Self-promotion has never been my thing. I have always been that girl in the background, the one trying not to bring attention to herself. If I'm in an intimate setting, I will be more open and partake more in the conversations, but I let others take the limelight in larger groups. It is who I am, and I'm happy with it.
When I finally found the courage to self-publish my novels, I realized that I would need to step out of my comfort zone and let others focus on me through my writing. I also knew that I would have to promote myself and my novels if I wanted to sell any copies, and this brought me great hesitation and anxiety.
I tried direct sales for a bit and found that I didn't enjoy the feeling of pushing a product upon others. I truly believed in the product and still do, but I felt uncomfortable trying to convince others of its benefits. If I felt awkward selling a product that I did not create, imagine my hesitation in trying to sell something that came from my very heart and soul. I was terrified (and still am in some ways).
I was told that I needed to join Twitter to help push my book. I joined and then did nothing because I had no idea what it was about or how to use it. I can honestly and humbly say that I probably still don't know how to reap the best benefits of Twitter, but I can now appreciate the value of it.
I immediately connected with my friends, but I knew that wouldn't really help me reach the mass audiences. Then, one day I somehow came across an amazing collection of authors and readers and joined their group, Rave Reviews Book Club, or #RRBC. As I always do, I stayed in the background, just observing and getting to better understand how it all worked. As time passed, I knew I had found a new home. I became surrounded by others who were passionate about the written word and wanted to share their love of stories.
I then found #IndieAuthorsBeSeen, #IAN1 (Independent Authors Network) and #BooksGS (Books Go Social). These groups also focus on lifting authors up and helping each other to promote their works so that readers can fall in love with new stories.
I watched the type of tweets that these amazing authors sent into the world, and I mimicked them. I clicked on their links and even downloaded a few of their novels, read them, and wrote reviews. Then, I tweeted about the reviews I had written. And then something miraculous started happening...#RRBC chose me as part of their #PUSHTUESDAY promotion. All of a sudden, the masses were tweeting about my novel. I felt so honored that these complete strangers would help me share my work. And then #IndieAuthorsBeSeen promoted my first novel on a radio broadcast. #BooksGS followed with tweets and sharing my novel on Pinterest.
I realized that I could promote myself through others, taking away my unease of speaking about myself while still getting my books into the hands of readers. Because I am not a selfish person, this wasn't enough for me. I believe in shining light upon those who share their spotlight with me. Unfortunately, I barely have time to write, much less scroll through thousands of tweets per day, so I had to find a way to productively promote my supporters.
Luckily, I found my happy medium through chance. I was lucky enough to be asked for an interview by @PukahWorks. Not only did she post my interview on her blog, www.pukahworks.wordpress.com, but she also read both of my novels and posted honest reviews. Then, she promoted all of it for several days, and she did all of this out of the goodness of her heart! Suddenly, people were retweeting her tweets and helping to push my works, and I knew I had to thank them in some way.
A simple thank you just wasn't good enough for me, so I visited each of their pages and scrolled (and scrolled and scrolled) until I found a post in which they were promoting their own works, and I retweeted that. And it felt great! I realized that the best way to honor those who help me promote my own work was to turn around and help them promote theirs. Although I do not have the time to read through the myriad of tweets that come to my feed, I can make the time to help those who honor me with their time.
I find myself visiting Twitter more now to interact with other authors and with readers of my novels. Those interactions always put a smile on my face. I am grateful to have found the groups above who have made me feel a part of a loving family of authors who help one another succeed.
I will continue to help promote those who tweet and retweet about my novels because they help me not have to bring attention to myself. I just wish Twitter would separate a person's tweets from the tweets that they repost because many of these authors love bringing light on other authors, and I sometimes scroll for a VERY long time to find a self-promoting tweet. lol! Guess I'm not the only one who struggles with self-promotion. ;-) Luckily, none of us struggle alone; we have one another to shine light on new authors and new novels so that the lovers of the written word can stay happy. :-)
P.S. If any of you know the Twitter Gods, it would be GREAT if they could take their tabs on the profile page from Tweets|Media|Favorites and revise them to Tweets|Retweets|Media|Favorites. :-D