On Why I Don’t Like Self-Promotion…And Why That’s Going to Change

Self-promotion sucks. I find it really hard, at least in the context of my writing. I’m not a natural bragger and I don’t want to boast about my work. I don’t want to intrude on people’s days or twist conversations unnaturally so that I can talk about my books in the hopes of getting a sale or two. I hate it when authors do that to me, so why would I want to do that to anyone else? It’s not for me. I’m not interested. Since I’m not really in this writing lark to make money, I quite simply decided not to bother with the self-promotion. I’ll talk about my book if it comes up in conversation naturally, I’ll continue writing my blog (albeit very sporadically…oops) because I find it fun, I’ll take pleasure in any sales or reviews as they come but I’m not going to push it and I’m not going to be disheartened if they don’t come. Ever since I came to that decision, I’ve enjoyed writing a whole lot more.

Less stress, you see. I’m doing it for me and that’s that. Except it’s odd – it can’t be that I don’t like to self-promote. As the manager of a bar, I create promotions and publicity, I push events and talk to anyone and everyone about what’s going on. I’ve heard myself say to people “oh, my books are bit silly, I’m not sure you’d like them,” but I wouldn’t in a million years dream of saying “well, the bar’s not all that good, you’d probably have a rubbish time.” Why wouldn’t I say it? Well, a) it isn’t true, and b) that is a ridiculously bad business decision to make. So why do I say it about my books?

Ultimately, because writing is a personal thing. It carries with it a seed of me, a seed of who I really am whereas the bar is more detached, more a team effort. Perhaps, too, because I’m not all that happy with the book I wrote. It’s not something I want to push because it’s not something I’m proud of – or at least, not proud enough of.

Having recently finished my second book in the series (and currently going through a rather heavy editing phase), I can safely say it is significantly better than my first. It’s something I am most definitely proud of. Everything about it is better than the first – the worlds, the structure, the characters. It’s just the humour and light-heartedness that’s stuck. It’s made me think. If I can produce work like this, why can’t I go back and improve the first one? So that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

I’m going back to the drawing board.

I’m starting at square one.

I’ve taken John Sharpe down from Amazon, it is no longer for sale. I’m going to finish editing The Queen’s Wrath and then go back and re-write John Sharpe, turn it into something I’m happy with. I’ll re-release at the same time that I release The Queen’s Wrath, both in Kindle format and as paperbacks (for the first time). John Sharpe will come with a hunk of bonus material too (although you’ll have to stay tuned to find out what!). They’ve even got new covers, designed by the wonderfully talented Maria Jose Galvan – but that deserves a blog post all of its own, so keep an eye tomorrow and you’ll get a sneak-preview of the new-look Underworld series!


  1. With you 100% on this one Riley. Some people are good at self promo, I hate it. Strangely I’m not averse to dropping hints about the books of others, perhaps, as you say, because we’re detached from them. I enjoyed the quirkiness of John Sharpe but our ‘babies’ grow up, and we develop as writers at the same time as they move into toddler-hood. Wishing you the very best of luck. 😀

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