Shameless Self-Promotion, Part One

There are so many lovely summery things I could be talking about today. Like yesterday afternoon when I took the kids to the outdoor pool for the first time this year, or this morning when I walked around the lake to the accompaniment of a glorious pink-and-orange sunrise. (Sunrise…who knew? Do they put this on every day??) Or I could tell you less lovely summery things, like how I am being martyred alive with hay fever at the moment and thinking of breaking down and trying some allergy med or something.

But no.

I will lay all these things aside, the things that normally occupy me during the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, and speak instead of my current mission: Shameless Self Promotion.

Most anyone who reads this blog will know that I am a writer, and that in addition to a steady stream of Christian books I’ve had published by an inspirational publisher over the last 20 years, I released my first novel with a big-name, mainstream publisher, back in January of this year.

I think, like a lot of other writers who’ve published with smaller presses, I somehow had the illusion that once I had a book out with a major publisher, the heavens would open and press releases would float gently down upon my head. My publisher would hire a brass band to accompany me through the streets and my face and book cover would be on the sides of city buses. OK — maybe not all that, but I think most writers assume that book promotion automatically becomes much easier once you have a big-name publishing house backing you.

This turns out to be somewhat less than true, at least in my experience.

In fact, it’s less than true in the experience of nearly every writer I’ve heard of. I’m not here to slag off my publisher: they have done a great job and been terrific to work with. But it’s true what other writers have told me: the publishing house has many, many books to promote. I have just one. My book is top priority for me; for them, it’s one of a crowd. The only person who is going to make promoting my book their number one job is — me.

And I will confess that I have not done much with that job since January. The few things I have done — my launch, a couple of interviews, a reading — have been arranged either by the publisher or someone else. For me, the year of my book release coincided with my first attempt at combining full-time teaching with full-time mothering, and I found myself left with no time for anything else — either writing books or flogging them in the market.

I must add that in addition to a shortage of time, I have a certain quaint, maidenly shyness about the concept of going out yelling to the world: “I wrote a book!! Read my book!!! My book rocks!!!!” I know some writers (naming no names) who are brilliant at self-promotion. They were born to do it. I know some writers who are so brilliant at it they’re positively annoying — you can’t turn around without tripping over them or their book. And I know that I am no more capable of self-promotion on that level than I am of going down on Water Street wearing fishnet stockings and six-inch heels trying to sell my matronly virtue.

But the time has come. Summer vacation is here, I have some time on my hands, and my book’s shelf life is slipping away. Time to polish off those six-inch heels and learn a few tricks from the pros. From now till September I have determined that shameless self-promotion will be my object and my goal, even if it makes me look harsh, brash and arrogant and makes my soul wither within me like a gentle flower in the harsh North Atlantic breeze. (Note to self: reign in metaphors. But first, promote book!)

Yesterday I threw myself into the task with a will (OK, a few won’ts, but I finally got a will) and made contact with the local Chapters to see if I can do a reading/signing there. I also starting working on the possibility of getting to the Word on the Street festival in either Halifax or Toronto in September. Nothing definite on either of those possibilities yet, but the main thing is, I’m out there on the street corner, taking my chances.

What’s that you say? Do I hear you saying, “Oh Trudy, can WE, your loving blog-readers, help with your campaign of Shameless Self Promotion???” Why yes, you can! There IS something you can do to help! If you have read The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson, and enjoyed it, then I beg you to go either to the , , or pages for the book (the page is not very useful, since the book is only distributed in Canada and can be ordered through, but people will still search for it). Write a reader’s review — it doesn’t need to be long or polished or brilliant, just any positive thing you can say that will catch the eye of someone browsing for books. A zillion thanks to Tracy Taylor, a person I don’t even know, who wrote my one lovely indigo review, and a zillion more to Artsy Fartsy Music Fan, an anonymous reviewer who I’m pretty sure is probably related to me either by ties of blood or ancient affection, who wrote my one review. Thanks also to Katrina who gave my book a lovely and detailed review on her website, and to other friends who’ve mentioned it in their blogs.

Later in the summer I am planning to do some fairly aggressive online book promotion (I can be much more aggressive online!) so when that happens, it would be great to have a few positive reviews up on the major book sites. Thanks in advance to anyone who’s able to do that!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled lazy summer days. Further updates on Shameless Self-Promotion to follow as they become available.

Notes to self: Buy allergy meds. Wash swim towels. But first: Promote Book!

One Reply to “Shameless Self-Promotion, Part One”

  1. I totally understand, Trudy. I am a novice at being published and not comfortable with pushing myself but I try to think that I am pushing the work and if you love the story you are pushing, then you have to think that you are sharing the story with more people. Not so shameless, this promotion, when you think like that.

    Thanks for visiting my blog too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: