General

“Elevator Pitch” Time

In whatever I do, I am not particularly good at “boostering” myself. I just don’t do that very well. I never really have.

I was raised not “to push” myself at people – doing that was deemed, well, rude. At school or at work, I have usually been the one who quietly just got on with a task. I was never the “Hey, look at me!” type.

[Photo by me, 2019.]

I remember in graduate school a fellow student after a seminar turned to me and said, “You never say very much, but when you do say it you get right to the point.” I’ve found that life-long approach of mine, though, doesn’t really work well in the writing game. For authors, reticence and not setting off “bells and whistles” are not well-rewarded.

But there is another line, too. I find, for example, I do now and then lose patience with writers I see on Instagram over-shoving their book covers at me. When I’ve seen the third version of one in two hours, I may want to comment: “Okay, yeh, I get it: You wrote a book. Tell me what really makes your story interesting and worth purchasing it…” I think too that, if I’m annoyed and I know what they probably went through in writing it, what might non-writers seeing it over and over feel like?

However, when a relative – the same one I’d mentioned last week – messaged me yesterday through Instagram that she wanted me to suggest which of my novels she might read first, I had no choice really. I had to talk about them directly

[Screenshot of my Instagram messages of yesterday.]

It became somewhat personal after that for a bit. (“Helen” is my wife.) That relative’s brother had died very young. (In fact, he had been born the same year as I was.) I have deleted that part of our exchange.

Suddenly, there was no escape. “Elevator Pitch” time (Insta-message-typos included):

[Screenshot of my Instagram messages of yesterday.]

Despite having been a university lecturer, I am somewhat more of an “introvert” than an “extrovert.” (For instance, I have a “classic” greater introvert tendency in that I don’t like speaking on the telephone. I recall once having a job interview by phone; it was a nightmare. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get the post. If I could do everything by email or online, I probably would.) I don’t mind speaking in person. But I would much rather communicate by writing a message than by picking up a phone.

Which, I suppose, works for me in this singular sense as a writer – a preference for writing. So, having answered her, I awaited her response:

[Screenshot of my Instagram messages of yesterday.]

As an author, what you really need are others to talk about your books on your behalf. Good word of mouth – both literally as well as online – is a writer’s best “ambassador.” Talking about your writing yourself too much as a writer is, to me, what a bore does; but it is also understandable why so many on social media come close to becoming one of those.

This blog – all written and run entirely by me – is an accurate expression of who I believe I am as a writer. Here of course I feel free to mention my writing and the books a lot because that is why I am here and visitors quickly discover that. If I am discussing my writing in some detail (as I did yesterday), I do try at least to frame what appears within some wider context. The book covers are in my sidebar and their details are easily clickable if anyone wants to find out more about any of them (including an Amazon sample).

On this blog I try simply to be seen, explain what my writings are, and if someone is interested they might choose to read them. If they aren’t interested, they won’t. It’s pretty straightforward.

Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂

2 replies »

  1. Ugh. Same! I have always assumed we are part of the same generation. If not, sorry to insult you, lol. Anyway, I think the whole “children should be seen and not heard” was considered proper child-rearing at that time. I have often stood by saying nothing when I’ve been treated wrongly or unfairly. Consequently, I’ve tried to raise my daughter to always speak up—respectfully—but to speak up as the word “welcome” is not written on her back. All that rambling aside, for what it’s worth and in my inexpert opinion, I think you do a lovely job of marketing. There is an influencer on LinkedIn that I respect and admire by the name of Bruce Kasanoff. One of his books is entitled “How to Self-Promote Without Being a Jerk” that features chapters and subchapters with titles like, “Be Generous,” “Help this person,” “Promote others online,” and “Really listen.” These titles speak for themselves, and I’m sure you get the gist of what his marketing plan is all about. You seem to follow a similar course of action, and at the end of the day, helping, listening, and occasionally promoting ourselves are all good things we can feel good about. Sorry for this endless response, and as your texting fan so aptly states, “If I get to be too much of a PIA just block me.” 🙂 Have a lovely day, Robert!

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    • Ha! Very good. You aren’t getting blocked either!😂 I just try to do the best I can. I like the Golden Rule notion of “branding.” If I like what I see someone else does I try to emulate it insofar as it fits with my own comfort level. If I find it a turn off, I assume others do too, and just try to avoid doing the same. But I would never openly disagree with anyone else for what they do for themselves as writers because there is no one way to do it.

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