Friday, April 1, 2016

Marketing: When You Do It Right, It Looks Like You’ve Done Nothing at All

I was going to try and be interesting about this, but I’m on my period, so instead: Here.

Finished the new graphic for Stories of the Wyrd. I’d call it cover art, but I don’t want people to get confused about what the series is. It’s not a real book. It is a means to connect with an audience without pomp and circumstance. They are online short stories I put up as a practice in creative freedom, and are only meant to entertain. Entertain me, at least, with a few civilian casualties if it comes to that.

Don’t take it too seriously, is all I’m saying. Because serious is not the point.

Yet even though it is supposed to be enjoyable, making this cover took a decent amount of time as I antagonized over the idea. While I love it, it’ll probably change as if and when I am inspired to do something more attune to whatever it is I’m going for. Something better, something more atmospheric. I might decide that it simply does not fit the mold and the font is terrible. Good news is, as long as we all agree this isn’t a real book, I don’t feel pressure to make any decisions. I am allowed a little trial and error.

I’ve come to notice the effect of “knowing” what’s going to happen with a project strongly influences my inspiration. Sometimes it’s positive—the knowledge readers will actually see what I’m writing motivates me to finish and finish faster. Sometimes it’s negative—instead of doing it for fun, allowing myself to wing it and throw it out if it decides to take a weird turn and allowing myself to quit if I get bored, I feel pressure to do it correctly, come up with a game plan immediately, and like it. That can cause blockage.

There’s something to be said for making something when you don’t care how good it turns out.

So when I decided to make a “cover” to advertise the stories back in September, I had no idea that it would be April when I would finally accomplish something.

Part of the problem was my original vision of Rasmus and Kaia standing in front of the Wyrd itself didn’t necessarily ignite an immediate visual. I’ve never been great with fluidity in my art work, and so the picture of it being a gray storm-like void made it impossible to enjoy drawing. It’s amazing how being “good” at something can motivate you.

And, over the last few months as I traveled with my boyfriend back to his home country of Australia to try and determine if I wanted to be there or not, the stress of moving, uncertainty of the future, and distaste of vegemite rolls caused me to be zapped of most productivity. Combine that with the usual laziness and you have a vat of grimy procrastination.

I didn’t advertise very well this year. My social media activity dwindled—as some of you remember, I had to go on sabbatical several times. So when it came around to this year’s giveaway, which ended up occurring in March instead of December, I received few entries. The literary journal I produced had low submissions. My favorites, post shares, and likes all disappeared.

I’ve discussed this before, but it’s a hard lesson to learn; you never know what little things will help. People say you can’t sell books on social media, but I can’t describe how many I’ve bought due to getting to know the author via the sites. Books I pass up in one “BUY ME” Tweet, I’ll remember when they’re mentioned later. I sometimes post on other authors’ blogs leaving my full name and website and rarely get anything from that. Then one day I received a deluge of hits linked through someone’s site. When I’m active on social media every day, when I approach people one on one, when I’m friendly and outgoing, when I make a point to talk about the things I’m doing, it often looks like there’s no reaction, like it was a lot of work for no benefit, but you can be surprised how the little things make the difference.

On the same side, I realized that I needed to let go. I enjoyed creating this cover and that timelines and demands on myself were screwing with my ability to be genuine.

I’m visiting Alice Springs and have decided to use this vacation time to relax and look around. I’d like to think that Australia might be the best place for a fantasy author to reimagine her work. More importantly, inspire her to Tweet something funny.

I might be gone from the internet. I’ll get back to you.

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