Shameless.

I recently read an on-line piece by an author on how they detested self-promotion. The writer explained how he finds promotion of his writing via social media an embarrassing and awkward grind.

I sympathise, but wonder if this author should perhaps stop doing something they claim to loathe so fervently.  Maybe he could find a way to use his writing skill in such a way that is not only more fulfilling but may also have the desired effect of widening the audience for his ‘main’ creative work. I also wonder if there is any evidence to suggest this kind of promotion translates into sales.

In contrast, I enjoy promoting my work via the internet.  I say ‘promoting my work’ you’ll notice, as I make a distinction between my writing and my ‘self ’. People often use the phrase ‘self- promotion’ or ‘shameless self-promotion’.
But if you are writing and you want to be read, surely there is nothing shameful about telling people about your work?

Of course there is a balance to be struck between sharing of one’s small triumphs and a continual stream of posts or updates which are likely to have the opposite effect to that desired.  I like hearing about other poet’s achievements, projects, readings and successes, even those whom I don’t know, and enjoy sharing my own, to an extent.

The writer of the piece mentioned above also says how uncomfortable he is with Twitter. I don’t use Twitter as I find I already spend too much time not writing due to the distractions, fruitful and otherwise, of electronic mediums. But I know people who do and it seems to me to be an astonishingly effective way to disseminate information and generate interest in one’s own and others writing.

I do post details of some of my publications in magazines on Facebook and on this blog without the slightest embarrassment. After all, it took me long enough to be able to say ‘I write poetry’ aloud; I don’t intend to offer apologies for wanting my work to be read.

I like to think that the quality of what I post here and the fact that I am interested in other poets work makes this blog interesting in its own right, containing as it does, not only my own thoughts on writing and aspects of publishing, but also links, reviews and interviews (see last post announcing an exciting series of interviews with contemporary poets and publishers.)
What I post here also gives me the chance to develop another aspect of my writing skill. The best blogs help writers to connect, to feel less isolated, to learn and to share.

Thankfully I often receive favourable comments and support from readers to suggest that these pieces are appreciated.  What I’m suggesting is that simple ‘buy my book’ promotion is lacking in imagination and usefulness and that other approaches to bringing attention to one’s writing may result in a larger audience.  If not, so be it, but either way I value and enjoy the process of speedily communicating with the unseen world.  Thank you for reading!

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2 Comments

  1. I have come across this phenomena, Roy, and struggle to understand it.
    For me, writing may serve two purposes. First may be therapy. It does not matter if no-one sees the written word, the value lies in the process of writing itself. Second, may be a desire to share ones thoughts and skills with a wider audience for a variety of reasons.
    Frankly, if an author is not sufficiently enthused and confident about their own work to promote it, they can hardly expect others to be enthused by it.

    Like

  2. Hi Roy
    Interesting post. I know at least one writer on social media who annoys me by constantly commenting on my posts but in such a way they bring everything back round to themselves and their writing. So I might say ‘Off to Keswick today to do a reading’ and the writer will comment ‘Have a lovely time. I was there in 1999 doing a reading from my prize winning collection.’ I kid you not!!
    I think being nice to other people, without intent, just for the sake of being nice, both online and offline can go a long way. And it’s not hard either!

    Like

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