(Mis)Adventures in Marketing the Me

I didn’t have a DIYDay post in me this week. I don’t feel qualified to “teach” on this subject since I suck at it. But I am learning.

OystersMineFor example, I have learned that a well-made graphic will draw thousands of eager eyes. A graphic is like the three-second window into YOU, which has massive appeal in today’s world of  overstimulation, information overload and short attention spans. We can’t help it. We’re all busy people! We no longer have 30 seconds for the elevator pitch, there are too many of them vying for our attention.

Give us something worth looking at, do a double take, and then come back to find out more. An invaluable lesson learned: A site banner will signal what kind of site you are running. A graphic advertisement will decide whether people click on it or not. An author picture will have you judged from appearances alone (so make sure it’s professional!).  A book cover will make or break your book.

Now here is the problem with fantastic graphics: Where do you put them?? One side will answer, “Everywhere!” while another will say, “Consider the strategic advantages of each location and go with the one that will pack the most punch.” Yeah, that one is up to you, because I have no clue. With so many advertisements everywhere these days, people condition themselves not to look anymore. It’s not a challenge anymore, it’s a war zone and the winning side gets the business.

Billboards

Networking is supposed to be a good one. Word of mouth. You’d think that would be easier than creating a graphic. And it probably is–for extroverts. Going up to someone and sparking conversation out of thin air always seems like magic to me, the kind which I don’t possess. Whenever someone comes up to me and says hi, I always look over my shoulder to see who they’re talking to. When asked what I do/write, I can never find the right words, even though I may have rehearsed them a time or ten…thousand.

concert crowd in motion

But “You can write,” you say to me.  “You should take it online! Network on social media. Type out your heart and people will respond to you like gees to the pied piper.” This is a concept I have heard of before and never could figure out how to implement until recently when a PR minion’s good hearted effort took my friends list on Facebook from 60 to 900. For the first few days this was happening, I sat there, watching the number rise, my jaw on the floor. And then the question became, “Now what?”

CurtainSee? Back to square one. Sparking conversation out of thin cyber air. I am learning slowly, though. For example, I have business cards now. Yes, I can see why you would be making a “Huh?” face at me, but it’s true. Not that I go places where I could be handing them out, but they’re good to have anyway. A possible conversation starter (?) lol I also somehow managed to make friends with some truly amazing people who seem to want to help me out and spread the word about my books for some unfathomable reason. That must mean this networking thing really works, right?

But the biggest lesson I have learned is that for an author without an agent/publicist, marketing oneself truly NEVER stops. It’s not all book launch parties and then silence until the next release. Playing the recluse and being mysterious no longer works. Trust me, I tried. Keeping the juggernaut (whatever size it may be) going is… oh, how should I put this… a monumental pain in the backside. It forces you to be engaged in the outside world while actively trying to escape it into whatever universe you are writing at the time. If you have a full-time day job like I do, well, you do the math. There are only so many directions the mind can be stretched before something snaps loose. There is a thin line between genius and madness, and every artist or writer will walk it at one point or another for whatever length of time.  Ever wonder why creative people are so eccentric? Here is your answer.

But we still have the best jobs in the world. 🙂 Write on, my friends. Write on.

Disclaimer: For the sake of being consistent, here is my marketing pitch of the day: Like me on Facebook, Follow me on Twiter, Buy my books on Amazon, B&N, Sony, iTunes

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