I’m not someone who is comfortable bragging about themselves. I think it’s due to being an introvert at heart. I can get up in front of a crowded room to speak, I can mix and mingle at parties, and I can be active on social media. But at the end of the day, I’m far more comfortable within the confines of my house with my dogs, my partner, and a glass of wine.
Unfortunately, being an independent writer means I have to don my extrovert costume and try to draw attention to my creative output. It’s one of those things that isn’t terrible to deal with. Interacting with readers and other writers can be inspiring and motivating. But at the same time, I do find it awkward and uncomfortable.
I’m sure other creative types feel the same way. Artists tend to be introverts. We work in solitude, alone, just us and our medium – pen and paper, paint and canvas, camera and film – but at the same time we also have a need for our work to be seen. I’m not sure if it that’s due to self-esteem or just a need to be noticed.
For me, I have this need to express myself, my ideas. And yes, I feel a sense of satisfaction when someone – especially a stranger – reads or hears or sees something I’ve created and enjoys it. To have someone tell me they read one of my stories and liked it is just about the best feeling in the world. I’m not expecting to change the world. All I want to do is give someone an escape, a distraction, and a little entertainment.
But to do so, I have to get noticed. That’s the tough part. I’m not comfortable standing on a chair in the middle of a crowded room and yelling “Look at me!”. Ugh. I’d much rather pass out copies of a story and quietly walk away. However, it doesn’t work that way. People like to see a face, a name, to interact.
In a way, I guess I’m lucky because I have access to things that allow me to market myself. Twenty to twenty-five years ago there wasn’t much in the way of self-marketing. E-books weren’t much of a thing yet. Social media was relegated to bulletin boards and message boards. There wasn’t a Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. I still submitted my short stories through the U.S. Postal Service. It was a different time.
Now I have several social media accounts I manage where I post updates about myself and my creative projects. I interact with people from around the world, exchanging ideas and suggestions, buying copies of their books to support them, and hoping they’ll return the favor.
Self-marketing is an interesting game. On the one hand it’s awkward and time consuming, but on the other hand it has its perks. I get to talk about my creative process, share my output, and get feedback from complete strangers on the other side of the planet. That’s amazing.
I guess we all have to step outside our comfort zones every now and then. Sure, it can be difficult, but it does have rewards. That’s what I need to focus on and be grateful that I get to meet and interact with other artists. I’m lucky to have that opportunity.
4 thoughts on “Self-Marketing”
It feels awkward to me too sometimes. There’s a fine line between turning people into a number’s game & making genuine connections.
As artists, I feel like our works express things we can’t articulate well otherwise. Not that writers who write serial killers are serial killers, but that something shined through them onto paper to make that story.
When somebody likes or appreciates my work it’s like, for a moment, they see that facet of me.
Is it like that for you?
Absolutely, Lila. I believe that we always include a piece of ourselves in our stories. It might be something obvious or maybe subtle, but there’s always a trace. I also think that may be part of the reason why I find it awkward, because it’s like I’m selling a piece of myself.
That’s something to think about. I may have to write a follow-up post on this.
I totally agree with you Richard. This is something I have noticed over time as well. People need to interact in order to sell. Sales as it takes place in real life works like that. I have learned sales formally to understand how to sell my book. I recommend you do a course in Sales. It will help a lot! There are lots of psychological techniques you can apply when you are making the sale. For instance, notice how the hashtag #WritersLift is actually working. Its called the Jones Theory. Its mentioned here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closing_(sales) This page offers other techniques as well. Another technique that works in real life is showing the logo and brand at least six times in order to generate one sale. But, I don’t know how this would change when we are selling online. Just a couple of thoughts! Its a different struggle selling online. Its not like selling in person. There are a whole set of techniques that one can use easily in online setting. But, I do feel interacting with people is very important. Good topic!
Thanks for the information! I’ll read up on the Jones Theory…sounds like a useful tool.