While I’m more than happy to praise and promote the work of others, ‘talking up’ my own work goes against the grain. Even when I co-owned an Ad Agency in Sydney, (surely the most self-promotional industry of all), I recall a client accusing us of ‘hiding our light under a bushel’ for not promoting our success.

I guess this could be a Kiwi thing in that we prefer to do and not say. There is also the immutable fact that, like most of you, I consider shameless self-promoters (no matter how successful they might be in their chosen fields) to be complete wankers. Self-promotion lacks dignity in my view. It’s just not the done thing.

However … staying quiet isn’t always the best course. While it’s true that ‘Empty vessels make the most noise,’ it’s also true that ‘The noisy wheel gets the oil.’

And staying quiet can be detrimental even.

The reason I’ve recently begun to expose my music on Facebook is because upon returning to live in New Zealand it soon became clear to me that I was a complete unknown to at least two generations of Kiwis. I was now ‘John Who?’

Much of this is down to the fact that — despite massive record sales and multi-awards in the 70s — there were no videos of me. If you are an artist who pre-dates video it’s easy to be cast in to the Forgotten bin here in NZ.

In my case, however, it was also because I had failed to promote my more recent work. Failed to keep myself in the public eye. While I had been making music again since the mid 1990s few, if any, Kiwis were aware of it. Because I hadn’t been promoting or performing — albeit that there were good reasons for the latter.

To a very small degree I am redressing this with the aforementioned Facebook posts. And on a global scale people are increasingly finding me (mostly my new songs) online. I’m sure this latter trend could be vastly improved if I had videos for my songs, but cost rules this out. Also lack of expertise on my part.

We should all learn from our mistakes. And the reason for the gentle rant above is that I have now launched my first book of short stories and I have no intention of staying quiet about it.

That’s why to start this blog I’ve featured a grab from my first Five Star review by an online reviewer in Dublin. His entire review filled me with a kind of joy.

I will shamelessly promote such things in the near future. And I implore you to do the same if you buy and enjoy the book in whatever format you prefer.

If you like it, tell everyone. Post reviews on whatever book site you get it from. Spread the word.

Let’s shout it from the rooftops — ‘John Hanlon has written a bunch of stories that entertain, amuse, delight and surprise. Extraordinary stories about ordinary people. You’ll love it.’

Expect to hear more from me about this. My self-promotional silence is broken.

I hope you are staying safe during this strange and dangerous time. If you are in lockdown, I hope you have a good book to read.

Stealing Smokes: Some Surprising Short Stories by John Hanlon

Available from Amazon or other favourite online booksellers