The Conundrum of Self Promotion

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Some of you have seen this picture…. what I want to draw your attention to is the chocolate bar. Nice touch, eh? Red Hen promotional item. Creative….

Now that my first book is a reality (there’s a carton with fifty of them sitting on my desk as we speak), I am considering how to promote it in June when it officially releases. Or, if I am following the advice of my publisher, how I should be promoting it NOW.

The problem is, like most introverted writers, I feel awkward promoting myself and my work. Pushy, self-aggrandizing, embarrassed, uncomfortable. It helps if I imagine that my work is like a child, my child who needs my assistance to find its way in the world. It helps when I remember that I am proud of my work and delighted in Boreal Books/Red Hen’s treatment of the actual physical book. It’s beautiful. The paper has a good heft. The color reproduction on the cover is rich and the detail in the artwork is precise. I sweated over the poems within to hone and polish them.

And so, I’ve declared this Sunday to be “develop your marketing campaign” day. I’ll be developing some “value added” items that give folks a feel for the book, sending out postcards, and deciding who I can enlist to help me introduce my baby to the world. Nothing cheesy, nothing forced, nothing embarrassing. At least nothing more embarrassing than my usual stumbling about. The author Patti Digh says, “Make strong offers to the world.” This is what I must do for my own work. Stay tuned for more updates.

4 Replies to “The Conundrum of Self Promotion”

  1. I am horrible at this, too. I found that with the small book I wrote I felt more at ease just given ’em away, as opposed to the $17.00 I should have charged. “Make strong offers to the world” is slightly related to “how much are you willing to take it in the shorts.” I know, horrible simile, but it really did free my mind of this issue. Granted, I do not play capitalism well. I am poor. But I never wrote the dang thing to make money. I did sell a number of them in a strange sort of case-to-case bartering system. Likewise, many people just could not accept them for free, without guilt, so like the phony monk I am, I took their money and eased their guilt. Kathleen F. is the one to contact in Washington about this issue. She’s dealt with this heavily.

  2. I hope you’ll write more about how all this goes for you. A friend commented on my blog that it’s not so much self-promotion as it is sharing, and helping people find their way to good work. I wish you and your book lots of good luck as your work makes its way in the world!

  3. Erin, I may have missed something, but are you selling your book from your website? I would love to get a copy! (See…see how easy self promotion is! 🙂 )

  4. Hi Erin,

    I hope you will participate in the Big Poetry Giveaway! An excellent way to self promote at the same time that you choose another poet to promote as well. You give one of your own books away and one of a poet whose work you love. Look forward to getting your book! All best, Susan

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