Selling Yourself


Mae West Driftedby C. Margery Kempe

One of the nice things about social media is that even though we writers are supposed to be selling ourselves — or at least our books — all the time, it’s actually nice to be surprised that it works without trying sometimes.

I had a couple of unexpected nice moments this week: someone who read one of my releases, liked it and now wants to interview me. Yay! That’s easy enough to do and I’m always happy to be interviewed and of course, to hear pleasant things about my writing.

More difficult was someone who DM’d me on Twitter, said she wanted to read something of mine (presumably having liked what I had to say online) so what should she read.

Argh — I don’t know!

It depends. This was actually someone responding to my given name as a writer, so I had to say, “Well, what do you like? I write in a lot of genres.” Because I do — I now write under four completely different names largely to distinguish genres (crime, historical romance, erotic romance and then everything-under-the-sun genre-hopping craziness).

There’s a lot to choose from, so I didn’t know what to say. I pointed her to my handy bibliography with pull down, genre-specific menus, but thinking about it in retrospect I wonder if I shouldn’t have been — as they say in the business — more “pro-active” and asked her more useful questions. Like what? “What sort of genres do you like?” just gave me a similarly general answer of pretty much everything but “chick lit” which didn’t narrow things down much.

What would be good questions to ask? If someone wants recommendations from “Margery” then I just mention my latest couple of releases, but even among erotic romance fans there are lots of sub genres. So how best to identify what a reader might like? Have you had good luck with pinpointing tastes? I don’t want to disappoint people on the first try!

I guess I’m just not good at selling myself.

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10 Comments

  • madelineiva
    July 12, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Love Mae West!

  • LizEverly
    July 12, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I think you handled it very well. If you were more proactive, it might have come off as a hard sell. I know we need to sell ourselves–but it’s fine line. Good post.

  • Elizabeth Shore
    July 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    It’s a tricky one. Sometimes I’ve had the reverse happen, too. Someone I don’t know very well will recommend some book or movie and say, “oh, you’re gonna like this.” And I think to myself, “how would you know? ’cause I sure as heck don’t know what you’d like!” Ah well. It’s a tough situation. Great post!

    • cmkempe
      July 14, 2013 at 9:21 am

      It is tricky and i try to be guided by what I would want to hear, but who knows?

  • ellaquinnauthor
    July 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I try to keep my promo low key and let others RT it on Twitter. I do more on FB.

    • cmkempe
      July 14, 2013 at 9:22 am

      I think it’s easier that way, so people actually respond if they are actually interested.

  • cmkempe
    July 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Reblogged this on C. Margery Kempe and commented:

    Still not quite comfortable with it.

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