Monday, June 02, 2008

Blow That Horn!

By C. Lynn Beck
© 2008

Humility is a virtue, right? We're taught from the time we're young to act with meekness, to downplay our strengths, and practice self-effacement.

"You did a great job," a teacher, parent or friend might have told us.

We probably smiled, blushed, and said, "Aw, shucks, it was nothing."

Then, one day, we became writers and with a little luck, had a book or story published. Now, suddenly, we're supposed to banish the, "Aw, shucks," and toot our own horn.

Wait, that's not quite right. We aren't supposed to toot our horn ... we're expected to blare it over a loudspeaker, from a van decorated with our pen name and book cover.

It's a difficult task to accomplish when we've applied the lessons of meekness for most of our lives. It's a hard act to balance, with humility weighing on one end of the scale and self-promotion on the other. Many of us feel uneasy ... embarrassed ... and haven't a clue how to start tooting our own horns.

There is an important first step. It actually starts from within, rather than without. We need to give ourselves a little pep talk, with a reminder that humility and self-promotion can co-exist in an author's soul. We need to tell our consciences that we are promoting our plots and characters, not extolling our own personal virtues. We must free ourselves from the idea that we are conceited if we mention our work, and let go of the thought that others have to be the ones to point out that we've written something worth reading.

And when we've done that, the thought of self-promotion will no longer cause the discomfort it once did.

Drop off a comment and tell me what you find the hardest about self-promotion. And then check back next week, when I'll give tips and suggestions to help you promote your work.


C. Lynn’s other work:
Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers, "Horse on Lap"
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann, "Priming the Pump, pg. 79
Newspaper Column
Ensign Magazine, Dec 2007-Q&A
2007 League of Utah Writer's Award-Historical Fiction Website

What books C. Lynn recommends:
You Know You're a Writer When ... by Adair Lara
The Writer's Book of Hope by Ralph Keyes
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)

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3 comments:

Anna Maria Junus said...

I find it hard to convince publishers or agents that I've written the next great book.

Keith Fisher said...

Excellent job. I am plagued with this affliction. even when I won competitions I would hav the awe shucks attitiuce.

Connie Hall said...

You have written a great blog, but still have not convinced me to toot my own horn. It took me over 60 years to get this way. I wonder if it'll take me 60 more to do it your way.