Self-Promotion Does Not Come Naturally (At Least To Me)

In the scheme of things, talking about the work you’ve done in writing a book should be one of the easier parts, right? After all, we’ve done all of the research, written thousands of words, found hundreds of images, and put it all together over the course of months.

With the manuscripts for our latest two books in the final stages of proofing, now is the time to start thinking about getting the word out about both of them. I’m not sure why this is difficult for me, but it is. Even though technically I am promoting the books we’ve written, it seems like you essentially have to promote yourself as an interesting expert worthy of someone’s time and money.

The thing is: I am that. (And, I can’t tell you how hard it was to write that sentence.)

My question is why? Why do I shy away from talking about the work I’ve done? I’ve always been very confident in my ability to do the work. I’ve had incredibly supportive parents, teachers, professors, and bosses my entire life. I have a degree in astrophysics, a graduate degree in science journalism, a long career with two interesting agencies (NASA and Smithsonian), and I will have co-written three published science books by the end of the year.


And, yet, I am reluctant to talk about it.

Is it because I am a woman? I wouldn’t think so since I’ve never felt held back or limited because of my gender. However, studies have shown that women are less likely to discuss their accomplishments than men.

This disturbs me greatly. As a mother, I want my two daughters to be as fearless as my two sons. I never want any of my kids to be hesitant to be proud of their achievements and themselves -- and have the ability to communicate that with poise and grace.

I am beginning to realize that the best way to teach them that is to show them how it’s done. So it’s time to get out of my comfort zone and put myself and my work out there in ways that I didn’t really do with my first book. I’m not sure that self-promotion will ever come easily to me, but it’s time to get over it.

Let’s start with this upcoming weekend. I’ll be one of the featured authors at the 10th Annual Literary Voices Dinner held by the University of Washington Friends of the Library event. I’m looking forward to talking with people who write, read, and love books, while supporting a great cause. Hope to see some of you there!


#sciencewriting #gendernorms #women

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