I am terrible at Marketing. I have been realising this and coming to this conclusion as I try and wade into the world of crowdfunding. I really am. I’m awful at it.
My writing is good. Very good, sometimes. I believe in what I am doing right to my gut, I believe in crowdfunding as a model for lots of reasons, but mostly because it takes all the middle men out of the game, and means I can deal directly with my fans, my readers, the people who love my work. And I love that. I believe in my art. I believe it is good enough. and I believe it will only get better. I believe in making up my own rules about how this should work, and I know I’m still working that out, and the truth is I will probably keep working it out even if I reach a point where the words “wildly successful” might be applied.
But I keep coming back to the fact that I suck at marketing. For a couple of reasons. Mostly significantly, I still have that voice in the back of my head that Amanda Palmer talks about in her Ted talk. (And, by the way,if you haven’t watched that yet, you really should.) She is my hero. I swear, the more I read her words, the more I hear her music, the more I see the way she does things, professionally and personally, the more I like her. I don’t always agree with her, and I like that too, because she embraces that.
Anyway, I digress. I have that voice. the one saying, “Who the hell are you to ask people for money for art? To want to make a living from this thing you do? Who the hell are you to break all the rules? GET A REAL JOB.” And it makes it really really difficult for me to wade into the marketing stuff unhindered. I want to say something like, “This thing I am making is worthwhile and beautiful, and I love it, and you will too, and I think it will benefit both of us if you buy it.” But I have no idea how to say that in a compelling way. Which seems crazy to me, because WORDS ARE MY THING.
But this is different. When I am writing a story, I can feel the truth of the story. Sometimes I feel it in that cannot be denied way, when the words flow and everything falls out of me onto the page. Sometimes I feel it in a more distant blood from a stone way. But I always know it’s there. I can always touch it to some extent.
Marketing doesn’t feel that way to me. Marketing feels like lies. Not because I don’t think that the thing I am offering is worth what I am asking for it – THAT I do believe – but because the scripts of marketing all seem to feel hollow to me. And I don’t know how to break those rules, because I don’t entirely understand them.
I have been doing a lot of reading about marketing strategies online. (I hate that word – strategy – like it’s a battle, like it’s all about conning people out of their money.) And so far one thing has resonated with me. I can’t now find the article it came from, but the gist of it was that if you really want people to buy into your thing, you have to be willing to be vulnerable, real, stick your passion out there. It said, “Hitting ‘post’ should be scary, you should hesitate, because you’re showing so much of yourself”. (I’m paraphrasing.) And while I think living on the edge like that all the time is probably impossible, I think there’s something there. I think people respond to that passion, that realness, that vulnerability.
I can find that thing in my writing. I often have that there. I just don’t know how to do it in a marketing environment. I suspect it has something to do with overcoming my overwhelming fear of rejection. That I will pour my heart and soul out into the world, and the world will go, “Meh, whatevs.”
Which, I suppose, is the whole point. That is always a risk when you show your soft underbelly. Some knight will jab it with a sword.
I don’t really have any answers. I just wanted to put this out there, maybe as a start in doing the thing that article said. Showing my real. I do have the “eee scary” publish button feeling, so maybe I am doing it right. 😉