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.
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…
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):
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:
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. 🙂