Adventures in Shameless Self-Promotion

How I envy Julian of Norwich.

Not only did she have an awesome experience of sixteen revelations of Divine Love, but she also took twenty years to reflect on her experience and then wrote a book that remains one of the finest testimonies of mystical experience in the Christian tradition.

Okay, there is the fact that she was deathly ill during her visions, and that she lived in the middle ages, and spent most of her adult life in a solitary cell. There’s a downside to everything.

But one more thing I envy about Julian: she didn’t have to promote her own work. No publishers, editors, or literary agents asking her how many hits her website is generating, or how large her email mailing list is, or how many Twitter followers she has.

Yes, I like getting up in front of a crowd and talking about mysticism and the spiritual life — but that’s mainly because I love talking about these things so much that it emboldens me to deal with the “crowd” bit. All things being equal, I’m a natural introvert and would much rather have intimate conversations with just one or two people at a time, or would just happily while away the hours at my computer, writing and then checking in with folks at Facebook to see what’s up. That’s a true introvert’s dream.

But I’m a writer in the 21st century, and so part of my job is to promote my work. Since I’m not a Big Name writer who can affort to hire my own publicity team, it’s all up to me.

I just wish it weren’t so embarrassing. It feels like calling up people on the phone and saying, “Hi, will you be my friend?”

So, my latest foray into the oh-so-embarrassing world of shameless self-promotion has been setting up an Author Page on Facebook. This is a more “public” alternative to my personal page, which theoretically is for my circle of friends. The Author Page is a more public forum, where I can post news about my work and forthcoming appearances, and (very interesting for me), my readers can ask me questions or even initiate discussions amongst themselves about my work. It’s really a neat concept, and so I’m glad I’ve finally set one up.

I actually have resisted doing so for a while — and that’s for one simple reason: Facebook has it set up so that each Author page describes the people who link to it as “fans.”

I think “readers” would be a more, er, useful term. I feel much more comfortable asking people to be my readers than to be my fans. I can hear my old high school buddies now: “Who does Carl think he is, asking me to ‘become a fan’? Harumph!” As a spiritual writer, I believe people who read my work shouldn’t be fans of me, but of God. I’m just the messenger-boy.

But Facebook has spoken, and so I’m stuck with the format given to me. If you’re on Facebook, I hope you’ll “become a fan.” Just don’t blame me for that verbage!

Here’s the link:

Please Fill Out My Reader Survey!
Speaking of Silence (On Internet Radio)
Social Media... and Silence
After the Book Festival (and Looking Forward to a New Contemplative Prayer Gathering)
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • Adrianna

    Carl, I think it helps to reframe things a bit. Yes facebook fan pages could be construed as “shameless self-promotion” but it could also be a means towards helping more people know about the riches of mysticism!

  • Carl McColman

    Thanks, Adrianna. I think this is a lesson for me not to take things so seriously — not even shameless self-promotion!

  • Adam

    I hear you Carl. I’m an introverted author too and I oscillate between thinking it’s “shameless self-promotion” and helpful suggestion.

    In fact, I’m sitting here wondering right now which category this comment on your blog is in. :)

  • Chris Robinson

    Aw heck Carl. I’ll be your fan. Anybody who has been on Facebook more than 2 weeks knows that “fan” doesn’t mean the same thing as “fan” in the Beatlemania days. :)

  • William Dunigan

    Greetings to one and all in that mighty name of “Jesus”. Each Christian of whom know him in the power of His resurrection…or, maybe I should say…those who are well acquainted with the fact, that He truly did come back from the dead…also appeared to his disciples.

    Thomas was invited by Jesus to feel the nail prints within His hands. So, those who also have been convinced by only having His spirit to convince them, having never had the opportunity to feel the nail prints in his hands, as did Thomas: Jesus said blessed are those who have seen and then believed, but greater are the blessings that rest upon those who have never seen, but still believe.

    I am a full time writer and an ordained minister. I have written three books so far. My first book: Reviving the dead church, by reminiscing the day of Pentecost. The second one is: Beyond the Golden Sunset and by the Crystal Sea. My third book: Off to visit the Prophet Elijah, on this one, the contract to publish has been completed and soon the book will be published.
    Warm regards

    William Dunigan -