You wrote. You edited. You rewrote. You submitted your manuscript. Finally, the acceptance letter arrived. You celebrated. You high-fived. You fist-bumped. Then, reality hit. You now must promote your work. Before you retreat under your bed in terror, before you have an anxiety attack over the awkwardness of writing and talking about yourself in third person, check out these 20 steps for easing your transition from introverted writer to marketing maniac.
1. Forget that fear is primal. Forget that even the wild, magnificent cheetah is vulnerable to fear. In fact, cheetahs face competition with other cheetahs every day, as well as predation from larger animals and persecution by mankind.
2. Compose a press release about your work. Include nice graphics. Be sure to include contact information.
3. Remember that you are as magnificent as the cheetah. You type fast. You write furiously.
4. Send the press release to local media. Be sure to look up specific names of contacts and address them personally.
5. Embrace your spots, although they may offend some and turn off others. Some folks like plain cats, and you can’t change that.
6. Send an email to every close contact announcing your new work.
7. Keep telling yourself that change can happen.
8. Post your news on Facebook and Twitter.
9. Do not equate your self-worth to the promotion process. Keep a healthy distance when you write about yourself in third person. Don’t let you get in the way of you. Or her.
10. Made a video interpretation of your work using animoto or some other free video creation service. People like pictures.
11. Tell yourself everything’s going to be okay.
12. Share photos of your cover design on Instagram. Remind yourself constantly that people like pictures.
13. Chant, “I can write solely for my own sake!” 20 times while looking in the mirror.
14. Create business cards and — big step alert! — actually list “writer” after your name.
15. If you’re feeling low, change something up. Leave the computer for a while. Get a haircut. Haircuts always make you feel better.
16. Chant, “I don’t need anyone’s approval. I’m a freaking cheetah! And I have great hair!”
17. Prepare your freezer with three tubs of Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream. Cherry Garcia™ and That’s My Jam™ soothe the savage beast.
18. Call local bookstores to book future readings.
19. Pat yourself on the back for putting yourself out there. It takes guts to do what you do. And it really takes guts to promote it.
20. Remember, like the cheetah, every facet of your anatomy has evolved: to ward off, to emerge, to fight. You got this.
Kathleen Nalley has been hustling to pre-sell her latest collection of poems, American Sycamore, from Finishing Line Press, before the November 28 deadline. #20 above features a line from the title poem of the collection (subtle, huh?). She is the author of Nesting Doll, winner of the S.C. Poetry Initiative Prize, has published in various journals, and was recently featured in The Bitter Southerner. She has an MFA from Converse College. No surprise: she wants you to reserve your copy of American Sycamore by visiting finishinglinepress.com, clicking on the “Preorder Forthcoming Titles” tab on the right, and scrolling down until you see American Sycamore.