Self-Promotion: The Ugly, The Bad… and The Good?

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By Michael Anthony Torres

Thanks to Steve Laube for the questions that inspired this meditation.

The increasing demand for self-promotion is arguably a by-product of the internet and the democratization of publicity. Surely, there are many more who could speak to this from more of an industry insider’s perspective; but when I was a young adult reader, I don’t recall that authors had to promote themselves to the degree that they are asked to today. So from this assumption, I offer to you the following.

First, The Ugly of self-promotion, from my limited, albeit, valuable perspective. I believe most of us can smell this a mile or so away—regardless of whether or not we are down wind. The Ugly of self-promotion to me is when I as an author denigrate someone else’s work to promote mine. There are surely other qualities of The Ugly. But for space and time, I’ll leave it at that.

Second, there is The Bad. Here I submit there are two opposing, yet equally odorous manifestations. The first is when I as the novelist hold up my first work (or for that matter any of my work, even one which I labored over for years) and compare it in any promotion as being on par with, let’s say, Tolstoy or O’Connor.

The novel may very well be that enduring. I submit, however, we leave that praise for readers to shout from rooftops.

The second of The Bad is the presumptuous, Christ-like (not) attitude that is self-deprecating. “Sure, I’ve invested a lot of myself in this work, but it’s really the Lord if anything comes of this. It’s really not that good,” or something similar. Ugh…

This leads me to what I believe is The Good self-promotion. And for this I ask you to bear with me and imagine an out of body experience, similar to what we do when we write from the point of view of a character.

This to me is the fundamental, essence of The Good self-promotion (not the out of body part, of course)…loving one self. This out of body experiment is something that occurred to me during a Bible study.

If I weren’t me, how would I introduce my self to someone else? In other words, if I weren’t me, how would I promote my self to someone else?

 If I were to see me as when I was ten years old, what would I say to someone about that child? Do I love that child? Would I “promote” me?

This led me to other liberating thoughts.

How would I promote my wife? (Who by the way is an awesome writer—just wait to you read her stuff!)

How would I promote my sons, my daughters? Honestly?

What about other relatives and intimate friends (for those who don’t have children)?

Assuming that their talents are verifiably true gifts, in other words, they really are good at XYZ, relatively objectively, not just as a spouse, parent, or significant person in their lives, but as a reader, listener, observer of their art or other talents, how would I promote them?

The answer to those questions, were a revelation to me. Frankly, they had as much substance as the taste of a succulent mango in a stir fry (imagine the music Remy heard and felt when he combined flavors in Ratatouille). And sublimely, so much more.

 I had to ask myself, “Do I really love me?”

I came to the conclusion that God through Christ wants me to love me as He loves me. And, I need to promote me as He would. I need to believe in me as He does. I need to realize that He is a proud parent and Co-Laborer.

To some, this may be self-evident. To others, it may come as a revelation, an epiphany as the words of the song Pieces proclaims…

 …Your love is proud to be seen with me.

If someone asked you to promote someone you loved dearly, what would you say? Check out one writer’s epiphany that may liberate your self-promotion. #ACFWBlogs #amwriting Click To Tweet

Michael Anthony Torres is an artist mentor and instructor of cinematic arts at Liberty University. He has written and directed TV and film projects for international audiences. His joy is Jesus, a talented, novelist wife and five sublimely creative children. He dreams he’ll wake up one day a published novelist.





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