When we recommend clients begin promoting their books and other work on social media, we overwhelmingly get the same response: “Do I have to?” Unless you are a salesperson, odds are, the idea of promoting yourself feels very uncomfortable. You’re not alone. Some people never reach the levels of success they could — because self-promotion feels so onerous.

We want you to be successful, so we offer a few ideas to help you overcome your fear of promoting your work.

What’s the worst that can happen?

This is one of those questions psychologists often pose to help us fight fears. So what is the worst that can happen when you promote your work? You might annoy a few people . . . you might also sell your books, elevate your profile, and land some media or influencer interest. The benefits are worth the risks.

Change your mindset.

Selling books isn’t the same as selling used cars. Focusing less on selling and more on promoting ideas and thought leadership can make the process easier. Your work will make a difference for your readers. Put your promotion behind those transformative ideas and your book will sell itself.

Ignore the spotlight.

We all think everyone is focused on us, but the truth is, they are not. Psychologists call this the spotlight effect. Ignore those ideas, and post and share as frequently as makes sense to reach a larger audience. Same goes for repeating content. Social algorithms and the speed of social will mean very few, if any people, will see your repeated content.

Follow the leaders. 

There are so many people who are excellent at self-promotion. Follow their lead. What you’ll notice is that they promote their work on their websites, social media, email marketing, and more. They repeat content. They focus on ideas. They also make no apologies. Check out these excellent self-promoters: Michael Hyatt, Brendon Bruchard, and Marie Forleo.

Will you sell books without self-promotion? Yes, you will. But you’ll sell many more books and get your ideas in front of more people with a little effort. Most people want to support you, they just need to be asked. Conquer your fears, ask for help, promote your work. You’ll be surprised at the results.

What’s your biggest fear about promoting yourself?