I was raised to be polite. Foisting oneself on others was not a polite thing to do. One did not interrupt one's conversational partners to talk about oneself, nor did one boast about one's own achievements or even the reflected glory of a family member's achievements. I was taught that all of these behaviors made a person tiresome company.
I still believe that these behaviors make for bad conversation and strained personal relationships. Unfortunately, those beliefs about personal relationships have nothing to do with success in business. And authorship is entrepreneurship, in this day and age. Because success in entrepreneurship depends on self-promotion, many successful entrepreneurs are not very enjoyable company. Or, if they are interesting, it's in a trainwreck kind of vainglorious way, like Donald Trump.
I do think it's possible to learn to promote oneself in a professional sphere while retaining good manners and a pleasant personality in private life.
I was nonetheless embarrassed today to be carrying around a self-promotion guide entitled Get Slightly Famous. Help! I don't want fame. I just want people to read my novels. But, despite the title, it's a good book, and I can see why a well-known agent recommended it.
I couldn't agree more with J. M Barrie, who said:
“Fame is rot; daughters are the thing.”