Working the Platform: The Art of Genuine Engagement and Shameless Self-Promotion

I released my novel, Love Lost on Cloud 9, a week ago, and after six solid months of planning its launch, I almost immediately wanted to pack it all in when it came to promoting it via social media. Even though early readers were loving it, even though it got great reviews from sites like Kirkus Reviews and, when it came to shouting about it from “my platform,” I felt about as phony as a counterfeit dollar bill at a lemonade stand.

Cover image of K.C. Brote's novel, Love Lost on Cloud 9

In the world of social media marketing, finding the perfect balance between genuine engagement and shameless self-promotion can feel like walking a tightrope. I know I feel kind of gross when I’m trying to “figure out” what kind of reel will get the most eyeballs on Instagram, or when I work my book into a comment thread in a Facebook group post. It’s a delicate dance that requires finesse and mindfulness to maintain your sanity while building an audience and promoting your work. 

While authentic engagement is crucial, shameless self-promotion does have its place in the social media realm. After all, I’m an author with stories to share! I’m finding that the key is to find creative ways to promote myself without forgetting who I am. I will never be the polished author-slash-marketer with the perfectly staged bookshelves behind me and beautifully edited reels, and if I try to be, y’all are going to see right through me. I will be the author with stupid memes and pop culture references and the best Vegas tips around, while I also try to sell you my stories.

At the heart of social media lies the power to connect and engage with your audience on a personal level, and that is what I find interesting, and where my goals with all this madness lie. Genuine engagement is about fostering conversations, building relationships, and creating a community. I am truly interested in my readers’ lives, and love to respond to comments and provide value and connection beyond self-promotion. I think by genuinely connecting with an audience, you establish trust and loyalty, which goes a long way in promoting your brand. Maybe it can even transcend it. I’d sure like to try.

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