Why Self-Marketing is Actually the Worst

As independent artists, musicians, and authors, it is up to us to spread the word about our work, our music, and our books. On top of that, we have to do so in a way that actually makes people want to invest in our products. Let me tell you right now, it is a huge pain. I’m a writer. I like to write. I’m a terrible salesperson. Yeah, I can recommend things to people, but for the most part, I like to let people choose what they want to buy on their own.

I’ve been published for about a year now, and I still think that self-marketing is awful. That’s not to say I don’t like talking about my books. I do! They’re one of my favorite things to talk about, along with dolphins, Harry Potter, and Scotland. I’m so proud of my books and I really think they’re awesome. But let’s be honest. Every author thinks his or her books are awesome. You’re never going to meet an author marketing his or her book by saying, “Yeah, I wrote it. It’s okay, I guess. It’s nothing great.” No! Every author is going to say, “This book is awesome!” And that’s good. Authors should be excited about their work.

Unfortunately, however, we authors tend to be very biased. An author is not going to think his or her work is anything but the best. And readers sometimes need more than an author’s word to convince them for that very reason. That’s why reviews and readers who enjoy your work are so important.

Personally, I’m not very good at playing the, “Are you ready for the next hot paranormal read? Check out Cemetery Tours by ME!” role. I feel like I sound like some sort of info-bot whenever I try. I’m a positive and overall happy person, but I’m also very blunt and to the point and I have an incredibly dry sense of humor. It’s so dry that I have friends who can’t tell when I’m joking. It’s not my style to treat my books like they’re something that needs to be hyped up.

Another reason self-marketing is the worst is that I always feel like I’m begging when I say things like, “Hey! Go buy my book, and if you like it, write a review! Please? I need reviews! It won’t take you very long! You have no idea how important this is to me.” Somehow, it feels like that translates to “PLEASE BUY MY BOOK SO I CAN EAT. I’M DESPERATE.”

Which, let’s be honest, in my case, it does.

The charade of confidence in self-marketing is an important one. But sometimes, I just really get sick of it. That’s not to say I’m not confident. I have the utmost confidence in my books. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have published them in the first place. My very first manuscript remains unpublished to this day because I know it’s bad and needs a LOT of revision. But Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds are good. That’s why they’re out there.

It’s also important, with self-marketing, to remember there is a fine line between good, honest self-promotion and HERE LET ME CRAM MY BOOK DOWN YOUR THROAT UNTIL YOU READ IT. Let me tell you it is hard to tread that line. As authors, we want to talk about our books and get people to read them. Furthermore, we want people to buy them so we can make some money! Maybe I’m supposed to say, “It’s all for the craft and I’d write for free,” which is true. I would totally write for the rest of my life no matter what. But come on. We all want to get paid for our work, and it’s not wrong to say so.

Here’s the deal. I want people to read my books and enjoy them. I want to keep writing. I finished chapter 6 of my new YA book last night. I’m also in the midst of writing CT3. I’m going to keep writing no matter what. And I will self-promote as much as I have to. I love my work, and I hope this post doesn’t sound like I’m complaining. I know the path I’ve chosen and self-marketing is just part of it. I love my path. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

On that note, go buy my books.

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16 thoughts on “Why Self-Marketing is Actually the Worst

  1. Actually Jacqueline I have found your self promotion to be the least intrusive of most I have come across. You are not pushy at all in my opinion, and the passion you show for your writing and work shines through as genuine in your tweets and here in your blogs.

    On top of that your are NOT all work and no play! You interact and share with your readers other aspects of your life and interests, so you can be forgiven if on occasion you need to mention your books and promote your work… your fans understand! πŸ™‚ No worries and keep up the great work!

  2. I don’t like pushy salespeople, which is what I feel like I’m becoming when I have to promote my own work. I know how you feel. Writer first, marketng expert a long way behind in second place. If only there were marketing angels to help us like legal angels who help people representing themselves in court, or business angels helping start-ups.

  3. Hi Jackie! I felt compelled to write a reply because the way you feel about self-promoting your book is the way many people feel in general about promoting themselves and their accomplishments. In “Lean In”, one thing Sheryl Sandberg points out is that women are often hesitant to toot their own horns in the workplace, for fear of looking arrogant. But women naturally give praise about the accomplishments of their coworkers, so one important way to build your reputation in the office is to develop relationships with other people who will speak out about your accomplishments when you are too nervous to do so yourself.
    In relation to you, I think this principle means that forming networks with other authors is a great way to gain more readers. If another author mentions your book on his/her blog, then their fans will be likely to seek out your book because the recommendation is a trusted source.
    It sounds a little disdainful at first, like you are taking advantage of other authors to spread the word about your book. But keep these things in mind: you would reciprocate the favor by telling your readers about your other author friends, and only promote works you genuinely enjoy and only be promoted by genuine author fans.

    Now that I’ve written a novel on your comments page, I will stop!

    • JEAN!!! Oh my goodness! How are you? Thank you for your novel, you are absolutely right!!! I’ve experienced that before on multiple occasions. That is one reason I love this blog so much, because I have been able to network and help promoted and be promoted by fellow authors! πŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: Why Self-Marketing is Actually the Worst | Words Are My Life . . .

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