A blog about blogging or how to market yourself as a writer, wrestler, or rock star
After a few months’ absence from blogging, I return with a blog about blogging. (It’s like the Seinfeld episode where Kramer decides to write a coffee table book about coffee tables.) In actuality, this blog isn’t just a recursive meta mind twist, it’s more about why and how we do what we do and why we’re even doing it. Which is why I stopped blogging for awhile.
At the beginning of the year, one of the best decisions I made was to reach out to my friend, Eric Sherman, and ask his advice on how to market myself as a writer. Eric’s background is in entertainment and music management. He’s spent the better part of his career managing rock stars and other talent, including wrestlers. Rock stars in tight leather pants, wrestlers in tights and capes, writers in pajamas with halitosis, it’s all pretty much the same thing to Eric when it comes to whipping them into shape. Eric began by asking me to write a business plan. He began by asking me to look very carefully at what I was trying to accomplish and where I was putting my time and energy.
So I stopped doing everything else for awhile, including blogging, and worked on my business plan. Eric wanted my goals. Then he wanted my method. That method to accomplishing my goals needed specific action items, with time frames by which I was going accomplish those particular things. Then that evil taskmaster had the audacity to ask me to analyze my competitive set, and then, wait for it, he wanted me to define my “brand” as a writer. I’d never thought of it that way before. I always just wrote what I wrote and never considered the possibility that I would even have a so-called brand. But Eric insisted, and I’ve since come around to his way of thinking that writers, (especially writers of non-fiction) are no different than rock stars or wrestlers. We should be able to define, in a sentence or two, what sets us apart. What makes our art unique and who is our audience? And then, once we know what sets us apart, what’s the best way to communicate that message to our audience and the rest of the world? In my case, we soon identified that one of the things I needed to do pronto quick was get my reclusive rear end on social media. So I forgot about blogging for awhile and began to develop an online community of potential readers of my book. And Eric helped me see that it was worth investing in hiring a social media professional to teach me some of the best practices for accomplishing that. Wouldn’t that be expensive, I asked? But as we talked it through, I was already spending several thousands of dollars a year on travel and writing conference expenses. What if this year I put those resources elsewhere? Eric is convinced that this reallocation of funds will get me closer to accomplishing my goals and I see already that he’s right.
The branding exercise has led me down a path of designing a new website (I hope you like it!) as well as focusing my content for Instagram and Twitter.
Pausing for a short while to really look at what I’m doing and why I’m doing it has made a huge difference, not only from a marketing perspective, but for my writing itself. It’s given me greater confidence and clarity. I’m at work on my second book now and I know exactly how it fits with my first and what my third book might be. Eric and I have a running joke about whether something is ‘on’ or ‘off-brand’. Like when I find a particularly coarse but hilarious meme that I’m tempted to post on Instagram, pausing to consider the on/off question really helps. Vulgar no. Goofy, silly, yes. Lingerie photos? Hell to the no on Instagram, but a tasteful bathing suit beach shot while traveling is fine. Now all the disparate pieces come together to form a more coherent whole that reflect my art, my message, my values. I hope Eric’s ideas and process help you as much as it’s helped me. Now it’s time for me to get dressed and brush my teeth.