In the last week alone I have spoken with two published authors who are feeling super shy about promoting their second books. This blew me away to hear! These are two incredibly talented authors, with EXCELLENT books, fantastic reviews and all the social validation you would think one might need to go forth confidently!
I understand their trepidation 110%. For all the shouting and promoting I do for others, which I LOVE, when my book came out I was like a wet fish trying to promote it. I told only my nearest and dearest and I didn’t even announce it on facebook… And if you know me, I announce pretty much everything on facebook. TMI some might say. Even now I don’t feel confident telling people I wrote a book, and when I meet brides – my target audience for gawdness sake- I sometimes can’t bring myself to talk about it.
It’s like some of us just can’t separate our work from ourselves. We worry about how others will judge us. And for authors who are supposed to be taking the promotional bull by the horns… it sucks.
I was inspired by a situation last week that made me realize that I – and perhaps all of us shy author types – should just get over it.
Image courtesy of Ahmed Rabea via PhotographyBlogger.net
I was working in a local coffee shop (it’s a really good one, one of Seattle’s finest I’d argue – but that’s for another time) when a guy walks in with his new CD, most of which he had written sipping on coffee at that very place. He had just received copies of the album he had been working on for several years and he was like a kid at Christmas.
The entire coffee shop can sense his energy and he is telling everyone who comes in about this new CD, standing at the counter signing inserts and giving away free copies. He has a smile PLASTERED all over his face. And I am genuinely happy and excited for him too, so much so that I want a copy for myself!
I knew that if I spoke with him and get a copy that it would mean more to me than had I discovered the CD some other way – I would no doubt go out and tell my friends about this new artist and perhaps even post links on my social media.
Just as I am staring in awe at how brave and forward this guy is, even contemplating going over to talk to him and congratulate his achievement, the craziest thing happens.
I’m talking crazy good.
Would you believe that there was a local radio host in the shop? Just relaxing before his show and sipping on a cappucino?
He walks over to the guy, taps him on the shoulder, congratulates him and asks if he can take a copy. Then he asks if there are”any naughty lyrics” in the songs. (Ha!)
“Otherwise I’ll play this on my show,” he says.
The music guy points out the songs with “naughty lyrics” and then gives him a signed copy of the CD along with his business card.
Opportunities in the offline world are rich. Real interactions still trump those online. So if you’re feeling sick of all the noise, switch off your screen for a while and put yourself out there. Join a book club, writers group, host a book signing, meet with local authors and discuss cross promotions, give a talk, host a workshop.
It might give you just the confidence and excitement that you need to feel good about promoting your book.
Oh and to quote an oldie but goodie:
“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
US movie actor, comedian, & director (1935 – )
Put yourself out there!
Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!
Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.