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It seems that self-promotion is now part and parcel of being a writer, whether self or traditionally published. But where should the line be drawn?

Discovering that Marcel Proust, the creator of the iconic In Search of Lost Time, cunningly wrote a critic’s review citing the first volume Swann’s Way as a ‘little masterpiece … almost too luminous for the eye’ will hardly shock anyone in the business today. Proust was just ahead of his time.

Authors are bombarded with advice on how to promote their books, especially on social media. While it isn’t ever suggested that posting fake reviews of their own work is a good idea, the advice to authors is relentless, even ruthless, enough. There is no room for shrinking violets in this game.

Readers certainly like to be informed about a new book by an author but they may well begin to feel annoyed and manipulated if the chasing is too hard-boiled. Like ‘an insane cuckoo clock’ was the expression describing it that caught my eye when researching the subject on the internet. Is this what marketing on social media can turn into? The last thing many writers feel like being part of.

But I can feel Proust egging me on. Maybe not to write a lyrical review about a ‘little masterpiece’ of my own, but to point to a couple of prize-winning short stories in ninevoices’ writings. Maggie Davies’ Till Death Do Us Part won a Henshaw Press competition and Tanya van Hasselt’s Marshmallow Truth won the subscribers ‘Changes’ competition in Writing Magazine. Whilst the writing style in the latter story is nothing like that of my two self-published novels, it was both fun and fulfilling to try something new. Thank you Writing Magazine for this encouragement.