Like many things in life, writing is a roller coaster ride. But it’s a ride that most writers can manage by themselves, or with the encouragement of a small group of peers. The scarier roller coaster departs the platform after the book is written. This is the hell ride known as promotion.
Promotion is a huge, daunting monster you can’t work out in your own head while sitting quietly. If you are a low-key, quiet type of person, it can be difficult to even board this ride without lots of support. It’s important to have a few people who love you. It’s also good to have some people who like you.
The people who love you, a spouse for example, can help psyche you up for this ride that goes so much against your nature. They comfort you and coax you toward the car, then, when necessary, in the ultimate act of love, they give you a good shove into the seat and slap down the restraint bar over your arms. You know you need to do this, but it’s hard to overcome your nature. Only the most cherished loved ones will be there to tenderly ignore your screams of terror and lock you in before you can run away.
If you are that shy, quiet writer, do yourself a favor by marrying someone completely opposite from you. Find someone who likes to plan events, rocks social media, and has no qualms about tooting your horn for you, because face it, you’ve never been any good at tooting it yourself. Your better half makes it sound much more melodious than you ever did.
Do your best to make sure they love you, because they really excel at these things when their heart is in it.
If they are the best thing you’ve got going for you in life, they will also be the best thing you’ve got going promoting your books.
This crazy ride is also easier if you have people who like you. These are the people who show up to your signings and pay their hard-earned money for your books, not because they are sure you are this generation’s Steinbeck, but because they like you and they want to show you some support.
They get excited about having you sign their copies, not because your autograph promises to become valuable, but because your signature is a memento from that time when they watched you reach for the stars, regardless of how close you came to touching any sky.
I’ve always tried to be likeable to the people I know. This has paid off in the support I have received from them. I wonder what would happen if I had spent more time getting to know a larger group of people. But that’s where my nature limits me again. At least I didn’t spend my life pissing off my relatively small group, so I’ve got that going for me.
And that’s a good start.