Promote oneself?

Anyone involved with anything creative knows the tension of “selling” oneself and one’s wares. Some creatives are adept at marketing but most aren’t. During my three decades in the corporate sector, I acquired skills in most areas but always struggled with marketing/selling. Ostentation and pushiness are not the attributes of a geek like me.

But if you do no “marketing,” you may as well bury your creative input in a deep, dark hole, and over the last two decades I have striven to promote my work as best I can. In the end, I’ve come down on the side of those who talk of “showing” your outputs, rather than “selling” them. Austin Kleon’s 2014 Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered struck me as true.

So how do I “show” my work and myself to the world? Gradually, over the last few years, I’ve set up an online presence. I own and run my own website,, which features my two published mysteries and points to ongoing projects and blogs. I run four (yes, four!) blogs, primarily because I enjoy them immensely. Only one of the blogs has any sense of public traction, but I am not fussed. I mirror the blogs on separate Facebook pages. I experiment with Instagram, though its visual focus doesn’t suit me. I spend time on Twitter, without doing any explicit marketing; again, I enjoy this.

I taught myself online marketing methods. With only two mysteries in a series, most such tactics don’t work well but every now and then I give away Book #1 on various email lists, in the hope this prompts people to buy Book #2. I’ve dabbled with Facebook and Amazon advertising with mediocre results.

Overall, I’m a quiet person in the flesh and in my world of books. My “showing” presence is what suits my temperament and personality. Naturally, I would prefer to be famous and successful, but somehow, over the years, I’ve become resolutely satisfied with what I do.

When the nuclear history book hits the presses, my promotion activities will need to ramp up. Over the next months, I’ll establish a marketing and promotion strategy. Wish this shy nerd luck.

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