

  2. Kelly Bixby

    Self promotion is very hard for me. I’m trying, but often wonder “Who cares?” as I force myself to hit social media share buttons. A little positive feedback from friends and family, however, is encouraging. Perhaps as time goes by I’ll learn to be bold like you, my dear mentor!

  3. Yibbity

    This is really important to do for yourself. Who could guess what you do, unless you tell them. What does a writer look like?

  4. Sue Remisiewicz

    Good food for thought and action!

  5. Claire Murray

    Lots of good ideas!

  6. John McCarthy

    Hi Diana,
    Thanks for bringing respectability to making shameless plugs. I completely agree that authors need to promote themselves. No one else will or can do it better for them.

    1. dwhirsch

      Thank you, John. Your assessment is right. There’s nothing wrong with being bold as long as you’re not a walking/Tweeting/blogging advertisement. That’s a turnoff.

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