• The Salonniere
  • 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

The Women Behind She Writes

519 articles
12 articles

Featured Members (7)

123 articles
392 articles
54 articles
60 articles

Featured Groups (7)

Trending Articles

  • Miranda C. Spencer

    It's so true that karma is a boomerang. I try to keep a nice balance of announcements about me, me, me and helping and promoting others. Don't forget about Facebook and Twitter -- same issues apply.

  • Stacey Donovan

    Kamy, I hated tests but dug quizzes because they did pop out at you from nowhere... most however were not cut with humor, so thanks for the lessons as well as the laffs

  • Lisa Rivero

    I was thinking more about this post and how beneficial it is to have this discussion with mostly women. (Warning: I'm going to generalize here! Of course, there are many exceptions....)

    Self-promotion is different for women--we approach it differently, feel about it differently, perhaps do it effectively in different ways from men. Many of us were raised not to call attention to ourselves, not to get a "big head." We aren't used to tooting our own horns.

    When my first book was published, I had no idea how to go about promoting it. I remember after I did one radio interview, my publisher called and, while supportive, he said, "You really need to mention your book more, Lisa. Just say, "As I write in my book..." But I just couldn't say it. I was no better face to face. While I could speak about the book's topic with enthusiasm, I would leave boxes of books at the back of the room during talks, because I was too embarrassed to say I had them for sale.

    In fact, the marketing aspect of writing resulted in quite a lull after that first book, and it took a few years for me to be willing to dip into the publishing waters again, even though I had a contract for a second one. Part of it was my natural introversion. Part was a lack of confidence. Part was lack of skills.

    So, this time around, one of my goals is to speak about my own work with more confidence, to be a "good author" and not just a good writer.

    I went to a writers' conference recently with this goal in mind. I signed up for two pitch sessions. These were groups of 6-8 people led by an editor or agent, and each of us had 2 minutes to pitch our book and then time for group discussion. I signed up mainly to get practice in speaking one-on-one to someone about my writing, in a way that wasn't apologetic or self-deprecating. It was a wonderful experience! The feedback was amazingly helpful and encouraging, and, as an entirely unexpected bonus, I got an agent for one of my projects as a result! I would highly recommend it to anyone who can participate in one.

    At the conference I heard about the importance of platforms for the first time. Most of the speakers stressed how important it is to build a platform, and I wonder if, for women who are newbies to this idea of promoting themselves and their work, it's easy to go overboard with that idea or take it in a slightly wrong direction without even knowing we are doing so. "Platform" sounds so much more objective than "self-promotion." But we don't have a lot of experience in finding a good balance.

    Does anyone else relate to any of this?

  • Christina Brandon

    Great quiz! For me, it showed how I can be more involved with the She Writes Community. Thanks!

  • Sandi Johnson

    Oh wow. I get it! Woo-hoo! Now I just have to work on getting Kamy to love me.

    I kept thinking, as I read through the questions - my real answer is b, but I should be doing c. Does that count for a little love? At least now I know what I can do to improve, right? :)

    The funny thing is? I knew before I even got to the questions that I wouldn't qualify as a self-promoter - I'm too much of a chicken *beep* to do all that. Heck, I agonize over the twice-a-day tweets that go out automatically when I post a new entry to my blog. I feel like I'm being Queen Spam. Nevermind that I send 15-20-30 other tweets a day, usually retweeting someone else's stuff or replying to others. I still feel like Queen Spam any time I promote anything - like I should apologize for advertising first. lol. I even put "warning - shameless plug" at the beginning of a blog entry when I post a link to something I've written somewhere else.

    If self-promotion were a class in high school? I would never have graduated. Guess that makes me a promophobe.

  • Miriam Peskowitz

    Kamy--we love you too!

  • Catherine Dowman

    In your face self promotion turns me off more then intrigues and comes across (as Laura B Davis mentioned) as a kind of insecurity. This is a fantastic piece you have given us and insightful.

  • Jennifer Lauck

    I'm a B & C and I'll take the big hug, Kamy! And tell me where to go (up, not down) and what to do to help promote you and every single sister out there. xo

  • Lauren B. Davis

    Wonderful. Couldn't agree more. Someone quite wise once said that selfishness and self-centeredness are the root of our problems. Hard-edged self-promotion, I've found, usually comes from a kind of insecurity, a fear of being overlooked, of there not being enough seats on the bus. No matter where you are as a writer -- as yet unpublished, emerging, mid-list of highly successful, there's always someone doing better than you, and always someone doing worse. Writing, or, more specifically publishing, can be psychosis-inducing if we don't keep our emotional, spiritual balance. It can lead to a cramped heart and the plague of envy which is, after all, the ONLY one of the seven deadly sins which, when experienced, offers no scrap of pleasure at all. ;-)

    And thanks for pointing out the member news section! Julie, thanks for organizing that. You'll be hearing from me. Good luck to all.

    By the way, I answered 1-c), 2- b/c), 3-b/c) depending on how often I get such emails from the same person, and 4 b/c. I think that means you almost love me. ;-)

    What I also do is, when someone asks to 'friend' me, I take the time to research who they are, and if they have a book out that interests me even vaguely, I buy it. After all, that's one of the things friends are for, no?

  • Julie Jeffs

    Kamy, what a great post. And thank you for mentioning me so kindly, I'm so glad you didn't call me your stalker! And if you don't mind, I would urge everyone who reads this post to go directly (do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars) to Sandra Beasley's Countdown to Publication post immediately. She wrote such a beautiful post about sharing.

  • Lisa Rivero

    I love your New Kind of Platform! It's a breath of fresh air. Thank you for such a thought-provoking post.

  • Priscilla Long

    I have just recently joined and I find your post wise, generous, and perspicacious. A main issue to me is that as creators we have to find some sort of balance between doing our work and getting our work out: They are related because work never put out is never quite finished (long discussion, not appropriate here). Another key issue is that of using people versus cooperating, sharing, and participating. All of this you've said very well indeed. Thank you.

  • Donna Cavanagh

    Okay, I am a mediocre self-promoter. I am not the worst of the lot though. I guess I should try harder, and I will. Sometimes, I have to admit my writing time usurps promotion time or maybe I am just a chicken when it comes to promotion. Okay, way too much self-reflection. HA HA

  • Deborah Siegel Writing

    Kamy Wicoff, yet another reason I dropped everything to work on She Writes with you. Thank you for opening this discussion among our community in such a sensitive -- and crazily creatively witty -- way.

  • Sandra Beasley

    Oh, wow--I just did my "Countdown to Publication" post ("11 Days") on a VERY similar note, to the point of having a first draft that finished by declaring "What goes around, comes around." I only found this post afterwards. I swear, I wasn't copycatting.

    Can I just say Thank You, for what you have done with this site, and in such amazingly short time? It makes the heart skip a bit.