I recently read a piece from a writing sister who recently reached a very cool plateau of 2.6K followers.
Roz, take a bow.
I admire and respect Roz and try to read what she puts out as much as my extraordinarily short attention span will let me. Now the thing about this article from Roz that stuck out like a sore thumb after being smashed with a hammer (Barnett Curse remember?) is her specific mention of self-promotion.
The way Roz promotes is more of a soft nudge than a hard push. It’s usually framed in the manner of a — “hey if you liked what you just read how about taking a look at these?” — comment.
After I finished Roz’s article, I immediately thought, “huh, why don’t I do that?”
Thinking about it a bit, I realized a lot of writers on this platform do it. A ton of writers self promote their past works with links at the bottom of their newest article. And a lot of us avid (in my case rabid) fans click and read.
This type of exposure to the reading masses is, I suppose, a great way to do it.
Which begs the question, why in the h*ll am I not doing the same?
Well, it’s probably because I really struggle with promoting or selling myself. Not only do I struggle with it, but I totally suck at it. Frankly, I get really squeamish when I even think about promoting myself.
Self-promotion is so far out of my comfort zone I need the Hubble just to be able to see it.
And because I’m probably more than a little egocentric (my wife tells me I need to start taking my Humble meds again) I’ve trained (convinced) myself into believing my work should be all the promotion I need.
For years, I’ve believed my writing was the very best self-promotion there is.
And maybe it is, but even at this late stage in my game of life, I may have written the very best work I’ve ever produced and if no one knows I have this bevy of work here none of it will get read.
That’s because each article produced has a pretty short shelf life when thousands, and thousands of pieces are submitted every single day. Think Forty-eight hours short.
So if I don’t stand up and say, “here I am over here y’all” more than one time, the chances of my work producing the kind of impact I really want isn’t going to happen.
Maybe you feel the same as well. Perhaps self-promotion is way out of your comfort zone as well. If that’s the case, then maybe we all need to take lessons from Roz and a jillion other writers who successfully self-promote every day.
We all need to take a couple of Dramamine tablets for the queasiness and start learning to promote ourselves.
Okay, let’s say we’ve decided we’re just going knuckle down and do it. The great thing about self-promotion on this platform is when we fail (and we will), we can blush with embarrassment in the comfort of our own homes.
Where only the cats and dogs, our pet canary, and the four goldfish can see.
So how do we know when we’re overwhelming our readers with our self-promotion attempts?
At the risk of becoming a Captain Obvious here, there is always a right way to self-promote and a wrong way. The last thing I want to do is overwhelm the reader with constant cannon shots, waving flags, and spinning pinwheels. But I do want to grow my reading base.
My pendulum has swung to and fro on this topic before. No one wants to read a — me, me, me, me, it’s all about me — article and then be bombarded at the bottom of the section with, well, more me.
Unless they read about how I learned to live through a tough time of my life and it helps the reader get through what they’re dealing with at the moment. Unless you produce some really thought-provoking work or some d*amned fine fiction.
First, we need to write some quality work (I hear ya, Roz). Then we need to let our readers know we have more quality work out there.
This paragraph is for all the writers new to this gig. It’s going to be hard to promote yourself in a meaningful and effective manner if you’ve only written two articles. Writing quality work and continuing to write quality work is an essential aspect of what we do here.
For us writers who’ve been here a while, most of us have a literal smorgasbord of work we can offer our readers.
There’s only one rule for self-promotion. Do not overwhelm your readers.
Yes, I could fill the page with over five hundred links to all my articles, and do you know what would happen the minute a reader opens up the new post and sees all those flipping links?
Yeah, you know.
The reader hits, no hammers repeatedly, the back button in their haste to get away from my latest atrocity. They’re not about to give me a second much less a minute of reading time.
Now those of you who know me (by reading me, thank you, thank you, thank you so much) understand I get kind of out there sometimes. You know, jump overboard and then realize I left my life preserver on the deck of the ship, kind of out there.
So, I’m going to try this self-promotion thing by starting off small. I’m only going to list a hundred of my most read articles…
How about four?
For you fiction lovers out there, this is the first story Henry writes for Dark Sides of the Truth magazine.
One more Henry James Series. Henry meets Shaundrika Alexander for the first time, and together they get jiggy with a ghost.
Paging Doctor Baxter Huntley — Part I
My name is Henry James and I’m a writer for Dark Sides of the Truth Magazine.
How about a true story (possibly highly exaggerated, but still true) on my clash with a Louisiana state trooper? Published on Rogue’s Gallery, a really radical publication.
My Car Was Dying When A Louisiana State Trooper Issued Me A Speeding Ticket
With A Blown Radiator Hose I Certainly Wasn’t Getting Very Far
And lastly, one of my all-time favorite rants. Also published in Rogue’s Gallery.
So there you have it folks, my attempt at a little self-promotion. I know I’ll get much better at this, so stick with me. Who knows? Maybe you’ll like my blatant attempts to self-promote so much you’ll actually tell some of your other writer friends about dear old uncle P.G.
Come on. It could happen.
Let’s keep in touch: email@example.com
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