What I’m Reading This Weekend

So, I’m reading this book by Dan Blank called “Be the Gateway.” Sounds a little scifi/fantasy, right? Actually it’s about reaching out to real readers and sharing your work. I don’t really want to say marketing because that word has such a stigma attached to it.

I have to say it is not the usual stuff you see on this topic. It’s pretty unique. And a helluva lot of work from the looks of it. I think I’m up for the challenge though.

I never thought that gaming rankings, offering endless freebies or other standard tricks of the trade were the way to go. I don’t really want to trick readers. I just want to give them a story that will do something for them, right?

Anyway – do check it out. Be The Gateway is available on Amazon in print and Kindle.

Have a great holiday and don’t eat too many hotdogs, those things will kill you.  😉

Annie

Advertisements

Book Marketing Trends for Authors and Other Good Reads This Week

writing-1170146_640

I’m afraid I haven’t had much time to devote to blogging lately because I’m trying to finish a first draft of my novel. More on that later. In the meantime, following are some awesome reads for the Indie’s among us. Enjoy and have a great week.

7 Book Marketing Trends Authors Can’t Afford to Ignore. Kimberley Grabas offers some solid marketing strategies, with lots of actionable tips.

Why do we write? Lisa Kron offers a very interesting perspective on the impact that writing, even entertainment writing, can have.

Self Publishing Notebook. Jonathan Kile offers an interesting a funny perspective on indie writing and publishing.

Vetting Vendors: Public Relations Professionals. Naomi Blackburn has some advice on how to hire a PR pro that won’t ruin your PR.

Scene Structure: Understanding the Truth about Character Arcs. CS Larkin gives us a great nuts and bolts post on character arcs.

And just for fun, check out this Content Idea Generator. Who knows, it might be your next brilliant idea.

Marketing – let me count the ways. Great links to help you market your books

book-1012275_640

Did I just hear a mass wince? Yup, I’m sure I did, or maybe it was just me. Writing a novel is nothing compared to having to then market it. From the ‘deer in the headlights syndrome’ of just not having a clue – to the ‘it just makes me feel so icky to self promote’ whiners, none of us seem to like marketing very much. But if you’re in it for the long haul and have any hope of making it as an author, marketing is something in which you must become proficient.
Following are links to some kick-ass articles about book marketing. If you have a book you need to market, you need to read these posts.

Can You Promote a Book without Making Yourself Miserable? Jane Friedman gives us some decidedly authentic and down to earth advice about book marketing that may surprise you.

Standing Out on the Crowded Shelf—How to Help Your Fiction Find an Audience
Sage advice on what you can do to find your audience and get your books into the readers who want them.

Marketing Your Book on Social Media? How to Avoid Scams
Anne R. Allen warns about the the pitfalls of those feeding off authors with marketing scams.

A 12-Month Strategic Plan for Marketing Your Book before Release
CS Lakin writes a great nuts and bolts post about marketing your book, 12 months before release.

The 6 Most Common Marketing Mistakes Made by Authors
Another great post from Writer Unboxed about common marketing mistakes made by authors. No more excuses after you’ve read this.

In the meantime, I’ve managed to slog through week 2 of NaNo, clocking in a total of 34,993 words so far. I’m pretty sure I’ll meet the NaNo target of 50K – but that won’t produce a finished first draft. So, I’ll persist and hope I reach my target of 75K. The good news is that I have now developed some awesome callouses on my fingertips which makes the typing go a little faster.

Have a great week.

Annie

How to be a Squeamish Marketer

squeamish marketer eek

I’ve freelanced for several years now and marketing almost always plays a part in my work. I write copy for a living, and most copy is marketing copy. Whether it’s in your face and obvious or subtle – it’s marketing.

Even before I became a freelancer, I worked in small businesses and almost always, marketing fell to me. I guess that means I get it, or I’m good at it and there are results that show at least in part, that’s true.

