Self Promotion

ye-olde-fashioned-social-media-40275This is a topic many creative people struggle with for some reason, however most of them I’ve spoken to over the years have admitted to having to either learn how to promote themselves by proxy, or have someone else do it for them.

Even myself, an attention-whoring cocky bastard who strives for nothing but ruffling feathers of all types, didn’t get this way overnight.

In all honesty, I’m not good at self-promotion at all. The only reason I know anything about it at all is because at work we have to evaluate our worth on evaluations every year. Each year, despite what I do above and beyond the ordinary, I write down “I perform my required duties.” My boss pulled my aside and said “Listen, I know you do more than just your job, start listing them out. You help everyone around you. Pretend you are giving them advice on what to write down and instead put your name as the subject instead of their name.”

That made me start thinking, how many other things could this apply to in life?

I know for writing specifically, self-promotion is common. Even authors with multi-book contracts do their own promotional work.

To start, even a beginning writer should have some sort of online home. A basic website listing their works, upcoming titles and appearances; things like this give someone looking for information on an author a central source for their work.

Websites such as WordPress and Wix.com offer free webspace with templates so even people without programming or technical knowledge can put together a web presence without any coding experience. This page you’re on here is a free page hosted on WordPress, using a free template, with a few widgets tied in to round out everything on one site. I plan on making a better one over time, however this works for the time being and best of all: it’s free.

Social media is the other thing that counts as free advertisement. Twitter, for example, is an excellent source for self-promotion for all sorts of media faces. You can find movie stars, musicians, authors, plumbers, all the way down to school kids. Who you follow and who follows you depends solely on what you post or reply to in your daily activities. Because each interaction limits itself to 140 characters, what people can say is usually short and sweet. However, where else can one have a conversation with Kelly Carlin (George Carlin’s hilarious daughter), Lewis Black, Kathy Madigan, Delilah Dawson, Chuck Wendig, and Penn Jillette, without being a serial stalker in Hollywood?

The biggest foul I see on Twitter are people who use the service to ONLY pimp their wares. The quickest way for me to unfollow someone who seems interesting is if most of their tweets involve “Check out my new BLAH {insert link}”. If all day long it’s nothing but this, I’ll delete a dude quicker than A&E dropped Phil Robertson over his stance on gay marriage. Granted, everything I post on WordPress receives an instant link to my twitter feed, however I also interact with multiple people throughout the day to counterbalance the links. At least I try to.

Facebook and Google+ are social media sites where people follow or friend each other and post thoughts and pictures on their updates. It’s more interactive than Facebook, however it isn’t as fast-paced as twitter. Some people post 1 or 2 things a day on Facebook and 200 things on twitter. It’s common to see these types of number, although your mileage will vary.

The point of all this social interaction isn’t to sell anything, and if that’s the main goal, just stop trying now. The point is to make friends and create a networking group of people interested in you, your work, and how you think with the people around you and similar to you. The world today moves in a social group, so to speak. Promotion for creative people works best not by buying large ads on billboards (although that does still work,) but instead to participate in large social groups so when a new project comes out, you can post about it and your friends online spread the word for you. Your “billboard” is the large network you’ve built by interacting with hundreds of people over time while working on projects and stressing through the troubled times.

These people are your companions, your counterparts, and your therapy group – even if they don’t know it. But it’s a great group of people I wouldn’t trade anything for in the world.

-Chris

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4 thoughts on “Self Promotion

  1. Good points Chris. People have grown very weary of self promotion on Twitter and I feel a lot of Twitter users are wary of following authors. Personally I love google+ and goodreads.

      • Though I initially joined it to try and promote my book, I end up talking about other books most of the time. I love writing reviews for books on goodreads. Hope to run into you there someday.

      • I’m on there, because I’m friends with Moses Siregar and he was promoting his first book “The Black Gods War”, and from there the site sucked me in.. It’s one of those things like Linked In where I could spend hours doing more, I just haven’t spent the time to fiddle with all the nooks and crannies inside the site yet… Although I do plan on it, maybe during the holiday break.

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