Monday, 21 July 2008


Tania has an interesting post about promoting her new book of short stories on her blog. She's looking for fresh and exciting ways to draw attention to her book The White Road and Other Stories.

Promoting your own work is important and difficult. You have to do the best by your book in order to gain some sort of profile for your work but it's often hard to know exactly what to do.

Self promotion is a very un-Irish concept; as a nation we lack self-esteem. Boasting is a no-no and boasters/confident people are often either laughed at or taken down to size. Or both. It's some sort of Catholic hangover. But I think younger people, and therefore younger writers, are a lot more confident and will be better equipped in the self-promo stakes.

I've had emails from writers promoting their own books and I have to admit it's made me uncomfortable. I'm so used to self-promotion being seen as a bad thing and that's probably why I cringed at that type of direct marketing. But maybe I'm just jealous at the balls of those who are able to throw themselves behind their books in that confident, pro-active way.

But, as I've said elsewhere, the writer who does not stick their head above the parapet by actively taking part in the literary world (submitting, reading, promoting their work etc.) remains invisible. How can anyone know a writer is out there, writing, if they don't push themselves along? Like it or hate it, it's one of the facts of being a writer today. You have to be able (even if you dislike it) to push your self into the public eye.

I wish Tania lots of luck and lots of good promotional ideas for her book.


OSLO said...

I completely identify with what you are saying about the difficulty of being Irish and feeling comfortable promoting oneself (and the instinct to frown on those who do try to promote themselves and their work). That said, if they could airbrush and photoshop well enough, I'd pose with strategically placed copies of my as yet written book in Playboy, if it meant getting people to read it - my book, not Playboy, obviously.

Women Rule Writer said...

Playboy, is it? It's far from Playboy I was reared! But if you think it'll work, go for it!!

Tania Hershman said...

Thanks, WRW, for linking to my blog post. I think it's a good ongoing discussion to have for those of us who aren't natural-born promoters. I have one acquaintance-writer who blows his own trumpet so loudly and with such a lack of grace that I am frankly embarassed for him, cringing at his YouTube videos. Yet he gets reviews, wins awards, sells books. I can't believe this is what is needed, but, as you say, if you don't stick your head up, no-one knows you're there!

Women Rule Writer said...

Hi T
I think you have come up with at least one commendable and creative thing already - the tree for a book promise with Eco-Libris.

One just wonders how far do we have to go with promotion before we are just irritating (like your acquaintance)?
I see pics of Cecelia Ahern naked in a bubble bath and I want to puke. She's a writer (supposedly) so what's with the celebrity photo op antics??!! (OK, so she's a bad example, but you know what I mean.)
Would we all do crazy photo shoots as Oslo suggests if it would help our books? I just don't know...

BarbaraS said...

It is a necessary evil, this self-puff lark, and yes we Irish are not terribly good at it, but if it's done well, it can really get your name and work seen. And that, at the end of the day, is what we want. Just not with bubbles... I mean, really! Although I guess that was just a way of getting across visually what CA's work is like: light and fluffy...?!? ;)

Women Rule Writer said...

Hee hee, Barbara, spot on, I reckon, re Cecelia's bubbles!

I think more and more, publishers do less and less. Even big publishers, so it's left to most writers to work hard to promote their book. Which is fun, sometimes, and so hard other times.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

It's an unwinnable battle. If writers do self promote (as required by publishers, especially independents), other writers dislike it. Unless you are seriously successful and can come up with a clever, funny self promotion model like Miranda July, the 'other writer world' is unforgiving.

Be somewhere down the bottom, struggling to get off first base, and other writers love to try to stop you. Keep you where they are.

I'm experiencing that first hand. And I wonder... when does it become OK to self promote then? I think the answer has to be... 'when the complainers have something to promote, themselves. Then, anything goes.'!!

Women Rule Writer said...

Thanks for your comment, V. I think there can be a lot of jealousy among writers.
I guess in terms of promotion, we should do as much as we can and then do a little more. There's no harm in pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I find.
Some people/writers have a knack of doing the promo and still maintaining an inherent humility. That,is, I suppose, the ideal.
Having written our books, we should be proud to promote them to the best of our abilities.