Thursday, May 1, 2014

Real Norwegians Don’t Toot Their Own Horns


Congratulations to "Julie O" the winner of Lizbeth's giveaway! Thank you to all who participated.

Hey there! 

Hi! 

Sorry to bother you. I just wanted to tell you that last month I finaled in the RWA RITA contest, and soon this month I’m going to start running some little promotion contests. Maybe, if you want, if you ever had time, you could come and visit my Facebook page and see what’s up. 

Are you hooked yet? What? No?

I’ll have you know that in Minnesota, where I was born and bred, that first paragraph contained some pretty powerful horn-tooting. Plus, it has the perfect kind of apology to make it palatable.   My agent and my editor both tell me starting with an apology is not to tolerated. But it’s hard to change Norwegians in the middle of a stream. 
What I mean is, it’s been very difficult to learn to promote like a real author while my grandmother’s Norwegian blood courses through my veins begging me to apologize at the slightest hint of self-aggrandizement. 

Add together this Scandinavian propensity for self-deprecation and my Minnesota birthright and that’ll explain why my aversion to self-promotion is locked in at the DNA level.  One of the things “Minnesota Nice” really means is that we’re taught to praise others while putting ourselves down, even though we really want praise too.  It’s complicated, but other Minnesotans get it. We totally know how to handle a properly constructed compliment. 

First you give it, after which it’s brushed off, then you give it again with an, ‘oh-don’t-be-so-modest’ type addition, then the person shrugs and says something scintillating like ‘yeah, thanks, it is cool I guess.”  

This necessary repartee confuses anyone else in the world because it smacks of passive aggressive fishing for compliments. But we are totally sincere. The DNA thing is real. 

Let me explain, and I’ll use the RITA example because, well, I’m a rebel, and my grandma—Heaven rest her soul—is not going to read this. 

Let’s say someone—friend or relative, it doesn’t matter—greets me and says, “Congratulations on that RITA final.” Here are a couple of appropriate responses along with what they mean anywhere else in the world:

“Oh, gosh, thanks. It was a big surprise—I got so lucky with the judges!”
Translation: “I was jumping up and down I was so surprised. My peers really liked it!”

“Oh, well, thank you. Isn’t that quite a fluke?”
Translation: “Oh, thank you!”

See inside, real Norwegians are going, “Holy cow, I’m so happy; they like me! Squeee!” just like any normal person. But if they were to say something like that out loud it might make them look puffed up and unapproachable. Or it might be vain. 

Heaven knows, we don’t want to be unapproachable. Or vain.

This is why, up until now, I haven’t much mentioned my RITA final—it’s uncomfortable from my DNA on up. Unfortunately, being undeserving and self-deprecating doesn’t get an author’s very darn far! I’ve learned over time that the only way to get new readers is for writers to be efficient and tactful self-promo experts. Yeah. Still working on that.

But, I’ve got cool things to celebrate, so I’m gritting my teeth and doing a little horn-tooting
right here by rewriting that wimpy first paragraph. How’s this?

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to introduce you (or maybe re-introduce you) to my 2014 RITA finalist book, “Rescued by a Stranger.” I’m prouder than I can say to be in the Long Contemporary category with seventeen of my biggest romance author heroes (below). I hope you’ll check out my story! Hey, it’s a RITA finalist. Toot, toot!

(I’d also invite everyone to check out and Like my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/lizbethselvigauthor. And I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter at the same time, because I have new book news coming out very soon and I’ll announce it to my newsletter crew first!

Giveaway:
That wasn’t really so hard. Now tell me what things sometimes hold you back or make you nervous, excited or embarrassed. I’ve got a set of my first two e-books for one randomly drawn commenter.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 2nd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. 


29 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Lizbeth. LOL about the apology -- you'd make a good Canadian. ;) I'm the same way -- I'm sure people think I am fishing for compliments but I'm not. Most times I am genuinely surprised.

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    1. Hi Leah! Yay, I've found a soulmate! I actually think there are lots of heritages that claim "undeserving-ness," but some of us have honed it to an art form! Glad I'm in good company. And, btw, WAY back in 1987 my husband, kids and I lived in Toronto for a year. It was one of the best times of my life--I'd be proud to be an honorary Canadian :-). Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Liz,
    You make me laugh so hard with your apologetic acknowledgements! I cracked up through the whole post. You have so much tooting to do. Hmmm. Not sure that sounded right. But, seriously, you're an amazing writer and deserve to be exactly where you. When I see you at Nationals and congratulate you, this is what I expect to hear: "Thanks so much! I'm glad to be in such great company, and happy that my book touched people." Or something similar. :-) With a bright smile and not a bashful shrug off. Got it?? Congrats again, Liz!!

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    1. Okay, Kim, I will do that just for you! Thanks, my friend. You always make me smile and I can't wait to see you in San Antonio. By then I'll have the undeserving genes whipped into submission. So glad you stopped by!!