However, when it comes to my own stuff. My own products and services I became a sniveling, whining, scaredy-cat at the mere mention of marketing. Suddenly it all becomes so personal. Ask people to buy my stuff? My God, what would they think of me?

Shouldn’t art be its own marketing sphere?

Self published authors in particular seem to have this problem. Perhaps because the work is creative and feels so personal – and in fact, is personal. To then turn around and market it may feel like you’re cheapening it. Reducing it down to the level of a handy dandy vacuum bag. And art is well art, right? Shouldn’t people just gravitate toward art? Toward the beauty, the aesthetics, the passion within? Isn’t art its own marketing sphere?

Sure, why not? Let’s go with that. And this is the marketing plan you come up with basically entails what every other author is doing:

  • Incessantly tweeting and getting others to incessantly tweet your books
  • Posting the buy links on Facebook
  • Writing blog posts about your book on your blogs (or maybe a friend’s blog, if you have any friends with blogs).
  • Badgering your friends and family to buy your books, then spread the word.
  • Rinse and repeat

Yep, that’s about it. That’s about as far as you can take it if you choose only to work safe venues with people who know you and won’t think poorly of you for trying to sell your stuff. Or at least will be too polite to say you’re irritating them.

Then there is the magic approach

We’ve all read the blog post where a successful author claims they didn’t market at all. They sold twenty books the first month and then lo and behold, the next month they sold 100,000 books. It just sort of happened. It was magic.

We squeamish marketers like that approach, no actually, we love that approach, because it means that we don’t have to do anything. That the universe will just reward us for all our hard work. That the cream will automatically rise to the top (of course our books are the cream). That there are no dues to be paid. No hard work involved. That we can continue to live in the rarefied world of the author who does nothing but imagines, inks up her quills and ponders the deep meaning of life within her world of story.

Meanwhile, other people are selling books

Meanwhile, the authors who recognize that they are not only writers, but also publishers, publicists, and marketer, promote the heck out of their books. They blatantly embrace commercialism, run promotions, pay for advertising, email market, experiment with marketing approaches, and take every opportunity they can find to tell people about their books. Guess who ends up selling books? And lots of them.

Not the squeamish marketer. Not the one who worries about what people will think of them. Not the one who prays the world will step in and just make it happen for them. Yep, it’s those hacks who understand that they are their entire team. That it’s up to them to spread the word, through whatever means possible. That they wear more than one hat as authors. That when they aren’t writing, they aren’t writers – they’re publishers, marketers, and the sales team.

There is an art to marketing

For some reason, marketing has gotten a nasty rep. It’s crass, it’s pushy, and it’s just not cool. I beg to differ. Ever watch an Apple commercial? Millions of people tune in every year to watch the Super Bowl, just to see the commercials. Millions of dollars are spent every year creating movie trailers. Art galleries spend months putting together marketing for exhibitions. And people will talk about an effective marketing campaign, promo, or commercial as much as they’ll talk about the product they promote. Some of them even go viral.

There is an art to marketing. And if you approach marketing as yet another art form for you to master you may get onto something that will, guess what, sell books.
Personally, I don’t like to run with the crowd. Doing all the same things that everybody else is doing. And right now, I’m learning what works and what doesn’t. But I’m really looking for something new, different, creative, and workable. Something that doesn’t just blend into all the white noise of every other author who is selling a book. I suggest you do the same.

However, here are a few tips that might be helpful:

