On putting yourself out there

God, it can feel awful. It can feel wrong – I’m still not 100% convinced it’s not – putting yourself out there, as a (I hesitate to call myself this) poet.

I have worked very hard for a long period of time on my book. And I am reconciled to doing absolutely as much as I can to promote and shout about it and share it with anyone who might be interested.

This afternoon I finished a kind of email newsletter that I had read was a good idea. Online gurus talk about how it is fundamental to be in conversation with those who might support one as a writer. It is all about community. And I now get it. Connect and communicate. Share.

The newsletter has a poem from my book, a bit of new about readings, etc and publications I am included in. It has a bit of the feel of a family Christmas cheesy round robin . As soon as I sent the send button, I had one of those tight-skinned “Oh God, what have I done now?” type feelings. Which, on reflection, is kind of exciting. Perhaps this is against type. But what real harm can it do?

If one is making art, it is inevitable that one must also be promoting one’s work. Even the “anti” promotion of those who will not advertise themselves, is a form of exactly that.
It’s not like I’ve killed anyone, but still the bottom of my stomach feels like it’s out. But I remember this: my best learning experiences have been painful and at the time felt like dire.


About grahamcliffordpoet

Graham is an award winning poet, based in London. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with an MA in Creative Writing, and has since published nationally and internationally, winning many awards and performing at some of the most prestigious and well known Literary Festivals. His debut collection, The Hitting Game, is published by Seren.
This entry was posted in business plan, composing, creative writing, poetry, Publishing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to On putting yourself out there

  1. Pingback: Blogs by poets as opposed to Poetry Blogs | Josephine Corcoran

  2. Hi Graham – There’s no harm in trying different things when it comes to promoting one’s work, and as you say, you’re committed to helping make sure your book sells. A certain amount of shouting is inevitable. But I doubt your ‘cheesy’ email was as awful as you imagine, and if you sent it to targeted audience (people who know you already, perhaps, or who are at least interested in poetry or in the business) then I’m sure it will be well-received. But we live in fortunate times – by building an online presence as you are doing using the social tools available, you’re creating a ground base of interest (for example, with blog posts like this). In the long term this means you’ll be less reliant on 20th century broadcast marketing to sell your books – good news all round!

    • Thanks Robin. You are right -self-promoting is not a dirty activity ( as I used to think!) but is all about communicating with like minds. Some of the conversations I have entered into having started to reach out have been so rewarding. Onwards and upwards!

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