The Musical Fruit

I’ve never been good at tooting my own horn. And don’t get me wrong, I try. My parents even had me taking lessons for a while. Maybe its the fact that my lips get tired after a while, or maybe emptying my spit valve is just too disgusting for me to think about. I don’t know what it is, but after years of trying I’ve decided that becoming a professional trumpet player just wasn’t in the cards.

So I decided, “Hey, I’ll become a writer. No tooting of horns required there.” Only I was wrong. The horn of need follows me, it HAUNTS me. It lives in my dreams, and I am forever falling into the darkness of its terrifyingly smooth and circular mouth.

That’s right. Because as a writer, I have to do a little something called, (gulp), self-promotion.

I have to get out there and tell people, “You know that money you were planning on spending a deep-tissue massage for your gerbil? Well maybe you should take some of that money and spend it on my book instead.”

And it terrifies me.

Why? Well for one thing there’s that tiny nagging fear at the back of my mind whispering that I’m really not that good. It doesn’t matter that I’ve had a number people who are not my mother read my story and generally conclude that it is of acceptable and even admirable quality. I still can’t help thinking of myself as a hack. A wannabe.

And that’s a terrible place to be. Because what self-promotion is saying is, “There are people out there who would love to read what I’ve written, and it’s my job to make sure they know about it.”

Wow. Just writing that sentence was hard. In fact, you know what? Writing this whole blog post has been difficult for me. I’ve been dithering away the morning by doing chores and finishing a book I’ve been reading all because it’s become increasingly apparent to me that I’m not good at this self-promotion thing.

That has to change.

It’s not that I need to become some egotistical windbag, constantly spamming my Twitter feed with how great my work is, but there’s no point in putting the work into writing the book if no one ever reads it. Otherwise I might as well stuff it in a trunk somewhere.

Because the truth is, if I’m going to have the balls to sell my work at all that means I have to believe that you want my story more than you want your dollar. That you will, in fact, find my writing to be worth more than many of the other things your dollar might have bought you.

Still, it isn’t easy. This isn’t an instruction guide. It’s not me telling you that I’ve solved the problem and here’s how you can too. But maybe just recognizing that I’ve got some issues is a good place to start.

If you’ve got some advice to share I’d love to hear it.

In the mean time, this might be the proper place to announce that I’m giving one of my short stories a nice official roll-out announcement on this blog tomorrow. I’ll be wincing at my keyboard as I try to say nice things about my own writing. So stay tuned for that.

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8 responses to “The Musical Fruit

  1. I have no helpful advice on this one. Probably because I have the same problems with self-promotion.

    So as a distraction from my own failings at promoting my work, I will retweet this here excellent post, Albert 🙂

    Best of luck.

  2. You are not alone! I feel so pompous and self absorbed when I try to tell people about me and my writing. Look at me! Read this! lol…..
    They say that growth lies in trudging through fear. Not sure who they are… but I am learning that after the trudge, it doesn’t seem so bad on the other side of fear. 😉 Best of luck to you.

    Darlene

  3. Hilarious title.
    You really are terrible at self-promotion. This is coming from your biggest fan – who missed the publication of Derelict!! *hangs head in shame* Please don’t take away my title!
    I have a few ideas:
    -Schedule at least one (at least!) tweet a day that promotes Derelict or What The Dog Saw. Out of sight, out of mind? Your tweet will be sent into cyberspace without you having to click the “post” button.
    -Have a huge party when you release something. Give away ice-cream! Handmade pillow cases! Canned tomato sauce! Anything! Or…a few copies of your book. 😉 Word spreads fast when something is free (as you already know.)
    -It is said that people have to see something marketed a total of 7 times before it really sinks in. So talk about your work. You’re an interesting and creative and witty guy, I’m sure you can create some pretty rockin’ marketing strategies if you tried! Do it.

  4. I guess since most writers lean toward introverted behavior, it’s no surprise we have trouble marketing. Putting yourself or your work out there is scary. What people laugh or, worse, whisper to someone else and giggle? You have a lot of friends online that will support your efforts. You have common sense about how to approach folks with your book. You have nothing to worry about. Believe it.

  5. I totally get you on this one. I worship at the altar of ‘I AM REALLY FREAKED OUT BY SELF PROMOTION”. Im really awful at it. For all the reasons you mentioned. Instead when i blog/twittr/FB abt my writing – its usually abt the journey that Im on to create it and where its at ( all mangled up with parenting 5 children and everything else that screams for my attention!)
    Thanks for a neat piece.

  6. Oh boy, I feel ya. Self-promotion scares the apple-pecan stuffing out of me. And when I do self-promote, I’m always afraid I’ve gone and done it wrong. LOL. At least I know others feel the same way. By the way, I just downloaded my copies of Derelict and The Beach Scene. So excited to read them because I loved A Prairie Home Apocalypse!

  7. So, you’re a hack. Big Deal. Hacks sell their work, too. So, get over yourself and do what needs to be done.

  8. I had to admit, I’m scared at tooting my horn, too. However, promoting things is a skill. Every skill, if we want to be good at it, requires practice.

    Like Nike: Just do it! Find a way to practice your skills and see what works and what doesn’t. Do it progressively. Start with yourself in the mirror then go out there and promote. If you keep doing it, you’ll be good at it in no time. I did so with things I used to suck at: singing and hula hoop. Maybe I should add acting on that list. 😉

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