Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Shameless Self Promotion

Authors must promote themselves and their work. The more people who know about our work, the more people will seek out and read our work. Even though self promotion makes some of us feel a little uncomfortable, it is a skill we must all perfect.

Embrace promotion. Be shameless.

Let us face the truth: the person most invested in an author's work is the author of the work -- a solid reason why we, as authors, must relentlessly and shamelessly promote ourselves.

One of the best ways to promote your work is the web. Many authors have a blog, and/or a webpage. I have both. As a matter of fact, I have more than one blog, but that's beside the point. I also have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. The pluses: more professional connections, more readers, more exposure. The negative: some people might hear your message more than once, as they, too, might also have web presences on multiple platforms.

Writing is a solitary adventure. So many writers tend to be introverts who don't enjoy self-promotion. Let me assure you, many of us feel that way on the inside. However, we must put on our professional faces and confidently promote, promote, promote.

One of my tutors once told a story of how he sent out bookmarks of his current book when he paid bills, from credit card to hydro bills. Because the person handling the bill might be interested in his work. Too bad that most of us pay our bills online now.

When awards season rolls around, many authors dream of being nominated for an Aurora (in Canada) an Aurealis (in Australia), a Hugo, a Nebula, a World Fantasy, or a Stoker Award. And those are only a few of the possibilities in the speculative fiction genre. There are also big awards like the Booker, the Giller, and, of course, the Nobel Prize. Coming back to reality for a moment, I don't stay up nights writing my Nobel Prize acceptance speech. But I do work to be nominated for awards like the Aurora.

Why work you might ask? Shouldn't the fiction speak for itself? Aren't good stories always at the front of everyone's mind?

As if!

Even for awards as well known as the Academy Awards, a whole pile of backroom promotion goes on. For some of the bigger films, copies are distributed to every single member of AMPAS to get noticed.

Think of your award-nomination-promotion as a part of your job description. Just as you must be competent at using a word processor, or reading aloud well at a convention or book launch, you must also confidently promote your work for award consideration.

Be polite. Be specific. Make sure to mention all other works you deem nomination-worthy. Provide a list of all eligible works so the reader is able to make an informed decision. You are merely opening their eyes to one more possible story to consider placing on a ballot.

In keeping with this shameless self promotion, watch this blog for pointers to all Stop-Watch Gang stories that are eligible for this year's awards.

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