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Self-Promotion: A Necessary Evil?

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     If you listen to a Jason Derulo song, or some of Lady Gaga’s songs, you’ll notice their name appears somewhere in the lyrics. Derulo puts his name right in front, at the beginning. Gaga’s name might be missed, if you’re not listening carefully. After all, it’s only two syllables and often, it blends in seamlessly with the chorus. 

Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah-ah! 

Roma-roma-ma!

Gaga-ooh-la-la!

Want your bad romance!

Shameless, right? I mean, it’s so brazen to just put your name out there, like a miniature billboard, correct?


Wrong. Both Derulo and Lady Gaga are simply promoting themselves… and promoting themselves is something that writers need to do (or do more often).


image by Pixabay


I can hear you whining already. I’m a writer. I’m not savvy when it comes to business. I’m not supposed to be promoting myself. I’m supposed to spend my time writing.


Unless you’re up in the stratosphere with Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, James Patterson and John Grisham, you  have to promote yourself. Most likely it will be up to you to set up some (or all) of your book events. You will have to contact newspapers, radio stations and fellow writers to get reviews and publicity. You have to put your name and your book out there, because nobody else is gonna do it.


Believe me, I’m right with you. I’m a teacher (a profession known for attracting people who love their job but hate the limelight). I’m also a writer. If I was a wizard at publicity and promotion, I’d have been making the big bucks all these years.


Yet here I am, working on ways to promote myself, because I have a book coming out this spring. And I want to walk that fine line. I don’t want to assault folks endlessly with pleas to buy my book. Read my book! Review my book! However, I do need to get my book out there (hopefully in clever and informational ways).


I read this post and got a couple of helpful hints. One, I need to really put my personality forward. Sitting behind a table that’s stacked with my books, waiting for people to come up and talk to me will not work.


Another suggestion is to support fellow writers. I’ve been doing this for years. I’m thrilled when a writing friend gets published in an anthology or gets a book published. Writing is a tough business. We writers have to support each other. We have to.


In another post I read, I got some other ideas. An easy thing to do: add my book to my email footer. Each time I send an email, my book’s title (and cover) is being shared. Another idea: write a guest post or article. Bloggers might appreciate you offering to write a post for them, and while you’re helping them, you’re helping yourself by promoting your writing and yourself.


As I continued reading, I started thinking of unique give-aways or possible merchandise that could be connected to my book. Setting up Skype sessions with a class (since my book is a middle-grade novel) or being part of a book club that’s reading my book (either a local group or participating virtually) are also possibilities.


In the end, as a writer, you have to step away from your laptop, think outside of the box, and promote yourself…


… because if you don’t talk up your book, chances are, nobody will.


              If you go to the 2 minute mark, you’ll see a sweet old lady rocking out.

Sioux Roslawski is a middle school teacher and a freelance writer. In spring of 2021, her middle grade hisorical novel, Henry’s Story: Greenwood Gone, will debut. If you’d like to read more of Sioux’s writing, check out her blog.


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