Self-Promotion

Last week, I was standing in one of the six aisles of cat wet food at a PetSmart when I got a text from a friend of mine. He was asking me about my latest blog post. He was just curious to know how I was promoting myself. When he found out that I don’t do much, he asked if I’m just writing for myself. I told him that I am, that when I was focussed on my stats, I would get discouraged when I didn’t get the readership that I was hoping for. Now, I just try to focus on writing. If I can do that, I feel successful.

His blog does a lot better than mine. It’s led to speaking opportunities and invitations to contribute chapters to anthologies. His blog is working for him. He also promotes it.

I signed out of Facebook for the last time last summer. I haven’t missed it. Not once. In fact, I think I’m better off without it. I don’t do much on Twitter, either. I have an account but I forget about it too often. I check it regularly, though. It’s some sort of weird cognitive dissonance playing itself out through my social media feed. The same thing happens with Instagram.

I usually post something on my feed about a new blog post, but I never push it. After that one post, my advertising is done. I feel like that I’ve done all that I can do and now I must trust in the world to provide a readership.

My social media feed can go hours without changing. If it changes that frequently, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of content I need to sift through. I have a feeling that other peoples’ feeds are updated more frequently. They, too, are better at sifting through the noise.

E– also asked me why I don’t promote myself more. I went through my usual first-syllable-of-a-word-completed-with-groans-and-grumbles answer. She was looking at herself applying eyeliner, so I’m not sure how she responded. I wasn’t paying attention to my own answer.

Here’s the rub: I won’t get any sort of readership without some promotion, and I can’t rely on others to promote my own work. The world of social media has brought people more famous than me closer to their fans than they probably want to be. My level of fame necessitates that I put in some work.

But, I don’t want to respond to people on social media. I don’t even want to respond to my text messages. Emails collect. Voicemails exist. Mail is non-existent.

If I promote my work more, and more people actually start reading it, and more people start commenting on my work, and I get more notifications about activity on my site, and I feel compelled to respond, and I avoid responding for at least 24 hours so as not to seem too keen, and then I write another post and it starts all over again, and I lose track of where I started down this road, and it all becomes too much, and I find myself in a position where the end is too far out of sight, and I just keep writing and responding and writing more and responding more and then I get lazy and have to start the process all over again, and there was something else….

I want a readership. Obviously. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t write a blog. I’d write a journal. I’d keep notebooks full of private thoughts under my pillow. The reason I write on the internet is so that it can be read by other people. I want to get some recognition for the work that I’m putting out. I’d be lying if I said that there isn’t some aspect of my sense of pride attached to how well my blog does. When I see that the stats are higher, I feel better about myself. I feel more accomplished. Mostly, I don’t feel accomplished. Still, it’s those highs that I’m after.

But, I also want to appear humble and polite. I don’t want to annoy people with promotions of my own work. I don’t want people to think that I think my work is really good and that they should read it. They should have gotten to that conclusion by themselves already.

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