I Never Made it to Oprah's Show

She Laughed at Me

Several years back, at a publishing conference, I had an opportunity to speak with some generous industry veterans.  One was gracious enough to take a quick look at the marketing plan I was working on. I was encouraged... until she laughed. My inner critic went a little bit nuts. I wanted to crawl under some furniture or run from the room.

Fortunately, she noticed and said, "I like you. You may be the only author in America whose plan does not include the words 'Find a way to get on Oprah's show.'"

Anyone who was around back then knows why so many people wanted to do that: marketing an indie book can be h*ll on wheels, and Oprah's endorsement was a ticket to Best Seller City. 

Granted, some indie author marketing issues are a result of self-inflicted wounds caused by a lack of feedback from beta readers, editing, and proofreading. But even the most exceptional work has a hard time getting through the avalanche of media and promotional material readers see every single day.

My Inner Critic is Up to No Good.

Personally? I need to take a closer look at the role my inner critic plays in all of this. While I'm able to harness her powerful warnings to complete my writing projects, she's still pretty mean and shrieky when it comes to self-promotion. ("Get your ego in check!" "It's not polite to talk about yourself.") Over time she has gotten a little sneakier and has developed a New Age-y approach as well: "Stop bothering people. If they're meant to find you, they will."

Thank goodness for readers and other writers who help spread the word about our books, our blogs, our events, and our news. You are truly a gift.

And, if you'd like to be part of that giant online support group but don't know where to start? Here are two small actions that are a huge help.

You Don't Know Me.

Reviews. Especially on Amazon and GoodReads. They don't have to be long to be meaningful. "The author presents helpful information with a light touch." Or "I found the story captivating." "I liked it." "A fun, easy read."

Expert tip: If you are personally acquainted with the author, please don't mention that in your review. It's a red flag for Amazon's prohibition against fake reviews and could cause problems for the author. BIG problems. We've heard from authors who had ALL of their reviews removed because one or two were suspicious. 

Also, if you're a relative... especially one with the same name? DON'T POST A REVIEW. (See the previous example.) Apparently, Amazon's algorithms are fairly convinced that your sister, your spouse, or your bestie will leave a good review regardless of the quality of the work.

You rock. We love you.

Facebook pages are another way to help your author pals extend their reach. The more people who like, follow, and engage with the page, the more people are likely to see it and connect with writers you know and love. The next time you're on Facebook, take a look in the upper right corner of your screen and look for where it says "invite friends to like page." If you "like" an author page (or any page), your friends are more likely to follow suit -- especially if you ask them to. And once on a page? Participate. Answer questions, comment, and share posts.

Genuine interaction helps get attention for our work, keeps authors motivated, and lets the inner critic of self-promotion know it's OK to go somewhere and take a nap!

What's your favorite way to help amplify an author's message? (Please share in the comments section. Every little bit helps!)


And to anyone who's still struggling with their Inner Critic? Click to download 3 Reasons to Stop Fighting Your Inner Critic and find out about some things you can do instead.