More on Self Promotion

Social Media Tips

Self-promotion. The forest we try to navigate each day. If you sell a product, no matter what product, you walk this tightrope. It’s not as simple as shouting, buy my stuff, from my the highest peak. Self-promotion is hard work and it involves a ton of patience. It’s not always fun and you don’t always see results. I personally dislike the feeling of forcing my art on people. Each time I share something on Twitter I wonder, am I annoying folks? Is anyone even looking at my art? But then I start to pay attention to my statistics. Days I don’t share and talk about my art my views go down. Days I do… You get the point.
What might be the most difficult part about self-promotion for me, is the act of sharing things not about my art, but myself. I’m a quiet person. Not as quiet as I once was in my younger days, but my fellow Tessera Guild members will tell you–I’m quiet. I’m a thinker, and sometimes a loner. I don’t often say something unless it’s worth saying 100%. Ironically, this is key to self-promotion via social media networks. Key. When you interact with your fans you’re also building trust. Building trust will make your product look far more appealing than someone elses they don’t feel they know. Last year I wrote a blog post about building trust with online buyers after reading an excellent article at EmptyEasel.com. EmptyEasel is geared toward visual artists, but these five rules will apply to authors, musicians and anyone else selling something online.

I’m revisiting these five rules with new thoughts for the new year.

1. Don’t Make it About “You” “It’s about the community. People aren’t going to follow you if all you do is try to sell them stuff and promote yourself. Become a trusted resource, instead of a salesperson.”

Or better yet, become a storyteller. Whatever you’re creating, chances are there’s a story behind it and there’s an audience who’s ready to listen.

2. Be sociable “…the next time you think about listing one of your art pieces, take the time to figure out how you can present that piece in a more social manner.”

Don’t just post a link to the art in your shop. Think about making a collage showing the stages from sketch to finish.

3. Show the real you “Use a photo of yourself for your profile image, not a photo of your art, or company logo. People want to connect with people, not products or businesses.”

I’m not sure this is always necessary anymore, as long as your real face makes an appearance from time to time. There’s nothing worse than coming to know a public figure by their profile photo, only to find out it’s from 20-30 years ago. Don’t do that (unless you’re vampire).

There was suppose to be a dog in this photo! LOL Well, we both enjoyed the short walk. Beautiful day. 🙂 A photo posted by Amanda Makepeace (@amandamakepeace) on

4. Respond to your fans

“When you respond to your fans (or customers)…have a conversation with them.”

I try to respond to everyone and if I’m swamped with comments I will still post a ‘Thanks everyone!’ They are taking the time to make a comment, something totally voluntary, the least I can do is show my appreciation.

5. Be consistent

“From how you portray your company across various social networks, to how often you post…”

Also, remember that online and offline, you represent your art and/or brand. That’s why it’s best to be yourself, so when your fans meet you in public (whether it’s at a convention or the grocery store) they aren’t surprised…

I’ll be honest. There are days I don’t feel like socializing at all. I don’t beat myself up about that. Tomorrow is a new day and we all have off days. But when I am online I try to follow these rules and above all I try to have fun. I’ve met so many wonderful people since I joined social media and the various other sites you can find me. Some I even consider more than just acquaintances. They’ve become friends who support my creative vision and that’s invaluable.

Here are the social media hangouts I use most:

Instagram
Facebook
Tumblr
Twitter

I also have a monthly newsletter!

amandamakepeace.com

My Commitment to Ending the World

So…

It’s a common theme nowadays that writers (or any artists, for that matter) aren’t in competition with one another. That we’re all pals in the industry. That we’re fighting on the same side to haul readers into our books collectively.

Just wander around Twitter or Facebook or any haunted electric highway and you’ll see stuff like:

BadMeme1

or

Meme2

or

untitled

I could probably dig up a thousand of these. And it’d be barely scratching the surface. I guess these are nice sentiments…maybe. They create friendships. They foster collaboration. They bring people together.

And I reject them completely.

