Tag Archives: Self-promotion

Put your heart away, kid. You’re getting blood everywhere.

My friend and fellow writer, Andre L. Davis*, is a self-described recovering marketing professional. For the past two+ years, we’ve enjoyed frequent meetings of the minds around town, talking shop over dinner and beers at some of our favorite local hangouts. It’s particularly fun since Andre and I, though we both fall under the sci-fi banner, write completely different kinds of sci-fi. He’s into epic, sweeping stories that span interstellar distances, pitting one civilization against another. Dark, urban biopunk is more my speed. But for both of us, the goal is the same: to write excellent stories that speak to you, that sink their teeth in and refuse to let go. And just to complicate matters, we must then, as relative unknowns, figure out how to get your attention, how to stand out amidst the constant bombardment of “Buy me! Read me! Try me!” messages that saturate our lives every day. It’s like trying to be heard over the roar of a jet engine at full throttle.

Can you hear me now?

Can you hear me now?

For better or worse, I’ve always been a wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve kind of guy. Sometimes this gets me into trouble, like when my mouth starts running a step or two ahead of my brain or when I cave to some irrational, passion-fueled fancy, but by and large, I’m grateful for this trait. The highs and lows are beautiful yet brutal, providing perfect fodder for my work. And because I lead with my heart, wearing it around for everyone to see – and especially because I’ve always been like this – I think sometimes I forget that not everyone feels the same.

 heart on sleeve

So here I am: inexperienced, zealous beyond belief, SHOUTING over the jet roar as my heart throbs wildly on my sleeve. I know I’m spewing my mind’s bloody gore every which way as I try to simply. be. heard. but I hope you’ll excuse me; I’ve never been any other way.

Thus far, I’ve spent a lot of time writing here (and on my Facebook page) about who I am, where I come from, and what I’ve experienced these past three years as I’ve written my fingers to the bone, chasing my artistic ambitions. But who really cares about all that? My family and friends, sure, but they have a vested interest. They’re biased. What about other writers? I know I like reading about the writing process, about what others experience as they toil away behind the scenes, but in all likelihood that’s because I, myself, am a writer. I geek out to that stuff. The typical person, though, who ekes out a little slice of quiet time each day to read, probably doesn’t care so much about how my latest draft is coming along or how many rewrites I’ve completed. They just want a riveting story to read or a new nugget of knowledge to absorb. As for all this “writing process” mumbo jumbo, that’s all well and good, but – ahem – when can we read the story? When are you going to give us something juicy to chew on? Please and thank you.


Last week during a discussion about this very topic, Andre (in his recovering-marketing-professional wisdom) suggested that I spend some time curating interesting content on my website and Facebook page. Links to photos, articles, and stories that I find fascinating, funny, or just a pleasant diversion from a day otherwise occupied by routine. The rationale? If I, as a writer, science fiction fan, and lover of all things science, find these topics of interest, other people who share my interests will, too. That builds value in my brand, my name, my presence. I’m providing something that people wish to consume, which is exactly what writers (all artists, for that matter) must do.

With Andre’s advice in mind, I’ve already started revamping my Facebook page. Within the past week, I’ve shared at least half a dozen links that will help give you some idea what interests me and what you can expect from me. Eventually, you’ll be able to step back and see how all these little snapshots fit together to form a cohesive picture, a mosaic of my mind.

Of course I’ll still post updates about my writing milestones, but that won’t be my sole focus. I’m going to tuck my heart away for a little while in order to give you a glimpse of my mind.

Hope you enjoy the view…

* For more information about Andre and his work, check out his website and follow him on Facebook.

(Roxanne) You don’t have to put on the red light…

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. 

Photo: Robert Deutsch USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Robert Deutsch USA TODAY Sports

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.