  • Run different promos rather than the same one over and over. For example, run a 1-day freebie and promote the heck out of it. Then later run a freebie without telling anyone. Compare the results.
  • Keep a log of all your promo actions. Whether it is a book reading, a free promo, a contest giveaway, a personal appearance, a special on a book promotion site, etc. By keeping a log, you are more likely to be able to track cause and effect of your promotions. For example, if you spoke at the ladies auxiliary about botany on Friday and then on Sunday saw a big spike in sales, it’s reasonable to think there is a connection. This will help you to determine what is effective and isn’t. And encourage you to do more of what works and leave what doesn’t work behind, so you aren’t spinning your wheels.
  • Change your point of view. Part of the thing that makes marketing hard for us is that it’s personal. We aren’t objective. So every win feels bigger than it is and every loss does too. Try to take on the project of promoting your books as though you had nothing to do with creating the product. What would Suzie the publicist do? Or Mark the marketer? It’s not easy to do this, but if you can pull it off, you’ll be amazed at the stuff you might come up with.
  • Never give up on a project. Or in your case, a book. Case in point, my first book was published five years ago and frankly went nowhere. When the rights reverted back to me, I took that book, tore it apart, edited, revised and essentially rewrote it. My plan was to use it as my promotional book. Run a free promo then drop it down to 99 cents after the free promo. In the hopes that it would create visibility for my current books. I had ten times as many downloads as I expected and to my surprise, I’ve sold copies of the book every day since the promotion. I’m not going to retire on the proceeds from the sales but it amazed me that I book I essentially had decided to write off is now doing better than it ever did before. So…you just never know.

Whatever you do, do something

We all want to believe that the universe is just going to simply reward us for all the good things we do and all our hard work – and unfortunately, that rarely happens. So sitting around and doing nothing will typically get you nothing.
If you feel squeamish, weird, odd, floopy in the area of marketing that’s okay. Acknowledge that and then do something. Anything. As long as it results in more people knowing about your book. Start small. Then do something a little bigger. A little more daring. If you can just make yourself get through those first few icky beginnings of marketing, you may find that marketing is nothing to be squeamish about. You might even like it.

How about you? Do you have a hard time marketing? Have tried and failed? Have tried and succeeded? What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? Ever done anything outrageous that paid off? Tell us your marketing tales in the comments.

Annie

Free Book Promo Weekend – Results

frequency-282742_640

As noted in my last post, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I relaunched my first book False Witness by offering the book for free. For years, I’ve read of the impact and effect that a free book/give-away can have and was itching to give it a test drive.
When the rights to my book reverted back to me, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to try out this whole free thang.

So this is what I did prior to the freebie weekend:

  • Designed a new cover
  • Wrote a new blurb
  • Revised, edited and rewrote the book. The main problem with the original book was that there was a lot of head hopping between characters, which was probably a left over from my days of writing scripts. So the simple edit I expected to do turned into a major rewrite, while not changing the path of the story. It was a challenge and half the time I felt like Psycho Writer Girl, but when I came out the other side of it, I knew I’d made the right decision.
  • Assigned new ISBN
  • Did key word research
  • Uploaded the new manuscript, cover and book blurb to Amazon
  • Spent 2 days communicating with KDP about migrating my existing reviews to the new edition
  • Scheduled the promo
  • Created a promo email to my mailing list
  • Created and scheduled a Face Book post
  • Wrote and scheduled a post on my blog about the freebie
  • Put together an excerpt (guest) post here
  • Then we let her rip

It’s like a drug

I told myself that I would then go about my business and check the sales dashboard once or twice a day. Sorry, writers are just too obsessed to act that rationally. And yeah, I checked every ten minutes for the first day. It was like a drug, watching that stat graph go up, up, up. I just couldn’t do anything else. It was exhausting, but also very cool. By the next day I was able to only check every hour. By the last day I checked in a few times. Aside from seeing my graph going up the things that were cool:

  • I hit page one for sub category ‘cozy mystery’ in US, UK, DE & AU
  • I ranked #368 in the Free Kindle Store

So, the book was ‘visible’ for a few days. And that was very exciting.

Today I received an email from what appears to be a reputable book promotion site, asking me to do a promo deal with them. That’s a first. LOL. And I’ve decided to think of it as a win.

Expectations

I’ve seen blog posts where writers talk about thousands of books being downloaded during free promotions, but I had no such expectations. Though I certainly would’ve been delighted had that happened, I tried to be realistic maybe even pessimistic in my expectations. So I was pleasantly surprised that nearly 1,000 books were downloaded.

