This post! I’m promoting it, even though I’ve been told it’s tacky to self-promote.

If you are reading this post, right now, it is because I promoted it. There is another copy of this post on my site, nearly identical, except that I didn’t promote it other than just posting it. It doesn’t take looking at the traffic numbers to figure out which one more people will read. [Edited to add: half an hour after posting both. This is at 261. The other is at 11]

Part of your job, as an author, is to promote yourself and your work. I wish that it was just to write the words, and it’s true that there are some people who can do that. Very few. The vast majority of the books that you have read, you know about because the author promoted them.

But wait! Some of you will point out that you are here because someone else pointed at this post. Someone else promoted it, not the author. Okay… how do you think they heard about it?

Grassroots, word of mouth, has long been the most effective form of promotion. That starts with the author.

Last year, I published:

And one other.

Any idea what that was without me telling you? Do you even know what type of fiction it was?

So when awards season rolls around, or when you have a book come out, or a short story, or you win an award… If someone tells you that it’s tacky to tell people about it, they are naive.

You are doing your job.

Edited to add: Two hours in, this post has 852. The other has 61.

Also, worth noting that this post is about why it’s okay to self-promote. I have another on how to do it without looking like an ass.

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21 Responses

  1. N. E. White

    I think it is tacky only when that is *all* the author ever seems to do. Also, when they self-promote in places (or times when) they should not.

    Like everything, self-promotion is just one of the many tasks a writer can do to engage a potential audience. I suppose it is all about balance.

    1. Dave Heyman

      Great post Mary!

      Agree completely with N.E. – the blogs I read and twitter feeds I follow are from folks who talk about their work, other people’s work and also have other content. Completely fine – I like it when they tell me they have something new.

      When that’s *all* they ever tell me, that’s when I look for the unfollow button.

  2. Ryan Colvert

    Great post, Mary!

    I think we have such a strong cultural bias against bragging or self-aggrandizement that it taints perfectly reasonable sharing of your accomplishments. There’s been a lot of research on this topic in the corporate world. Hmm… you’ve inspired me to write a blog post of my own to see if I can relate that research to writers. 🙂

    By the way, I naturally had to look at the not-promoted sister post (because how could I pass it up?), so I guess you got two reads for the prices of one.

  3. A.J.

    Thank you for posting this. I, for one, am extremely appreciative when authors post these lists of everything they published. I follow your blog pretty regularly, but if asked what you published last year, I never would have thought of the short stories. Time to go track them down.

    In the interest of science, I found this through your Google+ post promoting it.

  4. Tee Morris

    I am stunned people find self-promotion tacky. It can be overdone, sure, but it is also key to survival. I’m curious: when people say “It’s tacky” is it readers, authors, or both? I ask as I remember a panel when an author once said to me “That’s someone else’s job.”

    I think she’s still writing but I have no clue the title of her recent work.

  5. Bonnie Fox

    Without a Summer. Glamourist Histories #3. It came out on my birthday! Jan 16th, 2014. Neener neener. Also, I got here from Sean Patrick Kelley. <3

  6. Nina Niskanen

    Thank you so much for posting this. I see the piles and piles of terrible that people like Seanan McGuire get for writing one post about awards eligibility and it’s weird because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re a working author. Everything about marketing and making a business and common sense says that a working author promotes her work and yet… Anyway. Thank you for doing this experiment.

  7. Sally

    Even though I have a bookmark for your site, and get your weekly emails, I mostly end up here thanks to your G+ postings.

  8. Rick Novy

    I rarely stop by here anymore but I saw the headline (which is quite effective) and I wanted to see what you had to say. Both this post and the “feeling icky” post underscore that self-promotion isn’t about trumpeting something you want people to see. It’s about engagement, and engagement allows you to find that receptive audience that lets you use that trumpet at strategic times to full effectiveness, rather bludgeoning people with calls to “read or buy this.” This is a pretty standard philosophy in the online marketing world, but you’ve always had a real instinct for it. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Kella Campbell

    Fascinating proof of something I had long suspected.

    And as Sally says above, I too mostly end up here when I see G+ posts or Facebook posts or tweets — it’s not that I don’t mean to visit regularly, it’s just… reminders are good.

  10. Pam Adams

    I got here as I usually do- you’re on my ‘regular click around and see what’s been posted tour.’ Your evil promotion schemes won’t work on me!

  11. JDF

    Slightly off topic, but I just noticed that the description for “Of Noble Family” lists it as the last Glamourist histories novel.

    This makes me sad. I really enjoy the books, and was hoping that the series would just keep going like a magical Regency Dresden Files.

  12. Peter

    I cheated and checked your Bibliography page to find out the one more thing. Then I had to kick myself because while I did purchase it last year, it had not made it to the top of my to be read pile yet. So I now have that to look forward to.

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