Is Self-Promotion a Dirty Word?

by Samantha Hoffman

What's the one thing authors hate more than searching for an agent? Self-promotion. It's the dirtiest hyphenated word in the English language.

It's mortifying and demeaning; we feel we're imposing; we fear people will think us arrogant, self-important, full of ourselves.

If we don't promote our own work, though, how will people find it? Who will ever read it? Even if we're published by one of The Big Five, they do little in the way of promotion for the debut author, saving that money for those who already have an audience, so no matter how your book is published, if you write one you're going to need to figure out how to let people know. 

First things first: You can't be the one telling people your book is good. They won't believe you because of course you think so. The news that it's worth spending their money on has to come from someone else.

If your book is being sold on Amazon it's likely you have some reviews. At least a couple of them are good - use those in your promotion. Quote one of those kind reviewers. 

Offer a free chapter on your website or blog so people can see first-hand what it's all about. Or have a contest and give away a free copy. Someone will read your chapter or your blog and spread the word for you. Word of mouth is powerful advertisement.

A good article on the subject by Greer McAllister

Self-promotion isn’t the most famous naughty s-word, but it can still feel like a bad word to today’s authors. I hate self-promotion, you might say. I’m so sick of talking about myself on social media.With more and more options to reach readers directly comes an expectation that authors will do more and more to reach those readers themselves, often without publisher assistance.

So! How do you sell books without a single self-promotional tweet, post, or video?

Simple. In most cases, you actually shouldn’t be promoting yourself. If the goal is to sell books — or at least make people you don’t know personally curious enough about your book(s) to take action — you are not the product. “Buy my book!” doesn’t work if the reader doesn’t know you or know anything about the book in question.

Instead of self-promotion, think of the path to getting your book in front of readers on social media as a railroad track, with two parallel rails: be yourself, and take yourself out of the equation. Read on...


And another article from IngramSparkHow to Promote a Book on Social Media: 13 Tips for Indie Authors

Just know that self-promotion is a necessary evil. Don't go overboard. Be kind to us and we'll be kind to you. We understand...we're writers.

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