Words from the otherworld: Media, marketing, noise and just, no. This is a web, let’s treat it as such.

I have been thinking a lot about ‘marketing’ lately. I have also been doing a lot of researching and admittedly I still have a lot more research ahead of me. However, what I have read so far didn’t sit well with me. It made me uncomfortable and even went against my values. “Ah, but marketing isn’t about values its about money! And making sure your wonderful book reaches the readers that so desperately want it!” Hmmm. That still doesn’t sit well with me. So, I have been sitting and thinking about the internet, the ‘web’. The web is my main source of contact to the outside world since falling ill and in many ways it has been a life saver. I have made some truly profound connections via the web. Also, I met my partner and the majority of my great loves and friends, via the web. How did these connections happen? By rippling out honestly, and bravely across the web just as I am. big_spider_net_by_zlata_petal-d627evr Much like life, I think of the internet like a spiders web. Grandmother Spider is an old tale and one that is very close to my heart. If you would like to know about the myth Journeying to the Goddess is a great place to start. The general ideas of Grandmother Spider center around life, death and fate; she is said to have brought the alphabet, narrative, the moon, the stars and in some instances even the sun to humankind. She controls the connections made in our lives and help us connect with the strands of narrative that make up our inner wisdom particularly through dreams. She ensures that those we are meant to meet cross our strand along the great web. As such, she is considered a very important mythos and Goddess for writers. “Spider Woman’s themes are magical charms and growth.  Her symbols are spiders and woven items.  Spider Woman appears in the myths of the south-western Native Americans as a resourceful helper who spins magical charms and each person’s fate. No matter what problems or obstacles you face, Spider Woman creates the right network of energy to put you on the road toward accomplishment. In metaphysical traditions, all life is seen as a network within which each individual is one strand. Spider Woman reveals the power and purpose of each strand psychically and keeps you aware of those important connections in your life.”

susan_seddon_boulet_shaman_spider_woman

“Spider Woman” by Susan Seddon Boulet

As a storyteller I am drawn to the Grandmother Spider mythos and the ideas behind it. That is, focus on the connection to yourself and your truth, express that truth, walk with compassion and openness and the connections you are meant to make will come across your path. That is not to say they will arrive gift wrapped, you still have to work to make those opportunities to happen. Understanding this idea of the web and trusting in the idea of community is something I am drawn to in writing. Especially compared to the idea of flooding the web with noise about my book and writing in the loudest and most shocking way possible – that approach is just not me. I would rather live my values, build a community and if my book sells wonderful, if not then I will focus on basking in the joy writing and write another. It also strikes me as strange to try and create an object that I hope might move someone’s heart or even soul but then market it in a way that seems so impersonal and garish. Even if I just sell one copy and it moves one heart – that would mean the world to me. I understand that romance and erotica can be labeled trash fiction by some people (I am not here to discuss that issue right now) but I have had my soul lifted up by the most unlikely books. As such, I never underestimate a power of the book no matter what genre it falls under. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I will get a publishing deal and end up handing over creative control to access as many sales as possible. Maybe I will invest in a marketing team to push my book ‘out there’. Maybe I will ripple out hard across the web. I don’t know – I am not there yet but I will be soon and I wanted to share my musings with you. Why? Because I would much rather build a community who connect with my writing – poetry, books and musings etc., and listen to what they have to say about the issue and respond to them. I would like to walk my thread of the web and weave my heart and soul into that journey and the writing I create so that if and when the opportunity to connect with someone occurs either face to face, via email or through my writing, this connection is the warmest and most respectful connection possible. However, I do want to make clear I am in no way judging or dismissing any other ways to market a book. I don’t think there is better or worse, just different. I am a young idealistic author who may be completely deluded so please; don’t take my words personally if you have chosen another path of marketing. Hell, I might be on that path with you soon enough. I just wanted to share my current feelings on the subject and see, if it is indeed possible, to form communities of readers and writers via this miraculous web we all wander that don’t require rambunctious marketing campaigns rather, they allow you to wander the web like you might and old bookstore and grab a book that your heart leaps at or, the cover design catches your eye or, the old bookstore keeper/book blogger recommended having known what you liked in the past. What do you guys think? Is this way of working the web possible? Is it already happening? All thoughts are welcome.