I write this post not to brag but to possibly help other writers see what they might be able to expect when doing their first free promo. If there are any other developments that come from the free promo, I will update you.

How about you? Have you done a free promo with any of your books? How did it go? Were your expectation met? Were you surprised with the results or disappointed? Feel free to share your war stories in the comments.
Annie

Like a chimp in a china shop

file0001535568481

So in my quest to actually get my books published and introduced to the world this week, I endeavored to put together an email, announcing the same.

If you’re like me, with little to no design experience or savvy you’re probably smart to set up one of those email services. They have templates with simple drag and drop functions and/or themes so it’s just a matter of putting your marketing email together and moving on to the next step in your marketing strat.

And that’s just what I did. I set up a Mail Chimp account and played around with a few elements and figured it’d be a slam dunk. Easy-peasy. I had a nifty little promo piece I was going to slide in there with a little copy and that would be it. Bada-boom,bada-bing, right?

Not so much. The ‘simple’ drag and drop method of building an email template turned out to be not so simple after all. I was dragging but the components weren’t dropping. Or they were dropping in the wrong place. And I couldn’t get my promo piece to look right. And the pictures of the books had to be resized but they looked all wrong.

So I scratched my original concept and went with one of their ‘themes.’ Piece of cake, right? Not for me. The templates are comprised of a text blocks, images, and elements with certain specs. If your text and images don’t fit, you have to cut, resize, drag, and pray it’ll work. In my case – it didn’t. Certain things just didn’t want to drop or drag where I wanted them to be, so in frustration I’d delete the element. But then it would leave a white space that I simply couldn’t get rid of no matter what I did. I think I tried every theme and template they had but nothing came out right.

I’d also forwarded a few of the test emails to a couple of friends for feedback. One of my friends couldn’t see the images and had just big gaping blank spaces to look at.

After eight hours of fiddling with emails and sending test emails to myself to see how my emails looked (dreadful) I was about as coherent as a monkey who’d over indulged in banana brandy and a box of chocolates.

But I wasn’t willing to give up because I have many other things to do and wouldn’t have time to deal with it later. As a last ditch attempt I went with a simple text template and that was better. Still there was work to be done.
So this morning, I figured it out and I think I have a simple, easy to read email that looks pretty good. Well…okay, anyway.

The take-aways

If you’re like me and really don’t know or understand design, even the simple drag and drop method can be daunting and yield crappy results. And you can spend hours driving yourself mad and still not get the results you want. What worked for me was:

  • Use the simple text template. You can still add images, text blocks, social sharing buttons, etc. But since it’s very bare bones you won’t have to worry about getting rid of or reordering things that exist in a theme or dealing with a predetermined layout.
  • Resize you images in another program. If you don’t have the software on your own computer, there are a couple of online sites where you can effectively resize images that look good. Pxlr and iPiccy were the two that worked best for me.
  • Use no more than three images. Part of my problem was that I was trying to put too many images in one little email. The result was a cluttered mess. When I let go of the idea of having to use my existing promo piece and just used the cover images for the books, the email instantly looked cleaner and more focused. So pick the three best images you have or want to use and save the other images for other venues.
  • Design your layout before you start working on it. I found that simply opening a Word Doc and rearranging the text, headlines and images until I found the layout I liked made it much easier to put the actual email template together. I just kept it open and referred to it as I was building the email.
  • Less is more. When you’re anticipating releasing a book or a product that you’ve spent a long time working on, it’s natural to want to make a big splash. But let’s be real. We all get a bazillion emails a day, most of which is some type of advertising or another. So don’t turn your email into a web page. Just give them the basics – some nice images, a couple of snappy headlines, good interest-peaking text, and how they can get what you’re offering.

How about you? Have any tips on putting together a nice email to promote your book? Ever sent one that was a disaster? What happened? Tell us in the comments.