*

Before we do battle, let’s be clear about some lines in the sand. We’re not talking about artists and writers who create for fun. If someone publishes a lone book or series and then wants to wander back into a normal existence, that’s cool. If they want to stop, collaborate, and listen, it’s worth supporting. And we’re also not talking about those wonderful people who create with the intent to be non-profit. If an artist’s goal is to put out a steady stream of awesome simply for the love, who couldn’t support that? It’s free, after all. Those who desire it don’t have to give up any resources. Any cash. Any moolah.

As for the rest of you, I adore you like brothers and sisters. But let’s be clear that we are in fact competing with one another. No…that’s too mild. We’re at war.

ZillaKong

Godzilla vs King Kong. Twilight vs Blade. Plants vs Zombies. Me vs YOU.

In any given market, any segment of any economy, there’s a little thing called market share. You’ve heard of it. If there’s X amount of money available to be spent on resource Y, companies A, B, and C are all gonna fight each other to the death to control Y and earn X. Sure, they might be pals after hours. They might drink together, hit the golf course as a foursome, and sleep with each other’s spouses. But when they’re on the clock, make no mistake. They’re gunning for one another’s throats.

To counter this argument, the artist might say to herself, “But J, you poor malcontent, in the world of art and written words, Y is limitless. Art has no boundaries.”

Nada. Negative. Nope. Y is not limitless. Art created with the intent to make a living has boundaries. These boundaries are malleable. They move. But they exist. And moreover, despite the fact that every living human seems to want to write a book these days, there is a limited supply of quality available.

More to the point: just like in all other markets everywhere, X (money) will always have a finite value.

And X is exactly the hill we’re fighting to climb.

Look. It’s true. I savor artistic collaboration. It helped things like this and this see the light of day. It keeps artists talking, moving, and colliding. Sharing other writers’ works is a great endeavor. The best conversations happen between those with a similar purpose, whose visions align, and whose swords are sharpened at the same millstone.

But make no mistake; we’re still doing battle.

*

Think on these, fellow artistic warriors:

Those of us who give a damn, who really want a career out of writing/painting/sculpting/fighting, want to be the best. And nothing less

We want to be the mofo who makes it, not the one forced back into a boring ‘real’ job

We want the fruits of our labor front and center, and we desire to dethrone the Twilights, the Mockingbirds, and the 50 Shades of WTFever

We care more. We work harder. We don’t do easy satisfaction

And though we may smile for one another’s successes, we tend to get a little green when we see it

*

If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, be at peace. This battle isn’t for you. Walk the tranquil path of creating without fear. That you desire to make beautiful things just for the sake of it is commendable. It’s enviable. It’s sublime. But for everyone else, everyone fighting for Y and X, don’t be deceived. Don’t lull yourself into a false sense of we’re-all-on-the-same-team. Reject any meme suggesting you need to be BFF’s with other writers or that you shouldn’t at least try to out-write, out-paint, and out-create the fuck out of everyone else. You are in a competition. You don’t want to be the third-string quarterback, the benchwarmer, the artist sitting on the sideline.

So stop kidding yourself.

You’re committed to this battle.

And when the world ends, you want to be remembered.

* * *

If that was too harsh, try something fun.

If it wasn’t harsh enough, this might be for you.

J Edward Neill

 

I’m Really Sorry you Hate Sports

Here we are.

In the heart of football season.

Ascending to the World Series.

Ready to pop the cork on the NBA and NHL.

Pretty much the best time of a sports-lover’s year.

And all you wanna do is hate.

It’s that time of year when the hate feels especially strong. The stupid memes start popping up. People who previously seemed cool, nice, and maybe even enlightened decide to publicize their disgust with other people’s love of athletic competition. Pictures of cats, dogs, and kids on Facebook are replaced with comments about ‘Sportsball’ and intentional ignorance regarding ‘Putting balls into holes.’

Here are just a few of the dumb images I’ve seen during the last two weeks:

Both Teams Lose

Cute cat, but I only feel this way when the Packers play the Vikings.

