What Will People Think? or The Agony of Self-promotion

Well, a happy good morning to everyone!  I’ve been in the editing cave, so there isn’t much new happening here with me, other than the fact I quit smoking.

But that’s another story…

So, while I’ve been racking my brain to come up with an interesting subject for the blog, I realized I haven’t done any self-promotion in a while. Even thinking about doing so starts me squirming in my seat, and makes me uncomfortable.

OMG – What will people think if I write THIS:

I am a published author and I receive fan letters from readers. Much to my humble surprise, I also win awards!

sin-of-pride

See? That was actually painful for me to type. I’ve broken out in a sweat and my fingers are hovering over the delete key.

I don’t know if anyone else relates to this. It was hammered into my head to always be humble, never brag, and whatever you do – don’t draw attention to yourself. The meek will inherit the earth…

Proverbs: 27:12 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

You would think that since I haven’t stepped inside a Catholic church for more than thirty five years, I could have modified that bit in my head about “pride cometh before a fall…”

Apparently not.

How about “tooting one’s own horn?”  Mmm. Another phrase that has negative connotations for me.

As an author – who needs to advertise to make a living – aren’t I supposed to do these things?  Why does it embarrass me?

When is not okay to be proud of something that you have achieved?  I can’t even fathom how deep these psychological roots must go.

How come writing nice things about myself or my work – leaves me a little sick to my stomach and in desperate need for a place to hide?

For instance, as far as negating the Bible goes: I have NO problem with telling anyone I’m a lesbian, none. I have no shame or guilt, not one iota.

This one? “Children should be seen and not heard (as well as women)” Um, not so much. I have no problems stating an opinion or engaging in interesting debates.

women be quiet in church

My wife will tell you I also have NO problem saying “I told you so,” usually with a wickedly gleeful expression.

I can honestly write about personal experiences that don’t always paint me in stunning colors. Nope, no problems with that either.

I won’t blink an eye telling you of my psychic experiences or the haunted houses I’ve lived in.

I have no reservations or judgments about other people who can (and do) promote themselves brilliantly. In fact, I enjoy helping them with it. I can (with great ease) thank, praise, and name every person who has helped me along the way.

So why then is it so hard to promote myself?

I can only assume it comes from my upbringing. Where is the line between pride and arrogance? Between being humble and being invisible? What is actually wrong with wanting a better financial future? Why is wanting more considered a sin? Or at the very least, shallow?

Then I have the other side of me, which knows instinctively that most of my childhood beliefs didn’t fit or sit well with me – so I changed them.

Why is this one about being proud of my accomplishments so difficult? Is it because my insecurity of self is woven so tightly around this dogma?

Interesting questions for me to ponder today, and in a weird way – I just realized as I was typing this – the very answer to a prayer.

I am always in the process of learning and creating new beliefs that empower me and enrich my spirit in ways that feel good and right – for me.

I asked for it. I wanted to know what things are holding me back. I wanted to work on the issues that still have me feeling like an imposter. Apparently – this belief is the one I need to address.

Actually, that’s kind of cool. It means that I’ve reached a deep core belief that needs to be re-defined. It means that it’s okay to be proud of what I’ve accomplished. That it’s fine and acceptable to sing the songs that I’ve written. To share the words I’ve put to paper.

Everything gets better with practice, right?  I still feel a little nauseated – but I’m hoping that will get better as this journey progresses.

All this to get to the point.

My name is Yvonne Heidt – I think I write awesome ghost stories full of interesting characters and paranormal events.

Bold Strokes Books publishes them.

Sometime Yesterday won The Golden Crown Literary Award for Best Paranormal Romance. As well as a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Romance.

book and award

The Awakening is the first in a trilogy” Sisters of Spirits – and it’s full of interesting characters that I fell in love with along the way. I hope you did too!

The Awakening small 300 DPI

Finally, there’s this one:  The second book in the Sisters of Spirits of Trilogy. It’s the book I am currently in the cave with and scheduled for publication in January 2014.

the quickening little

I have a regular gig here on Women & Words three Monday’s a month.

Here is my personal website: yvonneheidt.com

Here is my Twitter: ymh99

Now I have to hurry up and post this before I change my mind.

23 comments

  1. wonderful blog…great job on still not smoking..I see that your not posting daily that your still cigarettte free. I hope this is because it is getting easier. Promote, promote , promote. Your stories are fantastic and you deserved your award from the GCLS.

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  2. Yvonne, I have the same issues about self-promotion. Again it comes down to worrying that I stray well into either annoying or arrogant. I worry the venues I might use to self-promote are inappropriate or the people who visit them are just tired of hearing anything from me.

    It is definitely easier for me to be self-deprecating.

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  3. Well said!

    Very few people have a big enough comfort zone that they’re happy both in the insulated (LOVE your editing cave), solitary world of writing and in the exposed, free-for-all atmosphere of marketing. I guess we just have to realize it’s a balancing act where finding balance is always a work in progress.

    Thanks for the honesty, and for mirroring what most of us go through!

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  4. I so feel you on this, Yvonne! This has been the bane of my career existence and, as a mentor, I have struggled with this so much it’s painful. How do you tell other wonderful women that it’s okay to take vocal pride in the awesome work that they do, when I fail to do so myself? When you figure it out, please share, and I will do the same. In the meantime I wil continue to try to better at this, and this post helps to encourage me. (PS keep it up on the not-smoking! You’re doing great!)

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  5. OMG, Yvonne, I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. I absolutely stink at promoting myself or “talking myself up.” As much as I know that promotion is key to a successful business (whether it’s writing or something else), and that if you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will, I’m just not good at it. I’ve always been a humble person and it’s taken a concerted effort to break out of that.

    People sometimes ask me, “Why didn’t you say anything about X?” (X being my novel, published short stories, or anything special that has happened). I usually just shrug and say, “I didn’t think of it.”

    Maybe part of it is because, deep down, I have this feeling that people are simply not interested. There will always be those people with whom you share a special moment and they will have a completely blasé reaction. But that won’t always be the case.

    You go, Yvonne! State those accomplishments!

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  6. I think we all got the memo about it being a no no to praise ourselves in any way–taking pride in anything was “conceited.” I’m glad you’re getting to claim your accomplishments–you should definitely brag about quitting smoking.

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    • I think it’s a woman thing, just like the “guilt” thing. We must have stood in the wrong queue ladies when humility and guilt were being handed out, we got it and the guys didn’t. I feel guilt when I take time to myself to write while my partner goes about the daily grind. She doesn’t complain, if anything she’s supportive, but I still feel the guilt! Why???

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      • We’re trained as women to put others’ needs ahead of our own and not to give any
        priority to our own–not to be “selfish.” We have a lot to unlearn.

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  7. Excellent, excellent blog. Yes, do you listen to that silencing inner voice, that might not have your best interests at heart, or friends who keep seeing your facebook posts and say, Enough! without realizing the facebook algorithms demand that you keep posting to reach those who may be on different time-zones? It is a puzzle. Do the ‘guys’ ever worry about posting, advertising, having their mug splashed everywhere they can? To them it is smart. Why don’t we see it that way? Let us know what your inner explorations come up with. It might help all of us. 🙂

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