Annie

The Ins and Outs of Book Blurbing and other awesome reads this week

blurbs

Morning! Grab your latte and settle in for some good reads:

How to Write a Book Blurb by Henry Baum Awesome post about the ins and outs of book blurbs – what’s good, what sucks, what to do and what not to do. With lots of samples. Don’t you love samples?

50 Ways To Reach Your Reader. # 2: Indie Authors & Amazon Author Page  From selfpublishingadvice.org – Amazon, author pages, key wording, and categories, oh my.

50 Astonishing Mobile Search Stats and Why You Should Care  by Brian Conlin. Did you know that Google is going to start penalizing websites that aren’t mobile friendly? Yikes.

The 10 Commandments of Authorial Self Promotion  Wild man Chuck Wendig  gives us the unabridged lowdown on author self-promotion. I knew I liked this guy for a reason.

What kids have taught me about writing  Kathleen McCleary over at Writer Unboxed, reminds us about the joy of creating as a kid and what it can teach us. I give her an A+.

So there you have it, read, enjoy, have a great week.

Writer Chick

Is Free a Fake-Out?

image courtesy of Morguefile.com
image courtesy of Morguefile.com

For as long as there have been marketers there has been the ever popular ‘freebie.’ I wouldn’t be surprised if freebies tracked back to caveman days. You know, one caveman fells a dinosaur but it’s way too much for the family to consume, so he hits the caveman mall and offers free samples to unsuspecting troglodytes out on their once yearly shopping trip, in hopes that he can sell those dino-meats before they go bad. (No refrigeration, right?)

While nobody is offering dino-meat these days, the concept still applies; offer a sample to get potential public interested in buying the thing they are sampling. Really it’s not a bad idea and from a marketing standpoint it can accomplish many things:

  • Introduce products to new consumers
  • Create word of mouth
  • Raise the public awareness of the seller and product
  • Forward a benevolent image of the company to the public
  • Entice potential buyers to buy another product

And then there was a thing called S.W.A.G.

A natural evolution of this free sample concept was SWAG (stuff we all get). This existed primarily within the entertainment biz, SWAG was probably always around to some degree but I believe got very popular around the 80s and has been more and more prevalent since.

If you’re a show biz addict and follow Hollywood gossip blogs, shows, and other outlets that give you the 411 on all things show biz then you know that presenters at awards shows, attendees of film festivals and other glitzy events get gift baskets composed of various goodies from a wide array of companies. Some of these ‘gift baskets’ are valued in the tens of thousands or more. They could contain, designer scents, designer bags, scarves, phones and other electronic gadgets, jewelry and so forth. Not too shabby huh? Naturally the purpose of these types of SWAG baskets go beyond wanting someone to sample the goods, they are meant to persuade the receiver to consider endorsing said products. Nothing like an endorsement from a popular celebrity to send sales soaring, right?

But as the Internet became more and more popular the concept of these freebie giveaways on steroids became known on a much wider scale (just like anything else). And ordinary, everyday people like you and me started wanted our swag too. In fact, generally speaking, the Internet has produced lots of SWAG itself whether legally or illegally. If somebody wants something free, there is likely a way to get it via the Internet. At least it appears to be free.

Is Free Really Free?

I think in part due to rampant piracy and public craving many companies, especially entertainment companies, gave in to the free concept. Better to give it away than have it stolen, right? Hoping that if they gave something away for free that it would encourage the public to eventually buy something. Not sure how that has turned out for them but you know…

And then about five or so years ago free became the new buzzword in Internet marketing. Every Internet marketing guru was screaming free at every turn and people believed them. No matter what their product, businesses large and small started giving away free stuff. Left and right, back and forth, up and down. Every other email had the word free in it and people bit. Big time. Because everybody likes free stuff, right?

Except there was a little catch because you couldn’t just go get the free thing. Oh no, you had to give them your email address, or sign up for their newsletter, or otherwise surrender some personal information in order to get the free thing. So that the marketer could email you forever and hawk their goods constantly, like five times a week, or even five times a day. And often getting off that list took an act of God. So was it worth it? Whatever little freebie you got, for all that spam and constant hawking? Was it really free?