Hate sports because

Yep. It’s the first one.

What Color Rooting

I’m pretty sure I beat this guy up in high school.

Look. I get it. A lot of people don’t like sports. I’m fine with it. Everything‘s not for everyone. Some people hate football, baseball, and all the rest. Others don’t like art. Or books. Or kids. Or shopping for shoes. Or cosplay. Or whatever. All of this is ok. As for me…I like almost everything. And the shit I don’t like is typically stuff like terrorism, politicians, or whatever the fuck this is. You’re allowed to like your stuff. And I’m allowed to like mine.

But here’s the thing: When you cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war against fun, you look stupid.

And when you hate on other people’s likes and lifestyles, you open yourself up to getting your ass kicked in the parking lot getting the hate hurled right back at you.

Consider these:

Video Games

Because playing video games makes you a total fucking loser. Just like watching sports. NOT.

Fat Nerd

What everyone automatically assumes a sports-hater looks like.

Nerds

Nerds: the ‘other’ N word. It’s cool to call yourself one. But when Ogre does it, you’d better cry ‘Bully!’

Remember back in the 80’s – 90’s when nerds, geeks, dorks, and DragonCon attendees pretty much lived on the bottom of the social rung? When being smart wasn’t nearly as cool as being popular, well-dressed, or athletic? I do. I remember it. Kids at every school I went to were picked on if they came across as nerdy or shy. Hell, watching some of these unlucky kids get beaten up, shaken down, and tormented on a daily basis probably had a lot to do with my sudden love of hitting the gym, getting tougher, and learning to love the beautiful, brotherhood-inducing thing called sports. And now that we’ve evolved past the nerd-hate, everything should be cool, right? Sports fans living beside LARP’ers. Athletes dating librarians. Dogs and cats…living together.

And yet, here’s some recent shit I’ve seen online from otherwise decent people:

A lady who LOVES cosplay (dressing up as her favorite superhero) ranting about how “stupid” football fans looked when they wear costumes and paint their faces for the game.  Hypocrite much?

A proud declaration that “Most athletes get paid WAY too much! And that’s why I hate ALL sports!”  The vast majority of pro athletes don’t get paid as much as you’d think. Consider minor leaguers, practice squad members, assistant coaches, trainers, rookies, etc. Only the very best get the big bucks, just like in, oh…I don’t know…every other profession.

A lady who bluntly stated that “Everyone in the NBA and NFL is a thug.”  – Wow. Racist much?

And the single stupidest post I’ve seen in a long while: “Sportsball. Ugh.”

* * *

I don’t think most people feel this way. I mean…sure…a lot of folks don’t care about ‘Sportsball,’ but nor do they feel the need to attempt some BS, double-reverse bullying attempt on social media. I think most people realize that a love of sports is the same as a love of anything else. Like books. Or tv shows. Or movies. Or zombie Pokémon porn. Or whatever. I guess what I can’t reconcile in my brain is why some people feel the need to shout their hate out. As if it’s somehow idiotic for me to admire the supreme physical skills of other humans. Or foolish to enjoy watching two evenly-matched teams fight for victory. I mean…shit…it’s not like we’re watching Nascar. Relax. I’m joking. I’m sure Nascar is awesome. It’s just not for me.

So how about you sport-haters and I strike a truce? You don’t make fun of me watching the fastest, strongest humans on the planet beating the ever-loving crap out of each other, and I won’t make fun of you for liking World of Warcraft, thinking comic book movies are cool, or not being able to pound out more than three push-ups. You promise to never utter the word ‘Sportsball’ again, and I swear to overlook the next thirty-four times you roll your eyes when I mention I’m gonna go, ‘Watch the Bears lose again.’

Deal?

Deal.

This PSA brought to you by a barbaric, Neanderthalish, MMA-loving, baseball-crushing, football-slingin’ sports nut…who despite being a mouth-breathing Sportsball fanatic found time to write more and paint more in 2015 than almost everyone else on the planet.

I’m just playin’.

Enjoy the game.

J Edward Neill