The fear of promoting yourself can sometimes be crippling. How often have you held back from sharing that glowing review of your book on your social media? How often have you refused to send another newsletter to your subscribers because you thought you would be spamming them? How often have you stopped yourself from mentioning your book during conversations? All because you were afraid people would think you were showing off?
Most writers would find it far more convenient to write a book and then hope to God somebody would find it—somehow. When you look at other authors and see how effortlessly they market themselves, and you wonder why you can’t do it yourself. But the truth is, they were all at the same place once that you are now; they were all reluctant to advertise their book, to talk about it, to share reviews and show the world how much their book is loved.
How did these authors overcome the crippling fear of self-promotion? How can you, yourself, unselfconsciously promote your book, without the uncertainty and sheepishness that is currently holding you back? Here are a few tips we hope will help you in your journey!
1. Do it like it’s not yours
If you truly cannot imagine talking about your book to a wider audience, then think of your book as someone else’s—someone who’s close to you, perhaps your best friend. How would you promote their book? Would you shy away from letting the world know they have written this amazing story? Would you tell readers apologetically that this book is “not much of a big deal,” and that they should “only read it if they want to”?
Of course not! And that’s precisely what you should keep in mind when you promote your book—readers deserve to enjoy it, and you deserve the recognition you get. When you feel that gut-wrenching feeling of embarrassment settle in as you finally share a reader’s review on your socials, ask yourself this: if I would do this to my friend without any hesitation, then why not for myself?
2. Promote other authors’ works along with your own
When you’re hit with the fear you’re talking too much about yourself, talk about someone else—about another author you admire, about another writer’s new release. Being an indie author is all about building connections and becoming a part of an ever-growing community of writers who support each other. When you support your fellow authors and encourage them in their journey, they will cease to be your “competition.”
“… self-promotion doesn’t have to mean you only talk about yourself. It means varying the things you say and your interactions with others to create a more rounded picture of yourself to those around you. It means being part of a conversation, instead of delivering a monologue.”Gemma Amor, author of ‘Dear Laura’, a Bram Stoker Award nominated horror book.
3. Talk about what readers love
I personally don’t often view Stories of authors I follow on Instagram—except for one. Whenever I open the app, I actually hunt for the stories of V. E. Schwabb, author of the Shades of Magic series and the famous The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, because I always get to see her pets! She makes it a point to post short videos of her dogs and cats playing with each other or sitting on her keyboard as she tries to write. I go back just for these adorable Stories.
And in between talking about her pets, she also casually talks about her books and her fans and her works-in-progress. That is what clever marketing looks like—you show your readers what they love, and they stick around to see more!
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.