How Free Back-Fired

Somewhere in this evolution small businesses, including single practitioners and creatives, started to believe they had to give their work away in order to get people to buy it. Think about that. You have to give your work away in order to get someone to buy it – does that make sense? I mean if you’re going to give you work away on the one hand and then ask that same person to pay you, what do you suppose is going to be the response? My guess is that that person will just shrug and move on to the next freebie giver.

Sure, you’ve got them on your email list but if they are only interested because you gave them something free, then of what value is that email address? Not much, right?

Unfortunately, now that free is a thing – everybody expects something for nothing. From healthcare to lipstick, half the people walking around this country have the attitude that they should get stuff for free – just because. It has nothing to do with deserving it, earning it or otherwise being entitled to it. In those minds the very fact that they live and breathe is reason enough to get it.

How Much is Free Really Worth?

I don’t know about you but in my case, 99% of anything I’ve ever gotten for free has been worth the same amount as the price tag. There is the rare eBook, or other item that has been valuable to me and I have gone back to that seller and bought things. But by and large my forays into the free universe have resulted mostly in overstuffed inboxes, unwanted emails, and just general annoyance. So I’ve turned over a new leaf. I no longer seek the free. I simply seek the things I need and want and yeah, I’m willing to pay for them. If I’m not willing to pay for them then I pass. I’ve been unsubscribing a lot too, which has been great for handling emails and saving me time. And I really think now before I click that button that is big, red and says FREE. Because I’ve realized that if something is worth having then it’s worth paying the person who has spent the time creating it, marketing it and so forth. Things don’t just spontaneously appear in the world. Somebody had to make it. They had to think it up, and take the steps necessary to bring it into being, and believe me that took time, energy, resources, and a helluva lot of work. Don’t they deserve to be paid for their trouble?

So what do you think about free stuff? Good, bad, somewhere in between?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

Am I on your website or have I made a wrong turn into Vegas? (Stuff that drives us nuts about websites)

As a freelance content writer and researcher, I spend a helluva lot of time on the Internet. And I visit hundreds of websites a week, for information, for amusement, to expand my knowledge and understanding of topics. In fact, most of us spend some time on the Internet and obviously visit websites.

As a free-market capitalist I’m not one to begrudge others of trying to make a living. I admire people who go out, brave the wild frontiers of online marketing, and hang up their cyber shingle. That’s awesome.

But if you make it difficult for me to visit, stay and absorb whatever your site has to offer, I’m clicking off. Me and everybody else.

It’s ironic that the first rule of advertising is not to annoy and most marketers and online businesses violate the hell out of that rule. So many sites are jammed with things that every website visitor loathes that it boggles the mind.

Following is a list of things that we all hate. Not dislike, not are slightly annoyed by or irritated with – but hate.

  1. Pop-up ads. There’s nothing worse than clicking on a link to read an article and have pop-up ads or worse pop-up registration and subscription windows jumping out at you. And to add insult to injury you have to sit and wait until it’s done popping up before you can click it away. And the only thing I’m looking for is the way to get rid of it. You’ll be lucky if I stick around and read the article I came to your site to read in the first place.
  2. Auto-play videos, ads, and audio. Again, I clicked on your site to read an article or blog post or find out about a product and now I’m being bombarded with music, a cat video, a video ad, or ten in the sidebar and my computer processor sounds like a muscle car stuck in neutral. I don’t have the time to search out all the auto plays going on to turn them off, so I can find that link I came to your site to read. Instead, I’m leaving. Buh-bye.
  3. Flashing, blinking, scrolling, twirling psycho animations. This is the nightmare scenario for me in particular. I click on your site and within two seconds animations, auto-play videos, blinking and flashing paid advertisements, and other interactive entertainment is jumping all over the page. I’ve now forgotten why I’ve come to your site because all the lights, noise and colors are making me feel like I’ve stepped into the Vegas version of cyberspace. And I’m not about to run all over your site trying to turn that crap off while my computer gets stuck in plug-in hell. Again, see ya!

