So yeah, life is horrible sometimes but you know what? Sometimes people are really cool. I posted something on Imgur yesterday about the struggle of being an author. The real story wasn’t the picture, though. It was how kind the community was to me and the other struggling, aspiring authors in the thread. To promote your book, find the cool. That’s the lesson I learned on this chilly, wet Wednesday.
After years of bad social media experiences, I couldn’t believe the levels of empathy I was receiving. Heartwarming, and also humbling. Reflecting on this moment has taught me something important. If you’re going to promote your book, you must try to do things you think are impossible. You’ll confront all of those inner voices telling you ‘you can’t do it.’ You must fight through the frustration. In short, you must find the ‘cool’ of your story.
What’s the ‘cool’ of your story? Let’s discuss. If you’re a writer, you know the struggle of getting your work out there. The old model of writers at the Algonquin, millions from the publisher for ad campaigns, instant celebrity status? That’s as dead as Kevin Spacey’s career. Not only must you write, you must promote what you write and therein lies the challenge. The public, for better or worse, has become so allergic to promotion in 2021 that a new problem emerges. Readers, whether they realize it or not, are conditioned to EXPECT authors to come at them with viral content, or a slick ad campaign.
Here’s where we discover the ‘cool.’ Each author is going to solve this problem for themselves. Some will tell you ‘oh, get connected on Goodreads.’ Others will tell you ‘it’s all about the conventions, you HAVE to promote yourself at conventions!’ Having studied different options for years, I’ve come to realize that promoting yourself is like doing cardio: you have to find the workout that works for you. Lots of trial and error, until you discover the routine you can do that FEELS effortless but still burns calories. It’s not going to feel like a struggle, it’ll just feel … cool.
Going through this has made me realize all the hard-wired messages in my head that scream ‘you can’t do it, you’re not good enough!’ I think a lot of authors struggle with this, we didn’t have a moment like this one in our childhood to look back on. So fighting through this problem, finding the ‘cool’ of my book promotion, has been a struggle for me. It probably is for you, too. Let’s help each other fight through that together.
I’m not going to give you a Top Five Ways to Promote Your Book blog post, because it’s not what you need to hear. What I’m going to say is ‘keep struggling, keep kicking … find the cool.’ You’ll crack the code for yourself soon enough, and when it happens I’ll be here to cheer you on.