While not exactly a no-brainer, I feel like most of us have already come to terms with this, whether we gave it intentional thought or not. But don't we all have those Facebook friends who come across a little full of themselves and their work? Like every chance they get, their books somehow become the topic of conversation? It gets annoying! So not only do we want to make sure we're not angering God in putting ourselves out there, we don't want to be "those people" who are downright pests.
Yes, self-promotion is necessary. And to be real, it starts much earlier than you'd think. Sure, hire someone to do it for you on social media. That works for busy famous people, but even then. It's not the same. People want to hear from you. Or at least I would because, more than it being your job, it's your privilege. You of all people should know how much people need your books, right?
Now that that's out of the way, here are some reasons I don't think we need to feel ashamed to share our book sale, cover reveal, or even just the link.
- As Christian writers, what we're promoting is ultimately for the glory of God. Of course we have to be careful to keep the right mindset and not make it all about us and numbers, but if you approach it as a kingdom enterprise, there is nothing wrong with sharing!
- In that same vein, we're told to go and make disciples of all nations. There are two action words there! While writing might not be directly making disciples, your books being written from a Christian perspective (whether they have God as a character or not) will impact people and show them God. Whether they know it or not! So take action and share that message!
- Writing is my ministry so I'm going to spread the word. See what I did there? I am so not an evangelical person it's not even funny. Spreading the Word kind of scares me. So if I can share my book's link on Facebook and get one new person to read it and bring them closer to God then by doing so, I feel like I've accomplished what I was trying to explain in my second point. Of course it might not be the end-all of ministry, but it's a wonderful start. If you promote.
- It's not about you, it's about the story. This is the little one, but possibly the hardest. Of course it's about you because you're the author, right?! But no. It's about the story and that story points to God. If you can keep that mindset, I think sharing will feel more natural and be less of a potential ego thing.
- Because our stories are from God and for God, we should be proud of our stories. That's right. As if this post couldn't get any more counter-biblical sounding, I just recommended pride. But geez, God was well-pleased with Jesus. So too can we be proud of our little book babies and hopeful for the message they carry, whatever that may be. They're not doing anyone any good sitting on the shelf. So go get those readers and be proud of that too.
I feel like I kind of went in circles there, but do you get my point? This isn't about us becoming rich and famous, though I don't think we'd complain. If we can just remember that much, I think we're already on the road of working actively for God instead of doing things just to look good and be part of the cool author crowd.
What this means, I think, is that we should give thought to our self-promotion. Sure, sometimes it's awkward. (At least for me. Tell me I'm not alone in this please!) But if you don't act like it's awkward, chances are people won't think it is. It's super important to remember that while we're promoting ourselves, we're promoting for other people. God as aforementioned if you're a Chrisitan writer, but also your potential readers. You want them to know things! Honestly, if you're thoughtful about how you promote, then it's their problem if they don't want to be told things.
Obviously, I didn't get into very many ways to actually self-promote. I think the key is really just to get yourself onto some social media platforms (maybe start with one) and be personable. Let that part of your person that's tied up in a passion for sharing stories shine through just like all the other wackier bits.
I guess in my mind it all comes down to why you're self-promoting more than how. Of course there are strategies to figure out, as manipulative as that may sound. But don't be afraid to ask for help and favors! Make friends first and then you might be surprised at how many are willing to do things for the sake of you and your story.
I hope that made sense because I kind of felt like I rambled.
(How many times did I say "of course"?) Is self-promotion a natural thing for you? What mindset do you have as you're sharing things about your books? The numbers, fame, need, or the benefit to the kingdom?
Just as a caveat, nowhere in there did I say this was easy. I struggle with this ... a lot, the more I think about it. You're not alone and I rather doubt I am either. ;)