All the flash and glitter may work for Vegas – they do serve free drinks and offer cash advances too, so bear that in mind – but they don’t work for a website. We get it – you need to make a living. Understandable. But does it have to be so loud, so flashy, so annoying?

My advice? Save the glitter, flash and songs for your Christmas decorating and give us silent, static, easy to understand ads. That give us freedom of choice to pay attention to or to ignore. If I can visit your site without being accosted by your ads I’ll probably come back.

But if you go for the Vegas theme and I don’t stand a chance of winning money? I’m clicking off.

What about you? Do these things drive you up the wall as much as they do me? Share your thoughts.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2014

Does everything have to be a “thing”? (Are you just a marketing widget?)

photograph courtesy of morguefile.com
photograph courtesy of morguefile.com

You can chalk it up to the rebel in me but I really hate labels.  And it seems like more and more that every activity, belief, principle, component, element has to have a label.  It has to be a ‘thing.’  Know what I mean?

For example…

Can’t we just be good about conservation, maximize our resources, re-purpose our old stuff, and care about nature in general without having to be an environmentalist? Or worried about global warming, climate change – or whatever the kids are calling it these days?

Or can’t people who read blogs or books just be readers instead of your tribe,  your audience, your peeps?

Can’t we just be Americans without the hyphens?

Do our sex lives have to define us? Straight? Gay? Transgender? Bi? And how on Earth did our ‘sexual orientation’ (another word that drives me bats) become political?

As Americans don’t we all just have rights?  Do we really need sub-categories of women’s rights, gay rights, animal rights, illegal immigrant rights?  Do our smart-phones, tablets, computers, televisions and cars have rights too? Maybe not today but don’t be surprised if somebody suggests it in the not too distant future.

Are we all just widgets and demographics?

I think it’s interesting that people are so concerned about political parties and who has minorities and majorities in this administration or that administration.  And yeah, it’s important.  But the thing we all seem to miss is that the people who have the real power are those who can convince us that we belong in groups.  That we are merely a number in their given category.  That we aren’t really individuals.  That we are defined by our interests and not by who we are. Who are these nefarious folks?  Marketers.  People who want to sell us stuff.  And no matter how much stuff they sell us, they want to sell us more. We’re not people, we’re just group members, numbers, part of the demo – widgets.

For example, I’m ‘white, middle-age, single female, christian, conservative baby boomer.’  These folks don’t care that I love animals, would help anyone who needed help, am a great cook, can make people laugh, grow the best tomatoes on the planet, love a good steak, have passion for the written word, hate to drive but love cars, voracious reader, prolific writer, love puns, cry at beautiful things, shoot straight from the hip kind of gal.  Because they don’t see me or you as a person, just as someone to manipulate to buy and use their stuff. (And there’s that whole creating the us against them scenario, which I probably shouldn’t even go into here…)

If you’re worried about the government spying on you and learning all about you, then you should be terrified of the marketers out there who are doing it in spades.  I mean, who do you think taught the government how to do it? Whose technology does the government use to learn all your secrets?

I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with people wanting to sell their wares.  There are a lot of really cool and useful products and services out there and people who want them and can use them, should know about them.  But I am suggesting that we have allowed marketers to get so inside our heads that we no longer define ourselves – instead we let them define us. Know what I mean?

Resistance is futile – or is it?

So I suggest that we resist.  Stop letting them make you a widget in a crowd of widgets.  Resist the urge of putting yourself into categories – especially ones provided by others.  Define yourself.  Use your own words.  Be the unique person that you are. Because we’re people, damn it! Right?

Are you tired of feeling like a widget in the big demographic machine?  Or do you like the labels?  Why?

Writer Chick

Copyright 2014