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  • The Salonniere: Are You A "Self-Promoter"? Take My Quiz and Find Out!
The Salonniere: Are You A "Self-Promoter"? Take My Quiz and Find Out!
Written by
The Salonniere
March 2010
Written by
The Salonniere
March 2010
Last week I declared my intention to engage our community in a discussion: Where To, She Writes? and raised a series of issues I wanted to share my thoughts on, and get your feedback about. The first had to do with what I often hear referred to on the site (in grumbling terms) as "self-promotion," which means different things to different people, but generally seems to refer to the act of pushing one's wares onto the members here without contributing much in return. Since our launch, many questions have been raised about where the line is between "self-promotion" (aka BAD) and sharing (aka GOOD), so I decided to compose a quiz that will test your self-promotion-sensitivity IQ. DISCLAIMER: I have never written a quiz before so forgive me if this one stinks. However I am quite confident that if you take this quiz, you will learn quite a bit along the way about what I think constitutes the best possible community behavior on She Writes, because (as you will see) it will be screamingly obvious. POP QUIZ: Are You A Self-Promoter or A She Writer Extraordinaire? Take This Quiz and Find Out! 1) How would you tell people about your blog on She Writes?: a) By cutting and pasting a generic message about it onto as many She Writes' members pages as possible, without spending enough time on any of them to recall a single one of their names. b) By joining the Blogging Group and participating in active discussion threads, linking to your blog there. c) By browsing the SEE WHO'S BLOGGING page, taking the time to read a few of your fellow She Writers blogs and commenting on them, and, better yet, by volunteering to be the Guest Curator of the Week for the Bloggers, Let's Make It Work! group, highlighting fellow She Writers' blogs and yours along the way. 2) If you had a writing workshop you wanted to let She Writers know about, would you: a) Upload the details to every possible place you can find on the network, including forums, discussion threads and group pages, without contributing anything other than your big ole ad to any of the above. b) Start blogging on your She Writes page and establish a reputation as a generous, committed teacher of writing, sharing what you know about writing with the group, and list your workshop in our new Listings section. c) Invite existing participants in your workshop to join you on She Writes, and put this platform to work by starting a private group for your students where you can share news, events and direct messages with She Writers who have opted-in to your updates. Invite other She Writers to join the group if they wish to find out more. 3) Somebody sends you a friend request on She Writes and later, in your She Writes inbox, you get a message from your "friend" about a recent publication of hers. Would you: a) Write back that you don't want to be "spammed" and unfriend the offending party. b) Open the e-mail, or not, with the understanding that She Writes is a professional network and you should expect to get news like this from your "friends," who are like Facebook friends, who will send you messages you can read or not read because you are a grownup and you can make decisions like that. c) Open the e-mail and follow the link, because lord knows it will soon be you who needs a little help from your friends. 4) If you have news to share on She Writes, would you: a) Send an e-mail to all your "friends" just like you did yesterday and the day before that and the day before that, solidifying your reputation as the She Writer who cried "news." b) Do a quick status update and leave a comment in our handy Member News section, to be included in the weekly Member News Roundup, organized and shared every Friday with the entire network by Julie Jeffs. c) Scan the "latest activity" feed and last week's Member News and reach out to fellow She Writers who have had news to share, take the time to read it, and then share your news with them, too. SCORING: Scoring is simple. If you answered a) every time, you are a self-promoter. Big time. If you answered b) every time, you get it. If you answered c) every time, I love you. Seriously. (Now you can see why I started She Writes—I could never have gotten the lucrative pop-quiz-writing gig at a women's magazine.) And I bet everyone else on She Writes loves you too. I chose to approach this with a bit of tongue-in-cheek because it's a sensitive subject, and I think it's a particularly vexed one for women, who are often deeply uncomfortable with the very notion of promoting themselves, and, I believe, suffer for their aversion. So let me be clear—She Writes is ABOUT empowering its members to connect, share their news, and widen their networks and audiences. Everyone here SHOULD promote their writing—but they should also share their support, their encouragement, their knowledge, their attention and their time, certainly if they expect anyone to grant a portion of those same precious things to them. There are no rules for behavior here aside from the obvious: namely, don't be abusive. There are no rules largely because I think that the members who give the most to this community are the members who will get the most from it, and that those who don't, won't. Crazy little thing called karma. It packs a powerful punch in this new, hyper-linked world. And I kinda like it. Just think: less than a year ago, I was a midlist writer with one book to her name who had a case of writer's block so bad she couldn't write a short story and was seriously contemplating white wine at nine o'clock in the morning. And now here I am writing to all of you, nearly 8000 of you, because I decided that the best possible kind of platform wasn't the kind publishers wanted me to build for my first book, the kind that says BUY MY BOOK and little else, the kind that is all about self-promotion. Instead I decided to build a new kind of platform, based on one true thing: the more I give, the more I get.

