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.