I want to share a story about Eric the bank teller.
Eric works for a Big Important Bank and, as soon as he became a teller, he immediately took it upon himself to share that information at every available opportunity. “Hi,” he’d say, and hand you business cards (that he’d made himself at his own expense). “I’m Eric, a bank teller at BIB.”
He worked his job into every single conversation we had. “There’s shrimp on the menu? The other day at BIB, I heard our loan officer saying he’d tried some shrimp!” And he loved nothing more than associating himself with BIB’s hierarchy. If you complained about a customer service problem at BIB or wondered about one of their services, he’d place a sweaty hand on your shoulder and lean in to speak to you in a conspiratorial tone. “I’ll work on it for you,” he’d promise, as though he was going to march right into corporate and demand immediate recompense for your troubles.
That sort of blatant self-promotion, the relentless introduction of oneself as a brand, is enormously off-putting. It’s little wonder I tend to avoid casual conversations with Eric. And yet, as authors, it’s something we’re expected to do. We are the brand, and it’s up to us to promote ourselves.
That’s hard enough when you write romance. (“Like…romance?” people ask. “Like…bodice-rippers?”) It’s even harder when you write gay romance. (“No,” I have to explain earnestly. “Like…tunic-rippers. Like loincloth-rippers. Maybe.”)
So what’s an author to do?
What I’d really love to know is how you get your work out there to be seen and heard. How do you promote your writing? Is it a frustrating process for you? Easy? Embarrassing? How much time do you put in? And are there any tips and tricks?
Share them in the comments or on Twitter, or drop me a line here at the blog. I’d love to crowdsource this and come up with a list of workable strategies for niche authors or fledglings who are just starting out.