I am. And maybe you? I have 25 years of marketing background – so i was a paid strategist, participated in countless brainstorming sessions and came up with ideas that contributed to numerous brands’ promotions, positionings and profiles over the years. People loved my ideas, and I loved to be paid to just come up with them, and then leave.
So you would think (and let me assure you, I thought) that I would be an excellent marketer when it came to my own work. Nothing could be further from the truth. When my book – Motherhood to Otherhood – came out in 2008, I knew that other people could have built that concept into an empire.
It’s a truly novel concept, it was backed by a great publisher and publicist, and it is well written, motivating self help book.
By way of background – here’s the gist of Motherhood to Otherhood. It’s for moms who are ready to reconsider their identity and path to fulfillment after having kids.
(For some moms that was 10 weeks after giving birth, for others when the youngest was in kindergarten and for some, it was when the youngest left for college.) And the book introduces the idea of an Unpregnancy – a 9 month timeframe that you get to focus only on yourself and your new baby – your brainchild. An Unpregnancy also gives moms back the lessons they learned during pregnancy – like it’s okay to say no, put your feet up; or get professional help; or the homestretch is really, really hard – so they can motivate themselves to dedicate themselves for nine months on a new life and possibly livelihood for themselves. Nothing’s as transformative as pregnancy and motherhood – so Motherhood to Otherhood just repurposes that life experience for the reader.
But, I was the epitome of the reluctant marketer, and it was painful to fail to market, even as I knew what would make it popular, noticed, and purchased. I can remember vividly the thoughts going through my head.
- How am I supposed to build a platform? I’ve been busy writing the book!
- Why should I have to create the website, blog, and do all these things?
- What if it doesn’t sell?
- What if people don’t like it?
- If it doesn’t sell, will I ever be able to publish again?
- I’m not a brand.
- I have no name recognition.
- I’ve only got six weeks to make it big – before it gets yanked off shelves.
- I’m a big imposter – and now people are going to find out.
- I’m fat – I’ll never be asked to be on TV.
- I can’t ask people to buy my book. They’ll buy it if they want it.
I stood by, frozen as my book did respectably – but not exactly well – in the market. Add in, I was ashamed and guilty that it hadn’t performed better. I was sure no publisher would ever want to hear from me again. All of these thoughts were flawed, hypercritical, and IN MY WAY. I’d become the reluctant marketer, even though I had mad marketing skills. Why?
Marketing yourself is very different. And even though marketing can be creative, you have to be in the right mindset and mood to be creative. You have to want to be creative. You have to engage in your marketing. The only way to do that is to permit yourself to market in your own way, and build your “platform” based on the things you like to do, and that reflect you. And you need to understand that is completely natural, even predictable, for very creative people to shut down when it comes time be market creatively. My research shows there are a couple of reasons: 1) Art and marketing are two different kinds of creativity, and 2) Creative personalities need to do things their own way. We are anti-authoritarian. We don’t want to do what people say we must, or how people say we should.
This was my experience, and it is still painful. When you create something worth sharing, you want it to find its audience. This is why I researched the personality traits of creative people, and how those conflict with the necessities of marketing. I wanted to be able to bridge that divide much better next time. (And I did, but that’s a different tale for a different day.)
If you can relate – and you’re the reluctant marketer – let yourself have the specific help you need to get your incredible work out to its audience. Let yourself join The Reluctant Marketer Course with me, beginning February 11th. We will be a great creative bunch of people reinventing what it means to promote our work, and having fun doing it. And your work will find its way in the world.