Promoting Your Writing: This Little Light Of Mine

jaws4242Tips & Tricks7 Comments

First Published on Broad Street Review

by Roz Warren

You’re probably aware of Philadelphia-based best-selling novelist Jennifer Weiner. You may love her books or you may hate them, but chances are you know who she is. Why? She’s not only a popular writer, but she’s also a relentless self-promoter (RSP) who aggressively spreads the word via social media about everything she writes.

And she has a sense of humor about it. When Jonathan Franzen included the phrase “Jennifer Weiner-ish self-promotion“ in an essay about what was wrong with the modern world, Weiner didn’t pull back from the self- promo.

Instead, she switched her Twitter tag to: “engaging in Jennifer Weiner-ish self-promotion.”

So what’s Franzen’s beef with a writer who wants to tell the world about her work? You could argue that getting the word out isn’t a writer’s job, that it’s the job of the publisher and/or editor. That’s true, but most editors need all the help they can get. Which is why it puzzles me that so many of my fellow writers just sit on their hands when a new story of theirs is published, expecting that the world will somehow manage to discover it.

Promoting your writing- This little light of mine - By Roz Warren on Beyond Your Blog

Hide and seek

“This little light of mine? I’m going to hide it under a bushel.”

Why not shout it to the rooftops? Tell everyone you know? Hire a big brass band? Maybe even a little skywriting?

Why not make it easy for readers to find you?

[bctt tweet=”‘Why not make it easy for readers to find you?’ @WriterRozWarren”]

I’m proud to be a Jennifer Weiner-ish self-promoter. When I publish a new essay, I’ll post the link on my Facebook page. And on Google Plus. I tweet about it. And I send out the link to my mailing list.

Not only am I supporting the site that published me by bringing them traffic, but I’m making it super easy for family, friends, and fans (yes! I’ve got fans!) to find and read me.

Everyone’s a winner!

And while I’d much rather spend my time writing than promoting my writing, when relentless self-promotion does pay off, it can be a thrill. Like the time I tweeted a link to the essay I’d just written about her to Carole King and she posted it on her Facebook page. Not only did that bring me thousands of new readers, but I got high on all the upbeat, affirming comments her fans posted about the piece.

And when I had the bright idea of posting a humor piece about library work on an American Library Association Facebook page? Five thousand of my fellow librarians “Liked” it. How cool is that?

Toot-free

A while back, my pal Deb wrote a great humor piece. She didn’t tell me about it. Instead, I stumbled over it months later. “I loved that piece!” I told her. “Why didn’t you send me the link when it came out?“

“I don’t like to toot my own horn,” she said.

Perhaps she expected a compliment on her modesty, but she didn’t get one.

“What the hell’s wrong with you?” I asked.

Is it arrogant or obnoxiously pushy for a writer to spread the word about newly published work? I don’t think so.

RELATED: 5 Essential Rules For Promoting Your Published Writing On Social Media

I know that people want to read me. When I post my work on Facebook, they like it and share it. Some have even taken the trouble to email me about a particular essay. “It made me think,” they’ll say. “It made me smile.” “It consoled me when my Bichon was facing major surgery.” “It made me laugh.” “It made my day.”

And that, of course, makes my day.

Writers Marion Winik and Anndee Hochman send out regular email blasts. Joyce Wadler and Gina Barreca always post new work on their Facebook pages. And everybody with any sense uses Twitter. This all makes it easy for fans like me to enjoy their work.

Excuses, excuses

What’s wrong with that?

You don’t want to be perceived as smug, self-satisfied, or overly pleased with your work? Sorry, but you’re not kidding anyone.

All writers are self-involved narcissists. It goes with the territory. You assume that what you have to say is worth writing about, spend hours redrafting to get it just right, then send it to editors, and if they turn it down, send it to other editors until somebody finally recognizes how fucking brilliant you are and publishes it?

[bctt tweet=”‘All writers are self-involved narcissists. It goes with the territory.’ @WriterRozWarren”]

You’re not humble. You’re a writer. And writers need readers. So get off your butt and follow Jennifer‘s lead.

I’m not a great writer, but I’m a good one. And I want people to read me. So if there’s anything I can do to get my work to readers, I’m there. I may never be as popular as the writer of In Her Shoes and All Fall Down.

But it won’t be for lack of trying.

WarrenRozRoz Warren is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. Her work appears in the New York Times and The Funny Times, as well as in Good Housekeeping, The Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, Vegetarian Times, Seventeen Magazine, Broad Street Review and on Women’s Voices for Change. Roz’s latest humor book is “Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection of Library Humor“.

Visit her website at www.rosalindwarren.com, and connect with Roz on Facebook and Twitter.

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7 Comments on “Promoting Your Writing: This Little Light Of Mine”

  1. You’re right on! The point of writing a blog post is for other people to read it, isn’t it? And just like Mr. Right probably isn’t going to come knocking on my front door, readers probably won’t wander over to my blog without a little help… That’s why I do online dating (and have written quite a few horror stories to prove it) and like the motto “God helps those who help themselves.”

  2. I’m a brand new blogger and grateful for all of the advice. My blog is about the intersection of movies and my life (mysisterlovesmovies.com). I’m trying to find the right place to find followers, but it’s been tricky. I’m glad you’re a fan of self-promotion. When you post your writings on Facebook and Twitter how many posts do you do? I’ve heard three times on Facebook and eight on Twitter (all in one day), but it seems awfully pushy.

  3. Thanks for asking Shannon. I post once on my personal FB page, once on http://www.facebook.com‘writerrozwarren and also on a couple of the FB groups I belong to. I Tweet many times, but try to be creative about it, and stretch the Tweets over a couple of days. I also post on Google Plus.

  4. Very useful post Susan. I struggle so much with promotion. Will bookmark this one and come back to digest it a few times. Thanks!

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