Saturday, 23 July 2011

Self-promotion - how much is too much?

I was just going to make this a quick post to remind anyone who hasn't yet entered the competition on my website ( to win a signed book, that this is the last week before the competition closes. Just answer a simple question - the answer is on the website - and choose which book you'd like if you win. 'Simples' as they say!

But while I'm at it, I thought I'd also bring up the subject I've been discussing with my Facebook friends today - and which has also been a topic recently on the RNA members' forum. Self-promotion. Of course, you'll realise that the above paragraph is a form of promotion; I'm happy for lots of people to rush and look at my website, and in return I'm more than happy to give away a free book to the lucky winner. But if EVERY post I wrote on this blog - or everything I ever put on Facebook, or every time I commented on a forum or on anyone else's blog, was a blatant bit of promotion for my own books, it'd be too much. Well, it would, wouldn't it - you'd quite rightly all be sick of me! (And I hope you're not!).

But someone made an interesting point the other day, asking if continual postings about someone's own writing work are really any worse than continual postings about the 'minutiae' of life. You know the sort of thing - this isn't a criticism because I think we've all done it - a status update on Facebook saying you're going to bed now because you're tired, or you're going to have a glass of wine, or you've bought a new dress. Or writing blog posts about our cats, dogs, or (gulp!) grandchildren!

Some of us expressed a little concern at this point. Most of us have, as FB 'friends' (and I presume Twitter friends, although I'm still resisting having a Twitter account myself), and blog followers, etc, a mixture of 'real-life' friends, family, other writers, and readers of our books. So it's a tricky act to balance our posts. Of course we all want to share our writing successes and inevitable failures, but we don't want to come across as being self-obsessed or even writing-obsessed, unless promoting our writing is the ONLY reason we're on social networking sites. Equally, like anyone else we like to share snippets of our lives with family and friends, but don't want people who only know us as writers to think 'Who cares if you've got a new kitten or fancy a cup of tea!'

Too much promotion, being too much in-your-face, I think can be counter-productive. But perhaps too much 'wittering on' (as someone put it) can also make people stop reading your posts!

Well, I asked my FB friends to let me know what they thought about this whole issue, and I'm pleased to say the consensus is that people are generally happy to read the anecdotes about our everyday lives ('like we're all working in the same office and stopping for a natter' as one of my writing friends said!) and happy too to read the writing news but not non-stop posts of promotion, copying all our reviews for everyone to read, etc.

So I think we can all pretty much carry on as before (phew!) and with that in mind I'll just quickly let you know I've got a story in the People's Friend Summer Special out now! And my gorgeous new baby granddaughter will be two weeks old tomorrow and is doing fine. There - that's a bit of each for you! Now I'm off to put the kettle on ...


  1. Good blog, Sheila. I think I might do one on the same subject if you don't mind? Although I get so few comments on mine I don't think many people read it! And are we friends on Facebook? I shall look you up and find out.

  2. Thanks, Lesley. Of course I don't mind - I think the more we put these sort of discussions 'out there', the better! There are probably more people reading your blog than you think; not everyone who reads it, will make a comment or sign up as a follower. I'm going to pop over and take a look!
    Thanks for befriending me on Facebook too!

  3. Mostly I try and keep my posts on the subject of writing but sometimes the link is a bit tenuous. I try and balance it out with sharing my own successes, encouraging other writers and giving advice (for what it's worth). But I'm happy to hear about dogs, horses, grandchildren etc.

  4. Hi Keith. I think 'balance' is the important word - as everyone seems to be saying, newsy posts and discussion posts about writing, with just the occasional shout about our successes (if we're lucky enough to have any!)shouldn't upset anyone. Let's hope we're getting it right!