Self-promotion: Things to do and not to do

I used to be all about the me-me-me approach to self-promotion, but now I realize that sucks.

Oh, you should be proud of your work. I am; my writings are great. As Barbara Fine said at BEA16, “No one cares as much about your book as you do.”

So true…which means no one wants to hear all about your book all of the time.

An author I follow on social media–who will remain nameless–had her first book published. Yay! That’s awesome! She’s doing book tours and signings, and I admit, I’m a smidge jealous of her opportunities, ones I don’t have yet. However, all she shares with her fans and followers is her writing signings and appearances, so much so that her feeds are boring. I mean, really boring.

Lucky the puppy

Lucky the puppy, relaxed or bored?

She writes in a genre that I don’t write in, on a subject that doesn’t interest me. I doubt I’d ever read her book, but I don’t have to read it to be supremely supportive of her accomplishments. However, it’s hard to get excited when all she blogs and Tweets about is my book–my book–me and my book!

I’d have to go back through her feeds from months or years ago to find out if she ever shared other things, like personal quotes, her writing space, photos of something other than her book cover, stories about her pet, travels, anything. I’m curious, but it’s not worth it to go back.

What would make her better? She could add tips to up-n-coming authors about the do’s and don’ts of book signings. She could share her mistakes, funny stories, and her inspirational insights. She could offer suggestions about how to get those book signings, places to contacts, things and events to look for.

What does she offer her readers and followers?

Nothing. Nothing but book news and updates.

With every update, I ask myself, should I point this out to her? I don’t because I don’t want to insult the author. Would that change her approach? I don’t want to sound bitter, and I don’t know her well enough to gauge her reaction to my unsolicited criticism. Heck, I don’t know her at all. There’s no connection because there’s no substance.

I used to do that, plugging my books with a link at every opportunity I had because I am proud of them. Plus, I want to sell books. My wake-up call came when one of the judges from last year’s NFPW Communications Contest commented on my blog post contest entries, “Writing is OK, but too self-promoting to keep this judge interested.”


I like naps. A lot.

I like naps. A lot.

I refocused after that and like to think that now my followers and fans know me, at least a little. I graduated from Penn State; I write memoir and haikus; and my in-laws have a puppy that my husband can’t stop talking about. I belong to several writer’s groups; I wear funky socks; and I’m a Certified Zentangle Teacher. To-Do lists are my friend and my enemy; I write in coffeeshops with colored pens; and I scrapbook. If you didn’t know anything about me before, now you do.

See what I did? I made a connection with you. Whether you like Penn State or not, scrapbook or not, prefer tea over coffee, whatever, we have a common ground to begin a conversation from. You may not agree with all of my interests, but most likely you follow me because of one or more of those connections. Because of our connection, every time I publish something or my writing is acknowledged in some way, you can be supportive of me without ever reading my book…but I hope you will read!

I want to support a fellow author an writer, and that’s why I still follow her on social media. However, that’s all I do because it’s hard to be supportive of a stranger.

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