Friday Feature: Branding Yourself

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I am not adept at creating things like logos, videos, or even trailers, but I’ve been told that for an author to succeed today, they need to know how to do all of these things. You tube might as well be Chinese to me, and as far as Picasa, Canva, and Publisher go, well let’s just say I’ve tried to figure them out without any success. Sadly, it isn’t enough for an author to write good stories; now, you have to be a media guru, a publicist, and a social media whiz all in one. I have a website, a blog, but that isn’t enough today. I need to be on Instagram, Twitter, and all of the other social media sites out there, and not just as a writer, no. I have to put myself out there as a person, too. If I’m spending all that time baring my soul and my boring life, when do I have time to write?

But what if you’re an introvert? Some people, like me, believe in a private life separate from a public one. Where I go with my family, what I do when I travel–those things are mine. If I choose to share them, that’s one thing, but being forced to expose my private life is something else. I was working on my author profile for my publisher and was blown away by what’s expected of me in terms of promotion. Don’t they have some responsibility in that department?

Now, it seems it isn’t enough to push my work, I have to pimp myself out there, too. Do I really have to share that side of my life? Apparently, if I want to succeed, I do. Frankly, I have trouble believing the people who buy my books care whether or not I’m in a coffee shop or doing laundry. I hate being photographed, and yet I have to have my picture out there, front and center. Now, apparently, I need to brand myself–not my writing, not my books, but me, the person. I have a very hard time blowing my own horn. It isn’t because I don’t believe in myself or because I have an overblown sense of insecurity, which I probably do, but it’s because I’ve grown up believing that modesty and privacy are best. So, how do I reconcile that to what’s demanded of me now?

Putting me and my life on display is hard. Far harder than publishers realize. Realistically, I’m boring, predictable. I don’t color my hair blue and march for causes–even those I support. I keep most of my opinions to myself and try hard not to upset or alienate anyone. If i have strong feelings about something, it comes out in my writing, not on my twitter feed or Facebook.

Maybe one day, I’ll be able to do this, but for now, the best I can do is try to promote my work and hope people like it enough to buy more and suggest it to others. There has to be a way an author can be both open and private. It isn’t as if I’m a celebrity.  If someone knows how to do it, can you throw me a few pointers my way?

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