Monday, February 21, 2011

The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true. -John Steinbeck
This quote is timely for me. I am finding that with the marketing of a book, you have to unlearn (at least for a time) everything your mother taught you. Women especially, are raised to not brag or boast. We're happy to sing someone elses praises but far less happy singing our own.

I am terribly uncomfortable doing things or saying things that amount to self-promotion. But in the world of book publishing, it's a necessity. Luckily, we soon-to-be authors have time to get accustomed to it.

During the time between book acceptance and book launch, we have a year or maybe two to gradually begin the task of promoting our work and thus, ourselves. I'm not even halfway through that time, so I can't say I'm completely comfortable with it. But I can say that it is becoming easier. Online promotion is easier and I'm working at getting comfortable with in-person promoting.

The amazing thing with in-person encounters is that somehow the subject of my book comes up all the time. It may be a quick comment by someone about a veteran or someone who says they want to be a writer. Whatever it is, life just keeps giving me opportunities to talk about my book. Sometimes I jump on the opportunity and sometimes I don't. There's a fine line between fitting it into conversation and forcing it into conversation. But it seems to be pretty natural for me. And I never go into a situation with a plan to talk about it.

A few years ago I was at a writing conference and listened to a speaker and agent. He said something that stuck with me. He said, "If your next door neighbor doesn't know about your book, I can't help you." In other words, as with Steinbeck's quote, you have to be so excited about your book that it oozes from your pores. I think that's starting to happen for me. How about you?

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