Sunday, December 24, 2023

Is Self-Promotion Bad?

By Terry Whalin

As writers, we are the people with the greatest passion about our area of expertise and our book. Yes, our publisher has an investment in the book and gets the book out into the marketplace. But over and over, I’ve learned it is the author's activity or promotion which moves that book out of the bookstore and into the hands of readers. This process happens in many different ways and methods. In the process of telling people about our book, we are involved in self-promotion. In this article, I ask and answer the question in my title, Is Self-Promotion Bad?

As Christians, we are taught to lift up (promote) others instead of ourselves. Even the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:3, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought." (NIV)

From my decades in publishing, the key in this process is a balancing act along with a focus on helping and serving your reader with your various messages. For example, once a day in my social media feed, I promote my Billy Graham biography. I achieve this promotion with different words, different images and pointing out different places where others have interviewed me about Mr. Graham. Follow this link for an example.

Recently I’ve read and reviewed a resource which can help you in this area of self-promotion. Paula K. Parker, Mike Parker and Torry Martin have combined their experiences into Shameless Self Promotion and Networking for Christian Creatives. Each of these authors have vast experience in interviewing--and being interviewed with other creatives. Because they have worked as journalists as well as authors, they bring a different perspective and view to their readers. 

In the early pages of the book, they write, “creative people are often right-brain dominant; but while the right-brain opens the door, it’s usually the left-brain that does the business. That’s why we wrote this book, Shameless Self-Promotion, and Networking for Christian Creatives is designed to help equip you, whether you re an individual or organization, with the tools you need to successful self-promotion, using tried and proven methods and with out the need to sell your soul in the process.” (Page 4)

As Christian writers, they have a different perspective for example in the chapter about The Interview, they write, “We pray before every interview because we believe our meeting whoever we are interviewing can be a ministry moment. We believe that the stories we write about people and their art can impact the reader, in much the same way great music impacts the reader, and a great stage performance can impact the theater-goer. our responsibility is to help the person we are interviewing to tell their story in such a way that it might minister to the people who read it.” (Page 93-94) I hope you see the truth and insight in this quotation and how their perspective is different from the typical marketing book.  

In these articles, I’ve repeatedly encouraged you to build relationships in the publishing community. In this chapter they write, “Torry Martin is a master at networking from a different perspective. His unique approach to networking eschews the common idea of ’what can you do for me,’ and turns it around with a ’how can I help you?’ attitude that is both godly and powerful. It’s what we call shameless self promotion, because there is nothing shameful about it.” (Page 148)

Some books you read once and are done with them. That will not happen with Shameless Self Promotion and Networking for Christian Creatives.  This book contains a plethora of ideas and insights for every author from these three much published authors. I encourage you to read this book with a yellow highlighter and turn to these insights over and over for your writing life. 

The process of self-promotion is not easy for any of us. What methods are you using in your writing? Let me know in the comments below.


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