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Book Publicity and the Shy Author

Updated on March 26, 2013

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Book promotion

Publicity, publicity, publicity. I hate the damn word.

I'm an author not a publicist. Being a publicist is a specialized job. I don't do publicity. I've written the damn novel, why do I have to do book promotion as well?

The problem is I'm shy, but I was in the middle of Spain, where no-one is shy, so I swallowed the overwhelming temptation to run. I put my hand in my pocket, fumbled for some bookmarks, and handed them over.

I still can't believe I did it. I'd had a drink to be honest - well one or two, which probably explains why it happened. We'd taken lunch at one of our favourite sea-front caf├ęs in Benidorm, I'd had a couple of coffees with brandy to finish things off, and my dander was up.

After paying the bill we made our way slowly back along the promenade, stuffed full of holiday-bonhomie- which we weren't actually, because we only live about twenty miles away, but I still felt good - and out of the blue I just stopped a likely looking gaggle of girls and asked if they were British. They were and I handed over some publicity bookmarks.

They looked at the bookmarks

Turned them over, inspected them, then put them into their bags as if they'd been searching for something like that for ages and didn't want to lose them again.

I've got to be honest. It still gob-smacks me. The fact that someone actually WANTS bookmarks with a picture of my novel on it made me feel funny inside.

Publicity at work, wow!

I stopped another couple a little further on .... and it was a similar tale. They took the bookmarks and thanked me. I did it again a few minutes later, each time gaining confidence. Every time I asked, people were glad to accept them. I can only conclude that bookmarks are something that people actually want. I was giving customers something of value, something useful

The fact that it advertised my novel was irrelevant. What they had was of use to THEM.

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Promoting yourself ....

doesn't come easy to a diehard introvert like me. I've always been shy, always the one to sneak to the back of the class or the back of the crowd. I'm the one you see hanging behind whilst extroverts push themselves forward.

I wish I was different. I wish I could make myself prominent but I can't. Publicity people tell authors like me to make ourselves available, to promote ourselves. What they don't understand is how much it takes for us to be the centre of attention. I know I should do it. I know I should push myself forward as part of a publicity campaign, but can't.

I took part in a radio interview a while ago and felt like dying. I'm shy. I can't help it. Maybe that's why I'm a writer. I can put things down on paper a million times easier than standing up and talking about it.

"...This book publicity lark is killing me..."

Nothing can change it. I hate people looking at me, I hate the focus being on me, I want publicity, I need publicity, I know book promotion necessary, but it doesn't mean I enjoy it. Publicity is painful.

SO .... if someone stops you in Benidorm, and offers a bookmark, please take it and smile. The person handing it over might be me, and my ego is VERY fragile. Please don't break it.


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    • ajbarnett profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Costa Blanca, Spain

      Thanks for dropping by, Silverwebb. It's good to know I'm not alone.

    • SilverWebb profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      I so see your point. I am a painfully shy person, but I am also a writer and an actor and people assume that because you're into acting, that you must be extroverted. It's definately not true. Acting helped me to be able to slip into a 'character' and mask who I am in social situations, just so I can get through the damn things. But I still get the worst attacks of shyness. It's just the way I am. I am content hiding out in my own little world, without having to "network." It really is hideous sometimes and I had to be a sticker hander-outerer at someone else's booklaunch and I hated it, and barely got through it. Just makes me feel sick inside sometimes.

      If I am ever in Benidorm and offered a bookmark, I will graciously accept it!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi AJ,

      I'm the same way. I get nervous even READING about PR.

      Worse than nervous. I wish things were different...I wish we could just write, and let our work speak for us. My characters aren't nearly as shy as I am; some are quite outgoing. I wish they could do the publicity for me, lol.


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