Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Pain of Self Promotion

Shameless self-promotion is tough for the British. We’re trained in self-deprecation, reprimanded for showing off.
Why is that? Is it just the British? And is it just my generation? Maybe younger Brits feel easier with blowing their own trumpets.
Anyway, I feel horribly embarassed about posting a few quotes from early reviews at the side of my blog. It hurts, really. I don't like it. It does not come naturally at all.I’m only doing it because, having cleared the hurdles of writing a book and getting it published, I’d really like to sell a few copies. Please forgive me.
And anyway I’m so completely thrilled and delighted to have a review from the amazing Caroline Lawrence, author of the Roman Mysteries series that I have to shout about it. Just a little bit.
Caroline, by the way, is almost unique among authors in that her books are equally loved by my two very different children. Only C S Lewis has achieved the same status. And when we played Trivial Pursuit it was fascinating to see how much they’d learnt from reading her series, set in Ancient Rome.
Anyway, one of the other reviews I quote has probably the best line ever written in the history of book-reviewing. I mean ‘this book has it all…talks of push-up bras’ is guaranteed to sell thousands of copies, don't you think? I certainly hope so.
The same 15-year-old reviewer – who I’ve never met, but I adore – said ‘I'd say it was well suited to early teens right the way up to middle-age, as even if you don't appreciate the character of Ty, you can possibly relate to his Mum.’ Ty’s mum, by the way, is 31. And he adds: ‘You might want to get a few copies, one for yourself and one for your kids.’ Yes! Please do! And don’t forget your friends, aunts, neighbours and boss.


  1. Grit your teeth, promotion has to be done and if I had a review from the fab Caroline Lawrence I'd be screeching it from the top of the Coliseum :-)

    Looking forward to reading When I Was Joe. We've got the same German publisher, btw.

  2. I guess it must be a bit weird promoting yourself. I mean you're not a PR girl, you're a writer. But hey, I say show those comments and reviews with pride. This is the time to enjoy the praise and get people reading your book.

  3. Tam - we'll have to get togather and promote eachother in German. Or even English...looking forward to reading My So-called Afterlife (by Tamsyn Murray, out February 2010, highly praised by The Bookseller) See how easy it is to do for other people..!
    Becky - I know, I know...but it feels like farting in public. Truly. Why though?

  4. I think it is all about setting a tone and I think that yours is absolutely fine. I'll be following carefully in your footsteps this year, anyhow!! And I certainly enjoy reading the reviews and hearing how a new author is progressing. Its all a big learning curve. Keep on keeping on Keren.

  5. Hehe, just saw my review at the side bar.

    Its basically me, fangirl-vomiting, all over the book.

    Self-promotion, hmmm. I'm not to sure where I stand with it right now.

    -Not that I even have to worry about that XD

  6. Infinitely prefer fangirl vomit to the real kind...had to clear some of that up at 6am this morning. Amna...it won't be long I suspect..

  7. Getting great reviews from teens is awesome! If they like your book, that's all that matters - well, that is, when you are a YA writer!

  8. Shameless self-promotion has never been a problem for this Englishman.
    You got some pretty amazing reviews on that Amazon link, Keren - you must be walking on air? I HATE you :-) No, really enjoying the book myself though I haven't picked it up since yesterday morning as we had Villa to destroy. My toes still haven't thawed.

  9. OMG Fish, I read that as 'Not really enjoying the book..' and nearly had a heart attack. Although of course you are allowed not to like it. Just don't tell me in a comment on the blog.
    Anyway, yes you are the king of shameless self promotion, especially the shameless bit, but anonymously. There is a difference.

  10. Once again, your post had me nodding a lot in recognition. The reviews also had me nodding, though. "All you want to do all day is read it" - I so agree with that.

  11. Hey! When did that get released? I thought it wasn't available until January!

    And, you're embarrassed by good reviews? Get used to it, judging by these, and shout them from the rooftops!

    Off to place my order now...

  12. Hi Marshall. Most of the reviews are from the Amazon Vine programme - a way in which publishers can generate early reviews by offering copies to Amazon's regular reviewers. The others are from early review copies. But yes, although it's not officially released until January 7, Amazon now has it in stock and is dispatching NOW.

    No embarrassment about good reviews - just the shouting bit!

  13. To have such a problem of being embarrassed by good reviews is a good problem to have. But I know what you mean about self-promotion. It's not easy saying anything nice about oneself. I do think it's an English issue and maybe it's a female issue too.

  14. a young conductor friend of mine was commiserating with me on a similar, 'not used to networking/self promotion' conversation. he said we (authors and musicians alike) have no choice but to present ourselves as clever, able, talented people if we want to get ahead. humility is fine until people believe you. it's the hardest balance to strike.

    but keren - i've read the book and all the good stuff is true. so no worries. promote away!

  15. My copy of When I Was Joe should arrive today - yay!