I discussed the mechanics of self-publishing in my previous article for FridayFlash DotOrg.
Now, I come to perhaps the most dreaded side of self-publishing – promotion.
Many aspiring writers find this excruciatingly hard. I can understand why. It takes them out of their comfort zones.
Writers are cerebral. We compose partly because we want to dwell in make-believe worlds – where people may be nasty or unpleasant, but our own imaginations can tame them.
Our characters are not a threat to our own psyches. They do not expose our self-delusions.
A nasty review or piece of commentary that takes a personal bent can be another matter.
Developing a thick skin is hard, but it does come with time. Once in place, the world becomes a different playground. Swimming through life with the carapace of a lobster opens up possibilities you may never have dreamed possible.
And remember that self-promotion has its rewards. It begins with the famous process referred to as platform building.
As a writer, you have a brand to promote. The social media is a huge force for good in this effort. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Goodreads and many other sites are where you can display your talent and try to disperse your product.
At first, it may be especially hard to “expose” yourself. Try switching your perspective. For those of us who are shy most of the time, I often give the following advice: Think of it as adopting a persona. It is you but in a different form. It is a public you. It is a “you” with a slightly different face.
I do not recommend straying very far from the essential “you,” since that can lead to being tied up in knots and not knowing how to react in certain situations.
But a hybrid-you or an acting-you who needs an audience is not a bad thing. To your own surprise, you may even find you like it.
What is not hard is to join chat groups in social media and talk about things you’re interest in.
Some of the best ones on Twitter are #writechat, #storycraft, #amwriting, #litchat and #journalchat.
Posting a tweet that includes one of those hashtag (#) designations will immediately place you in the company of like-minded individuals.
Nor is it hard to appear as a guest on a blog-talk radio show, if you are lucky enough to be invited.
Sure, there is some nervousness at first. Stick to honest answers and your own personal experience. No one can ask for more.
Yes, there may be criticism to deal with, or bad reviews, or plain indifference.
So here is another aspect of self-publishing that is super hard – maintaining perseverance – especially when the knocks can come from so many different directions.
I am still confronted on an almost daily basis, especially in my business dealings, with individuals who say they cannot be bothered with Twitter or Facebook. They consider it a waste of time.
After all, how much can one really convey in 140 characters, for example? This argument ignores the URL linkage factor to articles and blog pieces of any length.
I like describing Twitter in a special way to my writing friends. In essence, it is the largest magazine rack in the world.
How do magazines advertise their stories? In short blurbs on their covers. It is a method with proven effectiveness in gaining readership. Rarely are those blurbs more than 140 characters long.
So drum up interest for your writing by posting links to your stories that appear in their complete versions at your blog site.
Let me offer a final tip. I’ve found the URL “shortener” at the popular web site, Stumble Upon, to be an effective way of gaining more “hits.”
That is it for now. I am going to stop here and pick up the thread in future entries.
~ Alex Carrick