Do you hate the “S” word? Self promotion sounds ugly, doesn’t it? Indeed, people bristle at the slightest whiff of it. I knew I wouldn’t make it long as an author and artist if I didn’t find a way to make self promotion fit my personality. If you’re like me, and you want warm fuzzy promotion that fits into your comfort zone, give these S words a try:
1. Shutterbug it! I’m more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. When I attend author events, festivals, and other public gatherings I take pictures of everything (displays, vendors, festival grounds, the convention building, etc.). I don a journalist hat (not literally), and ask people if they want me to feature them on my author site/blog/Facebook page—so far no one has ever turned down my offer. I feel much more comfortable promoting others than I do promoting myself. Of course when exhibitors visit their photos on my social media pages they then see my promotional material, and so do their friends, and friends of friends. The “Warm Fuzzy”? I often make new lasting connections that go beyond networking and settle into real friendships.
2. Share it! Teaching, directing and serving are my social comfort zones. I share my life in person, and also online through photographs, videos, tweets, statuses, posts, blogs, and stories. Some of these experiences are directly related to my work and some are not. One of my most popular pins on Pinterest is a photo of a hummingbird planter. I came up with a nifty idea to use a shepherd’s hook planter, an inexpensive metal plant stand with a hook. I added a pot of tall bushy flowers to the bottom stand area and used the hook to hang the hummingbird feeder from. This idea has nothing to do with my career, but hummingbird enthusiasts who saw my pin may have also looked at my Pinterest board, where of course my promotional material greets every visitor.
3. Say it! I know that experts often warn authors and artists not to reveal behind the scenes details, and to fake-it-before-you-make-it. I do agree that it’s the mark of an amateur to whine and vent about one’s career, but I take issue with the “fake it” part. I am open and honest in my communications with readers, fans and the general public. It’s not so much of a marketing strategy as it is giving myself permission to hold fast to who I am. Self promotion doesn’t mean that I must sell my soul. My fan base is small, but growing, and they are intensely loyal. If being genuine has cost me the respect of more polished connections, I can live with that. I say what I mean, I mean what I say, and that’s how I can feel comfortable in my own skin. I don’t hold back; I stay true to who I am.
My warm fuzzy promotion has led me down unexpected paths. I held a pet photo contest to determine which animal would be adopted by one of the characters in my Serena Wilcox series. The third place winner was Roxy, a beautiful Jack Russell from Ireland. One thing led to another and Roxy’s “person” and I became friends. Not only that, but she has offered to help me trace my Irish roots. But wait, there’s more! She spoke to her library’s director about my books. My hardcover trilogy is now in a library in Ireland! That means the world to me. My father died when he was thirty-seven. I was sixteen. My mother is gone now too. I have no living grandparents either. The Ireland connection is emotional for me and for my father’s sister.
When I put myself out there and make warm fuzzy connections, I never know what might happen. If you’re like me and you hate self promotion, consider instead that you can live your best life through the “other” three S words. You’ll sell more books just by being your natural self. But more importantly, you’ll enjoy promotion much more than you thought you would. And who knows? You might find unexpected blessings along the way.
Natalie Buske Thomas is the author of the Serena Wilcox trilogies (mystery/thrillers, time travel, YA, Christian fiction). She is also an artist and entertainer. Try book #1, Angels Mark free for Kindle, Nook, Apple, Kobo, Sony, Smashwords and Wattpad.