Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Self-promotion ... Eek! Ouch! Yiii!
It's a serious, heavy-duty, full-time-part-time chore. It's an obligation, a responsibility, if you're an artist -- you can't be an artist if no one is aware of your art.
What do you need to do to sell tickets to your show -- to sell what you're doing -- to get people to read your book or buy your painting, or whatever it is that you're creating in your place, your theater, your shop -- wherever it is that you display your wares?
Throughout my professional life, publicizing myself has been a problem. I think my work is interesting-- hell, I know it is, but somehow I don't say or do the right thing. I'm friendly -- sometimes too friendly. I'm arty -- often too arty, also sometimes kooky. I'm definitely shy so I bend over backward to be outgoing and end up being (sometimes), embarrassingly outrageous.
Two years ago, when my "big" novel didn't get sold, I worked with a great web designer, evolved TheReadery.com for my novels, and started Em's Talkery. Right away, I got an email invitation from Linkedin, (a dear PR friend said she'd joined, so I did, too).
Browsing online, I noticed a SHARE button, and lots of names -- Digg, Stumbleupon, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Craigslist -- a bunch of other names of social networking Websites -- that help you promote what you're doing on the Web.
The Readery got visitors, but only three people were reading my blog. I spent umpteen hours, brain time, and creative energy trying to figure out how to promote my blog on Digg. Yowy -- I couldn't join without giving my life history. I tried joining some other sites, but they were even more complicated, and asked for names of my "friends." Dammit, I wanted strangers reading my blog, not friends!
Back on Digg I finally crammed one sentence into the requisite spot, then -- yikes I couldn't publish it on Digg without inserting my own name -- dumb rule - Em couldn't tell folks that Em thought her blog was great! All my labors were an utter waste of time.
Okay, I've self-promoted my NY performances, a biography about me, my novels, my plays, my Dance Drama Company, JC's and my Saturday p.m. performances on Broadway -- been on radio and TV talk shows, had my picture in all the major papers, all the magazines, hired press agents, sent out thousands of brochures -- even had life-size posters of me on street corners all over New York City.
All this publicity worked for a week, two weeks maybe, sold some tickets, made a little money -- cost a mountain of money and where am I -- not unknown, but I'm not famous
Well, I read the other day that Digg was not doing well -- I found myself smiling evilly, delightedly -- it was worth $130 million a few years ago and now it's worth only a mere $20 million.
Look out you social networking guys -- hey Facebook and Twitter -- you don't have a product like Apple, or HP, you're a show! Like a sitcom, you're ephemeral -- people flock in for a while, but they get bored and move on.
Okay, I'm self-promoting, but at least I've got a product!