Self promotion doesn’t come naturally for many people, not just authors. Some people find it easy to talk about themselves, and share their strengths and accomplishments, but lots of folks don’t. It can be difficult for several reasons:
Fear of Rejection: Many people fear being judged or rejected when promoting themselves. They worry about what others might think of them or their work, and this fear can hold them back from putting themselves out there, or putting themselves out there enough. It’s important to acknowledge that while you might not be a favorite author for everyone, you can be a favorite author for your audience. If there are folks outside of your target audience with whom you don’t resonate, you can let that go. Instead, focus on connecting with the community of folks in your wheelhouse. Not having to appeal to everyone, all the time, is freeing.
Modesty and Humility: Society often values modesty and humility, and self-promotion can sometimes be seen as boasting or being arrogant. People may feel uncomfortable promoting themselves because they don’t want to come across as self-centered or egotistical. Women, in particular, may face additional challenges due to societal expectations and stereotypes. This is where it’s important to remember that self-promotion isn’t the same as arrogance. Self-promotion is about being as comfortable telling people about the good as the bad. It’s easy to focus on things that need improving, and much more difficult to recognize what wewe’ve already accomplished. For example, it might be boastful (and difficult to validate) to say, “I am the best romance novelist in the world!” But you could easily say, “I write romance novels that make you remember the unrivaled thrill of falling in love.” Sometimes self-promotion is simply about identifying the things about you that are undeniably true and saying them out loud.
Imposter Syndrome: Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where folks doubt their abilities and fear being exposed as a fraud. Authors experiencing imposter syndrome may feel unworthy of recognition or success, making self-promotion uncomfortable. For authors who are releasing their debut book, or are releasing any book for which they feel lots of pressure, it’s easy to compare themselves to others who have had great success and feel inadequate. They might look at promotional materials for best-selling authors for inspiration and think, “I couldn’t do something like that, it doesn’t feel right.” But remember it doesn’t feel right because it’s designed for them, not you. You can’t simply take someone else’s brand, apply it to yourself, and expect the same success. You rob yourself of authenticity and easily slide into feeling like an imposter when you do that. Instead, spend the time to think about what makes you unique, and talk about that. Comparison has you focused on other people’s journeys, not your own, which can hinder your progress.
Self-promotion allows authors to showcase their talents, skills, and accomplishments, and can lead to new opportunities, recognition, and career advancement. If it doesn’t come easily to you as an author, remember that practice makes perfect, and comparison robs you of joy. There is no one-size fits all approach, and you don’t have to be arrogant or shameless to do it successfully. Simply sharing your enthusiasm for what you write is a great place to start.
I’ve been an author website designer for many years, and lucky enough to work with debut authors and best-sellers alike, and I’ve never come across an author who didn’t have at least one thing to celebrate about themselves. So if you don’t see it yourself, enlist a trusted friend to help you find what’s worth celebrating about you.
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