Walk the Plank

The edits are done. It's ready to roll. Shh! Don't tell anyone!

The edits are done. It’s ready to roll. Shh! Don’t tell anyone!

Late last year I made the decision to independently publish my books. I had self-published a book early in the year, just to become familiar with the process. It was easy…except for the crucial step. Once my book was available for everyone to buy and read, I was suddenly not able to tell anyone about it. I’d done some promotion in the lead-up to publication, but once it was out there, I was absolutely petrified to advertise.

So along with the decision to self-publish the next two books, I made a New Year’s resolution. I was going to promote my books. I was going to make phone calls and personal visits to get my books into bookstores and libraries, get them into the hands of readers. I was going to blow my own horn and not be shy about it, because no one else was going to do it for me. This was marketing. People went to school to learn how to do it, so it must be learnable. I would learn to do it.


For two weeks, I’ve been agonising over a media release and press kit. I’ve been finding every reason not to send the information out, not to put it on my website.

Not that I think the marketing information I’ve prepared is in any way faulty. The writing of promotional material isn’t rocket science. It’s writing. I’m actually pretty good at that.

No, my problem is the same thing that made me freeze last year; the intense aversion I have to self-promotion. It’s not the fear that someone will read my books and not like them–that’s going to happen, for sure, and it doesn’t worry me. I don’t think it’s the fear that, even after a lot of promotion, no one will read my books. It’s a fear of the marketing process itself. The fear of saying, “Hey, I’ve created something I think you’ll really like. Something that’s worth your time and money.”

It should be easy–I like my books, and I think they are worth people’s time and money. But it is proving to be the single hardest aspect of writing for me.

I started writing because I needed a new challenge. I thought having enough ideas, staying focused on my task, putting words on paper would be the challenges. Little did I know…

I have made the resolution. I will do it. I’ll send out that promotional material. I’ll hand out my advertising bookmarks everywhere I go. I’ll make all those necessary phone calls. I’ll walk into those bookstores…

But one at a time. With sweaty palms and nervous smiles. It’s unlikely to be pretty. It’s sure to be less effective than I’d like. But my bold pirate self is standing on deck with a sword at my back, and the timid self (the one afraid of sharks) is going to have to walk that plank.

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