I Hate My Shameless Self-Promotion

I have mentioned this before, in this column, to friends, in erotica writing classes I come to teach, commiserating with my bestie, fellow fantastic naughty scribe, M. Christian (who also happens to be my co-host on the podcast Licking Non-Vanilla); I am very uncomfortable with self-promotion. Yes, I just ‘dropped’ the name of the podcast, but you have no idea how it pained me to do so and how I’ve come to regard lots of my writing across the web, even that which I am paid to do, as falling a little too close to shameless attention-getting.

Still, we all do it, don’t we? Or we should. Right?

Nobody is going to champion your work like you, no matter the work you do. If that work is contingent upon your customer’s taste (as opposed to someone buying insurance, which they usually need and pick a carrier or agent who can offer them the best price), then the maker of the product (in my case, the product is words on a page) is at the mercy of the consumer/client/audience liking (or not) that product from a subjective assessment. Yes, we are told repeatedly that criticism/rejection is just personal opinion, take of it as we may anyone’s particular like or dislike, still losing a reader or even a writing job can rankle one deeply. 

And one needs to build a thick skin for the game.

In building this thick skin, one is also advised by writers/PR people/and just plain folks smarter than me to self-promote any chance you can. And therein, as we know from Hamlet, “lies the rub.”

In my case, I think my aversion to self-promotion comes from the fact that for many years of my life, mainly my brash and wild 20’s, I was a performer. I fronted a five-piece band that performed music I wrote and did my best to present a ‘show’ replete with costume changes, ribald and sardonic patter, and not a fair amount of big hair waving (yes, my neck was killing me 24/7). I was loud, ‘out there,’ pushing the band’s brand way back before the Interweb was a place one could get seen and heard on (it didn’t even exist way back then), self-promoting wherever I could lay my stank and ever-expanding ego. It was fine for a guy in his mid-20’s, ‘young, dumb and full of come.’

These days, all the yawping I see across the web, Instagram posts, tweeting and twatting infinitum, shameless self-promotion at every quarter makes me run screaming from the din. Certainly too long in the tooth now, all but completely jaded and seeing less and less of a reason for any of this as I am, I am caught between having to push my ‘stuff’ and damn well finding it seemly to do so. Sure, I love me a good prostitute, and I’ll entertain anybody asking me a question pretty much about anything. But I’m just not so comfortable talking about myself or my writing.

But again, I know I must if I want to get some traction, gain/keep an audience/make a living.

Chris and I say this all the time (yes, on our podcast Licking Non-Vanilla, which you can hear @ Licking Non-Vanilla), one must choose the platforms (or not) that work best for them. I can’t tell you that you must make a website landing page and pepper it with links to your work (I do not have a website for my work, had one for my music, which I have since taken down and even now am struggling if I want one for my writing) or get yourself up on Twitter. I don’t know what will work for you, what you will be able to stomach, and even if anything, at all, in modern self-promotion, even works these days.

All I can advise is, think hard and long about what you might be able to stomach and move forward slowly, always knowing that at any moment you might come to hate yourself for all the ego you are displaying or come to love yourself even more.





Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here