Toot Toot — Or, My Least Favorite Part of the Job

I love writing. When the ideas pop into my head. When I get a sentence just right. The editing. The rewriting. Days of daydreaming. Research.

I love my job.

Well. Most of it.

There’s one part that I don’t particularly enjoy. Marketing.

See, my mama always taught me not to toot my own horn. Not to brag about myself or my accomplishments. She also taught me not to beg.

Now, I’m a grown up. I’ve written two books that were published. I believe in both of those books. I really do. I’ve gotten really good reviews for both along with a few tepid ones (which is completely okay! My books aren’t everyone’s flavor). I believe that with each book I write, I’ll improve and mature.

This is my career.

So, why do I get a funny feeling in my tummy when it comes to marketing? To selling these books? Well, for a few reasons.

1. I don’t want to brag. Telling people to buy my books feels an awful lot like telling them how awesome I am. I’m not comfortable with that.

2. I don’t want to annoy anybody. If all I do is tell people to buy my books, I’ll end up being a spammer. Nobody wants to be a spammer. They’re like the mosquito of the internet.

I’ve struggled with this part of my publishing career. I ignore that funny feeling in my tummy and push through.

Then, yesterday, I read an article on Donald Miller’s Storyline blog. Then, my friend Paul (who is really named Nathan…but I’m so scatterbrained I decided to rename him) sent me the link to that same blog post. It really made me consider a few things about marketing/self-promotion.

1. These books aren’t all mine. They belong to me, yes. But also to my family who supported me through the writing. To my publisher (WhiteFire Publishing) who took a risk on me. My editors who spent time teaching me how to be a better writer. They belong to my readers who have invested time and emotions in their reading. I owe it to all of them (and all of you) to really get my stories out into the world.

2. Writing is my calling. I feel deeply that writing is my calling. That God has given me this ability for a reason. Part of that calling is (gulp) getting the words into the hands of readers.

3. In order to keep publishing, I need to keep selling. Publishers and editors perk up their ears when they hear about sales an author is able to make. They love hearing that good authors are successful marketers. It’s essential to my future that I sell LOTS more books.

4. I want this to be a source of income. I work very hard to write my books. Very hard. I put in long hours. And, as it is right now, I don’t even make minimum wage (that’s some raw honesty for you, folks…and I’m not alone. Most authors are in the same hole-ridden shoes). Marketing is how I can make more money so that I can contribute to my family, even in a small way.

So…

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20 thoughts on “Toot Toot — Or, My Least Favorite Part of the Job

  1. I so, so, so agree with you, Susie. Love to write. Love to edit. HATE to market, because it’s counterintuitive for most of us. Tell everyone you’re wonderful? No, thank you. But, I will tell everyone I love your first and have bought your second so that it’s on my TBR pile! Tooting for you!

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  2. Susie, I don’t think anyone could ever accuse you of being a “bragger” or a “spammer”.

    Fact: BOTH your books are so so SO very good that I’ve heard them more than once (okay, more than twice). I’ve gifted your books to a ton of people and THEY love them, too.

    I’m gonna start using Dorie’s method on you, every time you say a bad thing about your writing, its gonna cost you a quarter!

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  3. You do NOT toot your own horn but I have to say I have certainly say I’ve tooted your horn lately. Get busy writing another book!! You are amazing!

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  4. Beth Susie can’t afford a quarter she’s writing for minimum wage! Just kidding, oh Susie, your brilliant so don’t worry about it, being humble isn’t the same thing as pretending your not brilliant.

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  5. As a fellow writer I can identify with every single thing you’ve written in this post. I struggle with the same things. Marketing is a beast but it is not bragging when you are offering something valuable to people. We just have to keep reminding one another of that truth. 🙂

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  6. Oh, I am soooooo there with you! Hate it, hate it, hate it! I do now have an assistant who is shouldering a large percentage of the marketing burden for me, and I appreciate her so much. But I still have to do much of it. I don’t really know any author who really likes marketing. Most of us would rather be at our computer making up stories than selling them. If you find any way around it, please let us know!!

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  7. If it’s any comfort, I’m more than happy to market your books FOR you, because I really believe in your writing, Susie! But I know what you mean. I grew up in the South and being a braggart is sort of the worst thing possible–I’m still repelled when I sense a lack of humility in people (although with online interactions, it’s hard to tell where people are really coming from).

    But somewhere along the way, I realized as a writer (especially an indie) I could either be invisible to readers, or I could do everything in my power to get the word out on my books, which of course I believe in (we all believe in our own books, I hope!). So there ya go–humility is still there; God definitely keeps me in check. BUT I’m giving it all I’ve got. You have wonderful books–often the best thing is to let the good reviews speak FOR you. Just know plenty of people believe in you and when you give us a heads-up, we’re happy to spread the word for any promotions you’re running. That’s what loyal readers do! 🙂

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