Self-promotion can be self-defeating

I spent two full days at Frolicon promoting my books. I had a table all to myself in a fairly well-trafficked area, and I waved hello or said hello to many, many people. Some of them stopped by to talk, or to take some of my flyers. I did sell a few books, too, but I was hoping that the people who took my flyers would consider buying books as well.

In the week since Frolicon, I’ve sold one book.

Now, I admit, some people are Kindle Unlimited subscribers, and I have gotten a few hundred page reads since the convention (which does count), but I’d love to do more sales.

Self-promotion is hard for a lot of writers. Many of us are introverts who don’t like talking about ourselves. It takes almost all of my creative energy to sit down and write blog posts, check Fetlife, check Twitter, and do my other self-promotion stuff, and by the time I’m done with that I no longer care about actually doing any writing.

Which is self-defeating.

In my classes at Frolicon, I was asked for ways to overcome writer’s block, and one of my suggestions is to do your writing early in the day (whatever time is early for you, whether you wake up at six, nine, noon, or whenever). That way you still have all your mojo and you (hopefully) haven’t wasted it on self-promotion or other social media. Once you’ve done your writing for the day, however much writing that may be, then you can start promoting yourself. Not only will you be on a roll from doing the writing, but if you peter out doing your self-promotion, that’s not nearly as bad as petering out before you start writing.

The hardest thing about writing is writing. Might as well give yourself every advantage.

Oh, and to get back to my original point: when you give away dozens of flyers and talk to dozens of people, it can be extremely demoralizing to get no results. But I’m going to get back out there — I’m going to Frolicon 2022, and I’ll have a new book (and maybe a new novella) to talk about. Maybe I’ll have better luck then.

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