Self-promoting without feeling as though I’m whoring myself out is akin to executing a flawless triple toe loop on thin ice. Yes, the Olympics are still on my mind, and no, I cannot execute a triple toe loop on thin, thick, or any other kind of ice. I’m lucky to simply escape the rink unbruised and unbloodied.
I talked a little about selling myself in my previous post, Cheese, Cars, and Stories, but today I encountered another example of how difficult it is to self-promote without coming across like an obnoxious twit when a college classmate was kind enough to point out that I might be exploiting a Grinnell alumni Facebook group by hoisting electronic billboards up to advertise my work. Already sensitive to the delicate line between self-promotion and guerrilla sales tactics, I immediately withdrew my latest post lest I alienate the very audience I was appealing to. Grinnellians, by their nature, stick together and look out for one another, and the last thing I’d want to do is come across as some brash, fast-talking literary pimp looking to make a quick buck. Especially considering how important my writing is to me. So, lesson learned. I won’t be trolling my alumni page, posting blatant sales pitches, anymore. I’m going to try switching off the red light now and then.
In today’s social media maelstrom, we’re all bombarded by near-constant Facebook updates, Tweets and who knows what else (I’m just barely figuring out Twitter…don’t get me started on other services like SnapChat and WhatsApp). These are incredible platform-building tools, but they must be wielded with care. When someone sees one of my updates, I don’t want their first thought to be, “Jesus…this guy again?” I want it to be, “Ooh! What new and exciting material does he have for me today?” How can I ensure that will happen? Well, I can’t, but I can give it a fighting chance by posting content people enjoy following and, even more importantly, by being myself.
Thank you to all of you who have already joined me on this journey. Your support helps keep me going and it’s difficult to express how grateful I am for it. I love writing because I love writing, but the idea that someone actually likes my work makes it that much sweeter.