Your work is to discover your world and then, with all your heart, give yourself to it. - Buddha
As a publicist and an author who is getting ready to publish three books of my own this year, I understand the dilemma authors face when it comes to finding the time and energy to promote their work. Marketing and promotion can be especially difficult for authors because many of us (and, yes, I include myself here) don’t feel comfortable blowing our own horns. The act of writing is oftentimes a very personal and private one, which can make promoting the resulting work something of an anomaly – we spend months, and even years, alone, focused on the act of creating, and then we have to switch gears and become megaphones for the words we’ve produced.
For many writers, that switch can be jarring. I field calls from authors every day who want to get their books noticed, but have trouble facing the idea of being center stage. Many authors chose to forgo promotion altogether, oftentimes because of time commitments and costs, but also because it’s difficult to be suddenly focused on themselves (which an author platform requires) in a public way.
I try to help authors adjust to the idea of being more public with their work through my book publicity services, but also through guiding them to accept that the only way their books will be read is if readers know about them. Authors understand this concept, but it isn’t always an easy idea to embrace, especially for those who are introverted or truly shy.
One suggestion I have for clients who resist being in the public eye is to consider the process of promoting as more of an experience of giving, rather than one of blatant self-promotion. If we authors can view promotional activities as opportunities to share our ideas, our beliefs, and our writing, then we are no longer self-promoting; we’re giving, in the truest sense of the word.
This ability to give can be difficult for some – in our culture, giving is often not easy. Many of us see ourselves as wanting or not having enough and, therefore, not in a position to give to others. But I believe that we always have something to offer others, and authors are especially blessed with much to share. We have our words, our books, our thoughts, our experiences as writers, and even our experiences as promoters, to provide to the world. And having so much to share is an indication of how lucky we are to not only write, but to give back to others -- in the form of stories and nonfiction writing -- our sense of what it means to experience life.
And the funny thing is that the more we give, the more we seem to have. There is something magical in the act of giving; true generosity can bring about great feelings of openness, along with the satisfaction that comes from witnessing the resulting happiness others feel as recipients of our gifts. And the more we share, the more others – readers – know about us, which benefits us in ways that are monetary, yes, but also personally fulfilling.
So, I recommend to any writer out there who cringes at the thought of doing book signings and blog tours, giving media interviews, or pursuing relationships via social networking, to think about it in a different way. If we approach the process of publicity as one where we are sharing our thoughts, our books, and, yes, ourselves, with others, we do so in the spirit of giving. And when we willingly share with others, we often find that the true benefactors of our generosity are ourselves.
Paula Margulies is a book publicity and promotions expert in San Diego, California. You can reach her at email@example.com, or visit her at www.paulamargulies.com, on Twitter at @PaulaMargulies, or on Facebook at Paula Margulies Communications.