Luck is What You Make Yourself: Zen and the Art of Shameless Self-Promotion


Every now and then you meet someone who you just know is going to succeed no matter what because they have the characteristics that people would describe as a real go-getter. That person for me is Rachel Thompson (aka @RachelintheOC and @BadRedHeadMedia).

Within minutes of connecting with her on Twitter, she immediately engaged me in conversation. Not the slimy auto DM “Hey <INSERT NEW FOLLOWER NAME HERE SO THEY FEEL SPECIAL> please download my free whatever” conversation yuck, but real conversation BEFORE she launched into her shameless promotion.

You see Rachel knows she has to make her own luck so she takes advantage of conversational situations to build connections and also make people aware of her eBooks. Within that very first conversation, she offered me a free download of her eBook, no strings attached, and not before she engaged with me personally.

That’s how she got invited to write for MOMeo Magazine and I have no doubt that’s how she got profiled in the Huffington Post and the reason why her books, A WALK IN THE SNARK and MANCODE: EXPOSED, have hit #1 on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list multiple times. She consistently looks for opportunities to turn simple conversations into promotional opportunities (without resorting to the slimy push tactics).

Lessons in the Subtle Art of Shameless Self-Promotion

Don’t Be Shy! Tell people what you do! Don’t open with your blatant self-promotion as you will put people off. Use your social savvy – engage with people about their interests and what they do, ask questions and wait for the opportunity to talk about what you do. More often than not, people will invite you to talk about yourself.

Do Your Homework! Research who you are talking to before you jump into the conversation. If it’s in social media, doing your homework is as easy as reading their profile and visiting their web site. At a networking event, it may require a bit of sleuth work to find out who’s in the room. It’s worth the effort to know who you are engaging with as you may be missing important opportunities.

Ask for Help. Remember, asking is free! Because you have already done your research, you likely know how that person can help you. Know what you need help with, the more specific the better, and simply ask. My colleague, Craig Elias, makes it a habit of asking everyone he meets if they have a connection to a particular CEO he’s targeting – eventually he finds someone who can make the personal introduction!

Respect Boundaries. Be aware of and respect boundaries. That’s where shameless self-promotion becomes a subtle art. Continually slamming people with requests is not only annoying, but it’s ineffective. This is where your relationship building skills are essential. Start with the relationship first and foremost, then move into self-promotion.

Focus on Win-Win! Know what you can offer others. Requests that benefit both parties equally tend to go farther than a simple “Can you help me?” Try to figure out an equal trade or make it clear that you are eager to find ways to help them. Asking how you can be of assistance is the best way to break down those sales barriers.

Are you a shameless self-promoter? Share your best self-promotion tips and stories in the comments below!


About Author

Carla Young, Publisher If there’s living proof that women can have it all – and then some – it’s Carla Young. Building her multiple businesses on a virtual work-at-home model, Carla is an inspiration to other mothers who want to start a lifestyle business. During her early days as a mom entrepreneur, Carla made every single mistake in the book (and a few new ones for good measure). Realizing that “doing it all” was unhealthy and unsustainable, Carla started by getting organized to the extreme, developing support systems for both her work and family. After other mothers started asking how they too could enjoy her lifestyle, Carla launched to support moms at work, at home and at play (because every mommy deserves a little me-time)!


  1. Oooh, I’m hoping to see some great tips here! This is an area I struggle with so much. I’m kind of afraid to talk up any of my business stuff because I’m afraid it’s going to annoy people, or worse, that they might say something mean and make my start to doubt myself.

  2. Thank you so much, Carla, for profiling me in a positive light. Many people, women especially, fear or hide their ambition as if it’s a bad trait. Perhaps it’s my sales and marketing background, or simply my social nature, but I’ve always felt that relationship building must come before selling — but not at the expense of it. 

    As to Nathalie’s comment below, I do hear and see that frequently with my clients–that fear and doubt. Having a strong vision and brand is key. As an author, I receive mean comments from readers all the time. I’ve learned not to take them personally. As a businesswoman and someone whom clients come to for my expertise in branding and social media, it’s my job to help people strike that balance between relationship building and selling so they don’t annoy people. 

    I just wrote an article on my BadRedhead Media site for authors about how to sell their books without constantly spamming links on Twitter. Somehow Twitter has become a toxic wasteland of links and it’s sad (Mondays being the exception given that it’s #MentionMonday, a promotional blog meme — promote your blog, retweet others — there’s a tip for your readers!). 

    Anyway, thanks again and if anyone has questions for me or would like to speak further, you gave my info in the article. Thx again, Carla! 

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE Ms. Rachel. She’s a super supportive writer and person, but more importantly, she knows how to help authors promote their brands. Great post!

  4. I think engaging with your following goes a long way. I don’t have a book to promote (although I do promote my blog a little) so most of my time is spent engaging as groundwork for the day when I DO have a book to promote. I’ve just now asked for some love in the form of votes for a competition I’m in, and the response has been surprisingly good.

    Rachel is definitely on to something. 

  5. Dionnewriter on

    I love common sense advice, and Rachel is cool (and not just because of the red hair) 🙂 Great post, thanks.

  6. Rachel rocks, and she’s always willing to share information with other tweeps.  Great lady.

  7. I agree with everything you wrote here, Carla. What a kind and generous person you are as well to highlight one of the best peeps writing today.

  8. Aw, thanks Ms. Christi. Big hugs to you and I so enjoy the entire process of working with authors. When you succeed, we all do. It’s fun and a learning process each time.

  9. You’re so smart to go about it this way, Ciara. Developing a following pre-release is a critical step that most authors don’t do, so kudos there. You’re clearly a talented writer and spending time learning your genre and craft, not rushing in is equally important– I have such respect for you, girlfriend. Plus you make me laugh. 🙂

  10. My gosh, you all are making me feel so special. I’m verklempt. No, that’s just the fatigue. :)) Seriously, thank you, Kelly. I’m happy to share. It’s in my nature to want people to succeed. It makes me frustrated when they don’t, when I know if they just do this, and this, and that…grrr. Thanks so much for your support and comments, as always. 

  11. Carla ROCKS. It was pretty genius of me to find her and make her famous, wasn’t it?  Seriously, she does great things for women, women in business, and people in general. I’m honored to know her and to be profiled here. Thanks for the comments, Justin. 

  12. Great article. Excellent to see Rachel get the recognition she deserves. 
    The best thing to help promote me is to promote others and network in a genuine way. 

    Rachel gives back, so she is always someone I will go the extra mile to help out … oh and let’s not forget, she’s a great writer which certainly helps her ability to promote. I predict huge success for BadRedheadMedia.


  13. Sweet Eden. Thank so much, luv. There is such a sense of community with writers like yourself and the others here who do promote one another but not only that — we READ each other’s work. I love that. I’m excited to read your next book SPRING INTO SUMMER and continue working on #IndiesUnite4Joshua. 

  14. Pingback: #FREEeBOOK: The Mancode: Exposed CAN BE YOURS! via @RachelintheOC

  15. I love this conversation because at the root of it all honesty and integrity are your best tools for success. Great job ladies!

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