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  3. Congratulations on the RITA nomination, Liz. I'm half Norwegian, too and have a terrible time tooting. :) When people compliment me, my brain thinks, "They don't mean that. They're just being nice." I'm working on that though.

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    1. Ahhh, Stephanie, you ROCK, my Norwegian sister. What you say is SO TRUE. People don't understand how real those worries are. We have to be strong together. LOL. Thanks so much for coming by and letting me know I'm not alone out here!

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  4. My lady you must have English blood somewhere.
    Compliment "Wow nice dress" reply "Oh its really old. And so cheap."

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    1. This HAS to be the English person who brings me the most JOY!! I love that response to a compliment. It feels so ... right! LOL Hugs for coming by! XXX

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  6. So funny. All Minnesotans have issues with accepting compliments, man or woman. Maybe that's why we sometimes find it hard to celebrate our accomplishments too. I know I have a habit of smiling, saying yay, and then putting my nose to the grindstone again. Definitely not a proper celebration.

    Congratulations on your RITA nomination, Liz! I'll be there to see you win.

    Tami

    P.S. No need to put me in the drawing. I already have your books.

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    1. Hey Tami -- first of all, it's so cool that you'll be in San Antonio -- promoting your own wonderful book ("Once Upon a Masquerade" - everyone. Awesome.) And, yes, we Minnesotans have to stick together. It's debatable whether we lift each other up and make things better or just wallow sometimes, but either way we do "get" this syndrome! Thanks for coming by, my friend!

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  8. Dear Liz, huge congratulations on the Rita. Yes, you do deserve it. Very funny post, I've decided I must have a Norwegian in my woodpile, the promo is the HARDEST part of this crazy business.

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    1. Hi my dearest DeNise!
      Thank you! (With no apologies :-) ) A Norwegian in your wood pile! How unnerving--they're kind of hard to get rid of! Can't wait to see you in San Antone! Love you!

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  9. I know you Liz!! And this is exactly you !!
    Congratulations on your RITA final.
    ~Angi

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    1. Sad AND wonderful that you know me so well. It's good to have a support system :-) Thanks Angi--you are awesome.

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  10. Congrats on your RITA nomination Liz! Maybe I have a little bit of Norwegian blood because I can't take a compliment directly. Have to laugh it off, don't you know?

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  11. I'm from Alaska, not Minnesota, but I understand this completely! I also have a hard time with self-promoton. It took years before I could talk about my writing without blushing, my subconscious saying, "Oh, don't mind me, I'm not really a writer."

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    1. I always knew there was this BOND between us Lynn! I hope that "not really a writer" is starting to change now. Because you ARE! (Check out "Fool's Gold" by Lynn Lovegreen everyone!)

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  12. Congrats! Not sure

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  13. Go, Liz! I think if one is both Norwegian and Minnesotan but ALSO went to law school and beats the snot out of people on a weekly basis on the basketball court, one tends to lose the "aw shucks" demeanor. At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it! p.s. to show JUST how Norwegian I am, my dad's middle name was Odin. :-)

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    1. Yeah, I see that you've overcome much--it's probably that teensy bit of Wisconsinite in you :-) And Odin is a good one. My great aunts were all Lena, Nora, Inga and my grandpa, who had a normal name had a brother name Lyder--and there were Knute, Narve the great grandpas. Sounds like we come from the same sort of stock all right!

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  14. We need to hang out together Lizbeth! I'm the total opposite. When someone tells me. "Hey, great job" or "That was amazing" ....I get all "damn straight! I'm awesome". But, in my head. I'll be "how the heck did I do that?" or "that was a lucky break".

    As far as embarrassing or awkward... I'm a 6' tall woman and nothing rattles me more than talking into a crowded room and realizing even the men are only shoulder high to me. That is where the false bravado kicks in with a hair flip and a it's good to be up here attitude. It takes a lot to not slouch and try to make myself smaller.

    Now congratulations on your RITA nomination. This is where you say Thanks! I am awesome aren't I? :)

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    1. Forgot email: blameitonabook at gmail dot

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    2. Hi Julie!
      You rock. And so do I! We really should hang out together. We'd be a total Mutt and Jeff team since I'm all of 5'1" ! Thank you for the compliment -- I am awesome aren't I? LOL -- will you be in either New Orleans or San Antonio? If so -- I'll be your little Mini Me? Thanks, Julie!

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  15. I wish I was going to be at either place, but my travel plans were already made when I discovered these amazing author / reader parties existed. Yes, I have been living in a tall hole. Next year I WILL be attending a get together... any ideas where I can keep up with information on them as the details are released?

    And, when we do meet and form an awesome duo ... I would much rather be Lizbeth Selvig, award nominated author's, Maxi-me. LOL... that's even what I would put on my name tag!

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  16. I'm late to party! This is so true - Don't 'cha know! But you deserve all the accolades we can pour on you!

    Congratulations --- Nan

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