Let's be friends

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  • Carmen Myrtis-Garcia

    Thank you for this perspective on what it truly means to promote ourselves and our talents and work----it is in giving that we receive. I am currently reading The Magic by Rhonda Byrne and this fits right in with the message that to those who give with a grateful heart, much more goodness and blessings will return to them. As for those who are selfishly focused on "what can I get out of it"--well, they don't normally get  much in return.    Even if we have only a  little time to contribute, even taking several minutes a day or a few days a week consistently, can encourage and bless others and will build momentum over time.  Thank you.

  • Carla Ann Waluck

    Thank you thank you thank you!  You my dear are inpiring to me to think outside the fricking box with regards to indie writing and marketing.  I am so in love with this site my husband gets jealous.  (seriously, when I am researching and writing he literally sticks his hand in front of my laptop to get my attention!) 

  • I get hives at the thought of self-promotion. Even though I love people. And I love talking about writing. And I love supporting other writers. And I love critiquing other writers. And I"m writing a literary novel, so I can't join Romance Writers of America or Cozy Mysteries Groups. Is there a Literary Writers of America? (I guess it would be playing drums in Amy Tan's touring band.) 

    I am also a deeply private person, which gets in the way of the idea of blogging. I am also stretched for time. Since I am emphatically more of a rewriter than a writer, I fear that blogging will steal time away from any writing time I have. I think maybe I will have to earn enough to hire someone to do all the crud work around my life so I have time to blog as well as write!

  • Diane L. Fowlkes

    Kamy, so glad I finally started exploring SheWrites, the community of it, in earnest and found this early on. Now to figure a way to save it where I can return to it and re-read it periodically  to stay in sync. Thanks, Diane

  • Elizabeth G. Marro

    This is the first time I've seen these ideas spelled out so simply and in a way that reinforces the concept of sharing first. The quiz is a good reinforcer! I'm new to She Writes and this is the first place I stopped as I began to explore today. Thanks. 

  • Self-promotion (or sharing) is so hard for me.  My parents were really concerned about us kids getting "big heads" and they did a fabulous job of teaching us to be humble!  I've found the best thing I can do is promote others.  I never feel so uncomfortable when I'm telling the world how good someone else is as I do when talking about myself.  I'm hoping one of the results of networking will be that I'll meet others who will return the favor... and when I have something to brag about they can do my bragging for me.  And I'll brag about them...

  • Jennifer Worrell

    What a fantastic way to promote yourself as a writer--by giving back to the community! I so enjoy this site! Thanks for all your hard work!

  • Dianne Baines

    Good for you Kami! You say what so many of us want to. Cheers!

  • Dee S. White

    Your quiz questions had me chuckling.  Point well taken by all I'm sure.  Much thanks for starting this lovely network of women who love, adore and can't live without writing.

  • Great post.  I decided go all out and treat writing as my full-time job.  Networking is part of that job.  For me though, I can find myself exhausted from reading and responding to posts on this and other networking sites, that I have little time for writing my book.  Any suggestions on how to keep balance?

  • Kathy Brunner

    A great way to think about why we write and read for that matter. Kami, You are amazing...and this site is so true to the saying, "what you give away will come back to you many times over."
    Proof that the best form of getting the word out is sharing it with your sisters!

  • Renate Stendhal

    Funny and poignant as always, Kamy, and so right on and so hard to do! In addition to striving for c's and d's in this little classroom :), I am discovering a surprising and yet oh so obvious way of promoting self and friend at the same time: exchanging books! What delicious surprises fly in and out -- for very little expense.True knowledge is being exchanged in an intimate, personal way -- and, in the immense realm of the web, it' a reminder that SMALL can be beautiful!

  • Theodora Filis

    When I started reading your 'disclaimer', I began to chuckle, then I thought, at least she was brave enough to put it out there! Believing in what you 'put out there' is the key to self promoting. This is a great group. "Reaching out and accepting in return." Very nicely put Tinamarie!

