Success Without Self-Promotion?

Not a week goes by that I don’t get an email asking this question: “I don’t have enough time and energy to do the self-promotion and platform building that is required now. It drains my creativity, sometimes stifling the muse altogether. Is there a way out of this?”

Some authors and business leaders are now saying “yes.”

[FYI: If you disagree with this article, at the end I have listed tools to use to promote your book and build your platform.]

What Really Sells Your Book?

I recently read a thought-provoking article called Success Without Self-Promotion: The Rise of the Invisibles by David Zweig. Below are a few quotes from his article. I don’t necessarily agree with it all, but if you’re a writer who cringes at self-promotion, it’s worth thinking about. Consider these quotes:

You’ve probably been told that to get ahead in business, you need to “raise your profile” or “build a platform.” We live in the era of the “branded self,” with marketing gurus telling you that to excel, you have to manage your persona, the appearance of your work, and your online profile, making these tasks more important than the work itself.

If you’re at all like the Invisibles, you might feel that living in a culture upholding these values is like being on a horrific carnival ride spinning wildly, where every passenger is blaring his or her own air horn…I’m here to tell you something the marketing folks don’t want you to hear: it’s okay to step off the wheel.


We do care about our work, but we also feel compelled to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on shaping the perception of our work to others. It’s not that outward appearances have no bearing on one’s advancement, but it’s far lower than the prevailing business culture would lead you to believe.

We’re All Different

For those of you who don’t mind marketing, or are extroverts, or time isn’t a problem, here are those links:


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2 Responses to Success Without Self-Promotion?

  1. Anne Bromley says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Kristi. For introverts, this is very good news!

    • kwpadmin says:

      Anne, it’s something that many of us have suspected for years. And since the world is made up of (according to statistics) about 52% introverts, it’s good news to LOTS of writers. It’s not that we have to do no marketing at all, but it needs to be the minor part of your writing life if you’re going to produce quality work. Many won’t agree with me, but few unknowns can point to how all the social media self-promotion sold their book.

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