Bet you thought you’d see a different word, didn’t you?
Self. Myself. Yourself. Self.
The word starts to look weird if you look at it too long.
One syllable. One person. One voice.
Are you depressed yet?
One of the necessary evils of being an author is this: self-promotion. I don’t know about you, but the term burns my brain. Gives me hives. Makes me hyperventilate. It has such negative connotations. And it’s almost impossible to strike a tolerable balance: If you do too much, you’re frowned upon – If you do too little, you reap no benefits. Not to mention, it’s such a difficult, lonely venture. Especially in the beginning, when you’re starting out as a “nobody” and it feels like nobody cares if you stay a nobody. It can be pretty disheartening.
But take away the one syllable, four letter word that’s positioned before the hyphen and – ta-da! – you’ve got yourself a word with positive connotations. One that implies the involvement of many people and is wide open and full of possibilities.
Promotion. A nine letter word. Three syllables. Much more fun.
My point is this: if you aren’t doing it already, consider getting involved with helping promote authors. I’m so fortunate to be part of an awesome MG/YA writers’ group whose members are great at doing this. The support and promo we receive from one another is amazing. But not every author, especially first-timers, are so lucky.
If you’re a reader, let me tell you that, as an author, there is nothing that compares to hearing how much someone enjoyed your book. And, second to that, knowing that maybe, just maybe, that person’s words might entice someone else to buy it. Readers, as we know, are a book’s biggest promoters. So help get the word out about your favorite authors. They’ll be so grateful.
If you’re an author, chances are you know, first-hand, how difficult it is to promote your own work. So why not use the experience you have to give someone else a lift? If, on the flip-side, you don’t know how difficult it is to promote your own work and you’re doing just swimmingly, then consider yourself infinitely lucky and go out right now to celebrate your good – no, great – fortune! And then come back and pass on some of the love and champagne you’ve received.
Trust me, either way, promoting an(other) author won’t kill you. It won’t even hurt you.
I do understand that the “self” part of promotion can’t be avoided completely; there definitely are times when you’ve got to do what YOU’VE got to do. But let me assure you of this: three syllables are better than one.