Friday, May 23, 2014

Putting Your Name On It

By Sarah Reichert

What is that strange banging sound?  Oh, that’s my knees, knocking together. 

You see, tomorrow is my very first book signing. (Old Firehouse Books in Downtown Fort Collins, 2:00 until 3:00 in the afternoon, be there or…be someplace else).  People who have read my book, but don’t know me, will have a face to connect with the writing.  Or a face to connect with the rotten tomatoes they smuggle in. 

It can be hard to stand up for our art.  Let me rephrase; it’s hard for me to stand up for my art.  Because I know there are far better writers out there.  Because, when I read my stuff, the errors glare at me from the page.  And because I often forget that no one else is privy to the constant barrage of self-doubt and ego-knocking that goes on in my own mind. 

Self-promotion is selling yourself, and years of work, to the masses.  It’s taking time, every day, to remind the public of what you’ve created.  It’s my least favorite part of being an independently published author.  I always feel like a shady, snake-oil salesman, parking my gypsy wagon on the side of the road.  “It will change your life kid, and the first one is (sort of) free!”

Self-promotion is running your own business.  You are proving your investment in yourself and your product, by throwing it out into the world in as many different ways as you can imagine.  (Have you purchased your own Fixing Destiny coffee mug?  The ghost appears when you fill it).  

How do you convince others to want to read your work, when you know it pales in comparison to the great writers of our time?  The answer is simple. 

Stop comparing yourself to the great writers of our time.

The world’s already had a Steinbeck.  Lord knows we don’t need another Hemingway.  People want a story that they can read and enjoy, that takes them away from the scuffle of life.  And don’t sell short that your story could affect someone’s life in a positive way.

If you’re a writer, and you love what you do, then you should sit at a table with copies of your book, tell people why it’s a story worth reading, and then put your name on it.  Then, you should go out to Elliot’s for a filthy martini and enjoy the weight lifted from your shoulders…until the next book signing, at least.

What do you love about self-promotion?  What do you hate?


Jenny said...

I hate everything about self promotion, but I love this post! Take a deep breath, quiet your knees, and have a great time tomorrow. I'll see you there!

RichardK said...

I'm an attention hog, so self-promotion doesn't bother me. For example, I'm okay promoting "Coffee Cup Tales" in these comments without feeling guilt. Well, I do feel some angst that I'm not promoting "Paradise Not Quite Lost" coming out on June 17th.

It's part of the process of an independent publisher. You have to find a balance that makes you happy.

Sarah Reichert said...

Thank you Jenny! I look forward to seeing you! Rich, I could take pointers from you--very smooth, my friend, very smooth :) If you need someone to review your work for the Coloradan, I'd be your gal.

Kerrie said...


Love this post and I love the fact that despite your fears, you got your book out there AND set up a book signing! Two thumbs up to you and I look forward to buying my copy tomorrow.

p.s. If you need a filthy martini buddy, look no further.

Dean K Miller said...

Sarah: You'll amaze everyone there (including yourself)with your style, grace and pride in standing up for your art (and you're standing up for all the others still too afraid to do so!)

Hope to make it by!

Congrats on your book.

Suzette said...


RichardK said...

Sarah, I can swap books with you tomorrow at Firehouse if you're interested.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good for you, Sarah, for putting yourself out there. It gets easier after you've done it a few times.

My favorite part of promotion? I guess that would be the online stuff. Least favorite--solo book signings. I like doing team and group signings where there are lots of people to talk to during the inevitable slow periods.

Anonymous said...

The fun part about marketing is putting together the press releases and other promotional materials. The challenging part is being ignored by the press. However, now that I'm no longer a family caregiver on top of being a writer, I can be more proactive in the marketing of my third book, That's Life: New and Selected Poems, due out in August by Finishing Line Press. I'll have more information about the book on my blog by Tuesday. Go to You can pre-order the book at

Sarah Sullivan said...

Good for you Sarah!!! i live in Montana otherwise I would have been there! What a great post, funny, poignant and genuine. I think you are on your way to great success!

Shirley Drew said...

Congrats, Sarah! Also, the thing that scares me about self-promotion is the time it would take away from writing. The thing I hate about self-promotion is...everything else. But I do understand the necessity.

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