How Do You Promote Yourself When You Loathe Self-Promotion?


That question is not rhetorical.  Advice is needed here.

As it gets closer and closer to the day that Happiness as a Second Language will hit virtual bookstores, I get less and less comfortable with what it takes to be a successful author these days.

I’ve been doing enormous amounts of research on marketing and promotion, and it seems that the way to get folks to buy your book is to talk about it.  A lot.  To have a constant presence on the Internet, on other people’s blogs, on YouTube, in any form of traditional media you can – radio, TV, book readings.  And mostly, to talk about your book (and unavoidably, yourself) at all times. 

This is outside my comfort zone. 

I have a friend who became an Arbonne sales rep, and although she was the fifth woman in my life to do this, she attacked it like no one else.  It became her only topic of conversation on Facebook, this wonderful new world of multi-level marketing that would solve all her career problems.  At first, I found it off-putting, and I wondered if she thought it was doing any good or was just annoying her friends, but then I started to notice how much she was posting about her success, and the success of the women who joined her team.  She shot to the top of her field as quickly as anyone can in that business, and gradually I started to be really proud of her – to look forward to her updates and cheer for her wins.

But I imagine that is not everyone’s reaction.  I’m sure there are still people who roll their eyes when they see another Arbonne post from her, just as I’m sure many of my friends breeze right past my links to this blog in my updates.  Just as much as I don’t want to see pictures of other people’s food, I’m sure most people don’t want to keep hearing about the book I wrote to make the world a happier place. 

I joined sixteen new groups on LinkedIn.  Even as I type that, I nauseate myself a little. 

How do you handle this, all you successful authors, actors, entrepreneurs and salespeople? How do you promote yourself when you loathe self-promotion?

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9 thoughts on “How Do You Promote Yourself When You Loathe Self-Promotion?

  • eacoyle

    I’m with you on this one (and therefore have no brilliant words of advice). The best I can offer is to remember that by letting everyone know about your book, all you’re really doing is letting them know about a book. It’s like posting something on facebook about how much you love Let the Great World Spin. It’s up to them to take the next step.
    Oh, and congrats on your publication!

  • Dudzi

    First of all, you’re not promoting yourself, you’re promoting your book so you don’t have to worry about sounding arrogant and too annoying. Second, think of all the time, thought and effort you put into this book. You owe it to yourself to promote it! Those who are not interested can simply ignore and skip to the next post/status update. But how will you gain interested readers if you just worry about not annoying those who are not interested? You have to put yourself out there girl and be proud of your accomplishments! Best of luck! 🙂

  • Dallas Kelly

    I know exactly what you mean. I blog about my book on occasion, but I hate promoting it. It felt like I spent more time telling others about my book than I did actually writing it. Perhaps it’s a bad hope, but my hope is that I can just make a few friends, release my work for free and get some exposure that way. I feel your pain!

  • musinnmoseyin

    Ugh, you said it! As someone who is also trying to overcome my distaste of self-promotion, I think the biggest thing to remember is that you’re never going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s ok. Rather than worrying about the negative aspects of self-promotion, remind yourself that there will be at least as many people (and hopefully oh-so-many more) who will be excited to learn about your new book! Maybe your book will impact their lives positively, and maybe your success story will inspire them to pursue their long-held dreams. As far as advice, I might suggest starting out designating 2 or 3 days a week to promote your book on your different social media platforms so it’s regular and fresh on people’s minds without you feeling like you’re overwhelming your network every day, and then as you become more comfortable or have different tidbits of your own success to share, you can increase it accordingly. The other thing I would say is do what feels right. Pushing the bounds of our comfort zones is how we grow, but everyone has their own flavor and their own way of doing things, and I think if you stay authentic and true to your intentions for writing the book in the first place, it won’t be such a grueling process. Cheers, congratulations, and best of luck!!!

  • Lisa Renee

    Since you’re a writer, word choice is essential in this one. “Promoting” yourself sounds obnoxious and boring because it is (you are not a new brand of soap). “Sharing” what you are passionate about is interesting, exciting, and infectious in the best possible way. Remember It is Not About You. The place where you come into it, is allowing yourself to be real and vulnerable with strangers by sharing your authentic, human experience of the topic at hand. That personalizes it and lets us connect to your work because we relate to human experience, not “promotion”. Focus on others, share your interest, allow yourself to be seen, and you will not have to “try” or “work” at it one bit.