Sharing your light with the world is good, generous, and loving. Bragging is bad, thoughtless, and selfish.
What about promoting your work? That could go either way.
Which might explain why very few of us splash ads all over Facebook saying "If you only read one book this year, read mine -- buy it immediately!"
Such promotion is cringe-worthy
And rightfully so. But does this mean we shouldn't promote our work at all?
Maybe we should just leave it up to God?
There certainly ARE things better left up to God, but promoting books is more like making the bed or washing dishes...one of those pesky chores where the best we can do is keep Him in mind while slogging our way through it.
So with that in mind, how do you navigate the difference between sharing your book and boasting about your book?
After all, either way it's promoting. And choosing the right kind of promo is like choosing a best friend. Everyone has their own preferences and their own stories of success & failure -- often using the same techniques.
If your first thought is "I hate ALL kinds of promotion, but I know I've gotta do some if I want people to know about my books," good for you on recognizing the value of marketing. Given that it's my day job, I know how useful promo can be; but I also recognize it can be intimidating.
That's why it's important to find the type of promotion that best suits your personality. Because if it doesn't feel right for you from the very beginning, you need something you CAN feel okay about doing.
Otherwise promo will loom on the horizon as this gigantic chore that you'd rather skip in favor of writing other books (not a bad thing) -- or, even worse, it'll loom as this dreaded prospect which you'll wind up skipping and instead spend a lot of precious time feeling guilty (a very bad thing).
What works for you
Obviously that's going to depend on your own personality type. (No surprise there, right?)
We already know God has given each of us different gifts. Some people are great at honoring the beauty of each moment. Some people are great at making others feel loved. Some people are great at remembering what goes where when.
Some are good at making sour-cherry pie, which is a whole different topic.
But you probably have an idea of where your gifts lie. Not that you go around bragging about it, except maybe to your very best friend...still, you've noticed things you're good at.
Writing is very likely one of 'em; otherwise you wouldn't be interested in Seekerville. You also might be gifted at coming up with healthy recipes, or singing in the choir, or knitting fabulous scarves, or dozens of other things.
Those gifts are easy to identify, because they're external. Just like external conflict in a book is easy to spot, because it's visible to anyone with a sky-cam.
Internal? Not so much.
It's your internal gifts, though, which set up the kind of promotion you're best at. Are you well-organized? Are you quick-witted? A good listener? A loyal helper?
Each of those personality types, not to mention 30-some others, will be better at a different type of promotion.
Determining YOUR Type
There are all kinds of ways to do that, and you might've already done it in a psychology class or workbook somewhere. (After all, any of us writers who want to identify the personalities of our characters can easily use the same techniques on ourselves.)
Considering your type, what kind of "sharing" do you do?
Or, to put it another way: What are you good at sharing? Enthusiasm, time, plans, energy, memories, skill, tokens of appreciation? Whatever it is, it's something that comes naturally to you -- because, yes, it's part of your personality.
So when you think about promoting your book, keep in mind that your style of sharing will be different from anyone else's. Just like your style of writing is different from anyone else's -- no two of us would ever tell the story of, say, the fox and the grapes in exactly the same way.
That means there's a lot of room for promotion that not only fits your personality, but is actually JUST right for you -- because it reflects who you are.
Who You Are is already reflected in your books, so it makes perfect sense to let that shine through in your promotions as well. And if you're still thinking "ick, no, I don't want to promote my books," that's okay.
You don't have to.
However, if part of you has occasionally thought "even though my work would touch more people if I could do some kind of promotion, it's just so HARD" -- here's a way around that.
If you answer the question below and random-dot-org draws the virtual slip of paper with your name, you'll get some extra help with a free class on Promotion For Your Personality next month. (And if you win after signing up at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/PersPromo/info, you'll get a refund instead.)
This question is easy, because it won't involve any boasting about yourself and/or your books. Instead, share a few sentences about someone you admire.
What is it you admire about them?
It's always uplifting to read such things. And keep in mind as you write yours that somewhere, someday, someone could be answering that very same question about YOU.
So, even though you won't be sharing their answer just yet, have fun thinking of what they might say!
Laurie, betting you won't be surprised at how much easier it is to talk about other people's good qualities than about our own
Laurie Schnebly Campbell was thrilled when Missy invited her to discuss promotion with Seekerville writers, because people who appreciate the value of humility often find it difficult to share their work...even knowing it'll touch people's hearts. With a day job in advertising and a master's in counseling, she'll be guiding writers who want "Promotion to Suit Your Personality" from June 13–24 in the email class offered as today's prize.