Are “Old-Fashioned” Book Promotions Still Effective in 2018?

Like many introverted, social-media-weary writers planning to publish their debut novel in the nearish future, I dread marketing.

At first, admittedly, due to a lack of knowledge. But now…

Well…let’s be honest, some people are born great salespeople. Some aren’t.


If saying that sounds like self-sabotage, I assure you: I’ve tried reprogramming my brain. I’ve done all the affirmations, meditations, and sipped many self-help flavors of Kool-Aid. Told myself, “You can do anything you set your mind to,” and, “Telling yourself you can’t do something only sets you up for failure,” and yadda-yadda-yadda. Logically, I get it. I know I should be able to face my fears of self-promotion and overcome them, but I’m human–flawed, ill, and fatigued.

I know more about marketing and publishing than I ever imagined a year ago, so I can now say, a lack of knowledge isn’t what’s holding me back. (Not that I don’t have more to learn, I do.) So why do I still cringe at the idea of selling myself and my work on social media?


Here are my top 3 guesses:

1. I’ve seen others do it and fail. Including people who pay for advertisements.

2. It can come across as spammy if one doesn’t have a gift for it.

3. My chronic illnesses don’t allow me to keep a regular schedule, and social media platform building is all about fabulous content and consistency. Those with outgoing personalities, talent, drive, and a nice appearance are all the more fortunate.

As an asocial (not antisocial) INFJ, exhausted spoonie, writer, and mother, I’d rather use old-fashioned methods to get the word out about my book.

Methods like: Fliers, blogging (yeah, already an older method), posting coupons on public library bulletin boards, and once I’m ready to publish, build my Amazon Author Page and focus on advertising there.

If you can relate, or can’t but are still reading this, I urge you to list the top 5 things holding you back from marketing your book or achieving your goals.

As someone with two young-adult children on the autism spectrum (for starters), her own chronic illnesses– a spoonie— two dying parents, and issues I won’t bore you with: an uncertain future automatically hovers over my thoughts, pulls out its diabolical drill, flips the switch with psychotic laughter and tunnels through my skull into my brain. Yet, when I wrote my list, the order in which my “fear” thoughts flowed, well… surprised me a bit.

I urge you to write your own top 5 marketing fears (or whatever’s plaguing you) without overthinking it. Just scribble it out and see what emerges.


  1. Fear of rejection.
  2. Fear of failure.
  3. Fear of coming across like a douche.
  4. Fear of not coming across at all.
  5. Fear of health issues getting in my way.


Pretty basic fears, I’d say. Fears the healthy, the chronically sick, the once living now dead– and everyone in-between–struggle with, published authors-to-be or not.

Now that I know the fears holding me back, I can fix them. Right?

But should I have to? Should WE have to?

Should any of us have to conform to “the norm” in any aspect of our lives? Of course not, but not conforming has obvious consequences:

For authors, creators, freelancers, and the like, not marketing through social media, networking, email newsletters, and/or vlogging/blogging can kill success before it starts. People famous on social media typically sell more books–I get it. But I can’t help longing for the days (albeit before my time) when an author left all the marketing up to their publishers and focused on what they loved: writing!

Sure, I’m blogging now, and I’m on Twitter, Instagram (barely), and Pinterest, but getting into social media was a long, grueling process for me. I’m a spoonie mother with limited energy, time, and daily pain tolerance; writing and constantly learning more about the craft consumes me. Toss in quality family time, special needs kids, both parents in hospice, my own shitty health, and my marketing drive tends to fall off the back burner, crashing onto the tile. 

And we ALL have obstacles:

Whether you are chronically ill, taking care of someone who is, a single parent, or a healthy college sophomore, life throws curve balls at us all. Why add extra stress if other methods are available? Less popular methods, but they’ve been proven to work.

Besides, there’s enough stress in the world. Switch on or click any news link, and your blood pressure will soar. So why should those of us uncomfortable with self-promotion/marketing trouble ourselves with yet another thing to overcome?


Isn’t it better to cast a less, but honest light on your book/platform than artifical high beams?

This article by Neil Patel (a NYT Bestselling Author) claims 4 old-fashioned methods are still alive and well. Do you agree or disagree?

Which self-promotion methods do you use?

Do you ever buy books from ads on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.?




  1. Thank you for this amazing post! I can honestly tell you I have never actually purchased a book from ads I might have seen. I have my favorite authors and stick with what they write! I’m not sure if you would call an email an ad, but I get emailed when one of my favorite authors release a new book.
    My dream has always been to write a book. I think what the things holding me back are: fear of rejection. I have no clue how to actually get started even though I know the topic, I do not know anything about finding a publisher, lack of time for writing my book and kind of leading back to my first issue, what if I am told it is terrible?!

    Liked by 1 person

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