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 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!

1 comment:

Kevin Daly said...

It's very difficult for me to self-promote. I didn't start blogging with that intent, it was more informal and random. But I slowly started to build up readership due to google searches and other bloggers linking my site.

I'm still not very good at it, but in the last year or so I caved and have signed up for Networked Blogs on Facebook and tweet. My readership is up and growing. It's still something I'm not entirely comfortable doing, but I'm learning and getting better at it!

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