Come on baby, let’s do that self-promotion*

University of Queensland Master of Writing, Editing and Publishing student and Senior Communications Officer Katie Rowney reflects on the nerve-wracking process of promoting yourself when your day job is promoting other people. Katie’s debut novel, Front Page News, was selected from Penguin’s slush pile and will be published on 16 May 2016. Writing this post made her extremely uncomfortable…

So it’s May. Not only a great month because we're creeping towards winter and maybe this ridiculous Queensland heat will cease, but also a great month because my debut novel, Front Page News, is hitting shelves. It’s going to be out there in the wild, like a real book. Which I guess means I should start telling people about it.

I know, I know. I have this whole website where all I do is talk about the book. I mention it in my Twitter bio. One might assume, looking at these two pieces of evidence, I prattle about my book non-stop.

I do not.

Here’s how bad I am at telling people I have a book coming out – I spent four days volunteering at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival last September, and managed to only tell one person there I had written a book. I started my Masters in Writing, Editing and Publishing this year and so far only one of my classmates knows I’m a writer. And she found out via Twitter. A colleague outed me to another colleague in the lunch room the other day and I threatened to throw up if they kept talking about my book. This book, Front Page News, was my first ever attempt at writing a novel – I never actually thought anyone would read it! I haven’t mentally prepared for this. Even on social media, I’m hesitant to share the news, as evidenced below.


Shh, don't tell anyone about this book business.


This is exceptionally hard for people to believe, especially once they’ve met me in real life, but I’m actually very shy. Oh, I’m happy to talk to anyone, and I’m overly friendly, and don’t care if I come off looking like an idiot due to my enthusiasm about just about everything (Dinosaurs! Science! Music! Cooking! Snakes! EVERYTHING!). But when it comes to talking about myself, I just clam up. Part of it probably comes from my religious upbringing – generations of humble missionaries run through my blood and while my family is very loud about singing the praises of one another, we don’t praise ourselves very much. I think going through a pretty torturous time in high school didn’t help either; being six-foot tall with glasses and a penchant for taking your pet chook to school in your backpack tends to attract a few bullies. And I’ve spent my entire adult life promoting others, as a journalist and as a communications officer. When you’ve spent years meeting and interviewing prime ministers, hero pilots, scientists that are curing cancer… well, writing a book doesn’t seem that impressive.


But it is impressive (well, at least to my mother), and I’m doing a huge disservice to myself and the lovely team at Penguin who’ve put so much effort in if I keep hiding this book away. So. You’ve been warned. Prepare for a few more social media posts, and a bit more big-noting of myself, and possibly even some kind of launch event…

*Title best sung to the tune of Kylie Minogue’s Locomotion.

And if you don't like the plot, it doubles as a cat bed.


Last updated:
11 May 2016