  • Tinamarie Bernard

    LOVE this! The more you give, the more you get. It's really a universal law, and one you aptly describe here. So thank you for giving us all permission to self-promote in appropriate, caring SheWrites terms. Because, really, that is what friendship and social networks are for. Reaching out and accepting in return.

  • Jacki Zehner

    Kami I am embarrassed to say that I am not yet both learning from, and leveraging, the She Writes Platform. Your quiz really made me think and now I just have to find the time to explore. There is so much here! I agree the self-promotion thing is tough but it has to be a give and get type system for it to really work!

  • The Motivator

    Sweet post, Kamy. Very clever. Hey, I marked "C" most of the time, but I wanted a D--"none of the above." I tend to sit in my room and hope someone will find my work somewhere. I think I need a little sprucing up on technique, ay? But I''m pretty content with my process, and I'll promote my teaching and the SW studios unabashedly! I hope people join us over there in the classes. They're comfortable, comforting, challenging, and they keep you writing. Thanks again, Kamy!

  • Sharon Cathcart

    There is a part of me that finds this blog/post/quiz rather insulting. Each person finds his or her own way on a given website at his or her own pace. My personal belief is that our individual pages are there for the purpose of promoting our work, hence the "my page" thing. However, if someone is reading/lurking while they get the feel for a space, they should not be condemned for failing to do more than their comfort zone allows at that point. Most of the examples cited here are all well and good for those who have been part of a community for a while, but I suspect that newbies would find them off-putting.

    I am sure that everyone here means well and I am equally sure that, as people are human, missteps do occur. How about presuming the best of intentions from each person instead of providing a prescription for perfect behavior?

  • Marilyn Yalom

    Dear Kamy,

    I love what you are doing here. Self-promotion is a very tricky subject, and all of us who want to promote our books never know if we are doing too much or too little. But I agree with you whole-heartedly when you say: the more you give, the more you get. And you are certainly giving a lot!

    Love, Marilyn

  • Dory Adams

    Excellent post -- and great quiz questions to make your point! These are some tricky dance steps we have to learn. I would bet that most writers hate the self-promotion duties that now come as part of the territory of being a writer. By its very nature, writing is introspective and solitary, and it can be exhausting for someone who is used to working behind the scenes to suddenly have to step out front. It's sometimes easier to shine a light on another writer's work than on one's own -- and there are some wonderful writers here who do just that. It's all about balance . . .

  • Carol Bolt

    Thanks for this! We do have a great gift in this tool of the internet and networking sites. Now to learn how to use to for good... our own as well as others.

  • Julie Maloney

    Picking up on exactly what you're saying, Kamy: "Listening is the best gift we can give to one another." This is what WOMEN READING ALOUD is all about. Whenever I wonder if what I'm doing means something, I "listen" to the writers in the WRA workshops and I think...I'm with amazing women who write. You're doing something special. Sometimes we need to take turns and listen to others. Without this balance, the noise will get deafening. There is so much going on: so many writers to read, so many words to write. There's time for ALL OF US. Thanks for your leadership...and for the reminder.

  • Cathy Day

    For years, I wrote and submitted and rewrote and submitted in isolation, waiting (expecting) to be recognized. What I realize now is that it's important to be an "open node," not a closed one. I'm learning how to be a Good Literary Citizen in the 21st century. This blog post really helped me embrace this kind of paradigm shift.

  • K. A. Laity

    Excellent! We've all suffered from those spamming "friends"; but it's been a long uphill climb toward having the confidence to think it's all right to promote. It's all about the support: instant karma, indeed!

  • Indeed, I love you all. Not least because you've taken the time to read this post and respond to it so thoughtfully. I do very much want to help all of us promote our work more effectively, too, and someday I'd love to give everyone some kind of little badge or signature on the site that had a little icon of our books, etc. so that whenever we commented on things, people could go straight to a place to read or buy our work quickly and easily. But that's a technological challenge we aren't quite ready to meet yet. Lisa, I did relate to your experience, and I think it's wonderful that you pushed yourself to learn to pitch, good work! And Lauren, wow, buying your fellow She Writers' books is the absolute pinnacle of support and community here at She Writes. You rock. :)

  • Doreen McGettigan

    I love quizzes..and I think I passed. I love the idea of sharing and following the journeys that others have taken ahead of me. I found my way to this sight to be inspired and to learn. I look forward to the times when I will be able to inspire a few..