I’M GOING TO DO SOMETHING I promised myself I would try not to do—and that is use a blogpost for shameless self-promotion.

This Saturday, March 16, I’ll be joining a group of women writers from Washington state at the Woodinville branch of the King County Library, to celebrate Women’s History Month with an event called Her Story, Her Words.

We’ll each be talking briefly about and reading from our books from 1:00-5:00 p.m. that day. (The graphic says 12-5:00, but that was changed–it doesn’t start till 1:00.) I’ll be talking about The Walled Garden with two other fiction writers from 2:00-2:45, so if you would like to come support me, I’d love to see you there!

Having said that, it’s time for true confessions: I really dislike promoting myself!

You can tell, right? Because here it is, two days till the event, and I’m just now letting people know.

I’ve read all the stuff and listened to all the seminars about how, if you’ve written a book and you want people to buy it, you’ve got to put yourself out there and tell people about it.

But I can’t do it. Well, technically speaking, I can, but I drag my feet on it every single time.

It’s the part of publishing I struggle with the most. I hired a publicist to promote the book for the three months before it came out and the three months afterwards, which was all lovely and good and got me some nice reviews and interviews. It also cost a small fortune. If I could afford it, I’d have a publicist on retainer still, but I can’t, which means that (gulp), now I’m the publicist.

I’d say it was one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had, except that I’ve had way worse ones than this. But why do I still have so much trouble with it? Why can’t I get my mother’s injunction not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think out of my head?

I just did a synonym search for the word promotion and the words bragging and boasting came up, which I think helps answer my question. Especially as women who grew up in the 1960s and 70s, we were taught that bragging or boasting about ourselves or our accomplishments was unbecoming and even rude. And even in these days of relentless self-promotion, especially on social media, those old messages die hard.

One of my favorite people who writes and blogs about creativity, Austin Kleon, (check out his website here), in his book, Show Your Work, includes this quotation from Brené Brown:

“In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen—really seen.”

I know that’s part of the issue for me—I’m a fairly private person and I struggle with embracing the vulnerability to allow myself to be really seen. It’s part of the reason I don’t write nonfiction about my own life! (Not that there’s anything wrong with writing nonfiction.)

The only way I can get around the noise in my own head about promoting myself is to remind myself that I owe it to the book—and all the work I did to create it—to continue to work on getting it out into the world so it can find its readers. With this library event, it helps me to remember all the work this lovely group of women has put into planning and organizing it, so I want to honor their efforts.

So, the perils of self-promotion aside, think of this as an invitation and please come out to the Woodinville Library if you’re free Saturday afternoon around 2:00—I would be so happy to see you!

And thank you again for supporting me and The Walled Garden. 🙂


Featured image by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash 

Promotional graphic courtesy of Poppy Louthan, KCLS