8 Comments

  1. Rhyll Biest says:

    I absolutely hate and loathe ‘the hard sell’ and wish I didn’t have to do marketing at all! If only…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Claire says:

    I don’t see the world wide web (www) as either/or. It is truly a web, albeit of unknown size or scope to me. And I see it not as 2 dimensional like a garden spider’s web, but 3 dimensional like a sphere. With links that go around, and through, over and under, directly and indirectly, lighting up like stars in the Multiverses as we make connection.
    All these opportunities are there already. Like you dear Catherine, and because of you, and other wonderful people, I have met like-minded souls, writers, artists, explorers. People who like me, love to learn, to discover, to create. We can adjust the interactions with other explorers very easily in the web, discriminating between love and hate, harmony and dischord.
    Likewise, I don’t see getting a publishing deal as necessarily handing over ‘creative control.’ Don’t humans constantly re-create? Is there any reason why a publishing deal, choice of cover, wording, should impact on our creative process? We are self-re-generating, constantly re-cycling our bodies and our minds, perhaps our souls. The only limits are those we put on ourselves. For example; a friend commented that I would be ‘selling my soul’ as an English and Australian ‘educated’ person to write in ‘American English’ for the purpose of selling my story in America. Despite the fact that my story is set in early 1900 America and despite the fact that I’ve spent a year of exploration in America. Is her comment the result of critical thinking? No. It is the result of predjudice against America, and all it stands for in my friend’s mind. Predjudice narrows one’s options and skews perception. It is not creative.
    ‘It also strikes me as strange to try and create an object that I hope might move someone’s heart or even soul but then market it in a way that seems so impersonal and garish. Even if I just sell one copy and it moves one heart – that would mean the world to me’.
    Like you, I blanch at forcing media onto people, and would be more inclined to let them know the option is there. But isn’t it always like that? We can turn it off if we don’t like it. I don’t have a tv for that reason. Facebook is inspiring and often uplifting to me because of the people I have chosen to be communicate with. In short, we control who we comunicate with. And others choose whether they will communicate with us or not.
    If we try to control how other people come across our work, then are we not limiting their opportunities to find it? And will your warmth and respect diminish, the more people have access to it? I think not. If we are self aware, honest and compassionate and produce work that is an extension of this we bring a great gift to the world. And the more gifts we have the more gifts we can give away.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for such a thoughtful reply as always Claire. I have a lot to think over. I realize now my thinking was very much black and white. I am not sure where I stand but I have more to think about now. Like I said I wasn’t casting any judgement but much of what I read on marketing and contracts just didn’t sit well. I know marketing is about allowing people to know your work is there but in someways I feel like it oversteps that line, sometimes marketing things beyond what they are or different to what they are. Also, many contracts do take creative control away but I will ponder what you have said (over more coffee as my brain is still warming up) and see what more pondering brings. Thank you for broadening my perspective ❤

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  3. Elsa Holland says:

    I actually think marketing and platform is fun. I don’t like hard sell or hard, clever in your face marketing, pop-ups that demand you give your details to get to the next step…. that all gets my hackles up. But I do believe in making yourself visible. About finding and building a community with like minded interests, passion and actions. I want to find people who would like my book if they read it. I want to know what kind of people they are so I can zoom past in cyber space and say I’m here if you’re interested in trying a new read. I have found heaps of great artists, music and writers that way myself. I like to go to their site and get a feel for them… so building a space that is fun/interesting/nice to go check out is part of the fun. I love the idea that people I don’t know might think “I’m going to go check out Elsa’s blog see what she’s up to and if there is another book on the way.” To make that happen outside your friendship and extended friendship group you do have to work on it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. kellyfbarr says:

    I have never liked the hard sell or pushy salespeople and could never bring myself to be one. But, as I am working on my writing and hoping to eventually put something out there, I am building a network by connecting with other writers on websites, blogs, facebook and twitter. I am hoping that this will help me when the time arrives that I would have something available for readers. Also, through my own writing blog, I am hoping to attract readers. These are the quiet ways I prefer to market and I have faith that they will work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kelly 🙂 Yes, I think all we can do is try out our own ways of doing things and see what works. I am still thinking on all of this because like you, I don’t enjoy the hard sell but the comments above have given me a lot of food for thought. Good luck with your writing 🙂

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