Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

Apparently I am a Brand

on May 7, 2012

Over the weekend I went to a workshop about self-promotion and book marketing, run by Tania McCartney at the ACT Writers Centre. She is a vibrant personality, and the workshop was a good way to refocus and remind myself why I am a writer. Sitting in a room full of people who are doing what I want to be doing felt like the right place to be.

During part of the workshop we discussed how much of the personal can be safely shared, and how much should be kept private. It was an interesting change to have this conversation from a professional perspective, rather than the feminist one. I found myself contrasting the idea that “the personal is political” with the question “how much do I want to share?”

This is a question that I have battled with repeatedly throughout my life. It is a very rare occasion that I do something that would humiliate me if other people knew, and if that does happen it is usually because someone has caught me at a moment of weakness and explained how morally bankrupt I am. Shame is usually something I am very quick to get over. I am open to a fault, and unable to philosophically censor myself.

As a writer, my primary objective is communication. As a person, one of my guiding values is integrity. As a professional, I have always chosen transparency. Combined these elements steer me towards writing that tends to convey my personal truth. As an individual within a social group, who may one day be further investigated by public scrutiny, is this a sensible approach to maintain? Probably not.

I typically choose to share my bigger life experiences. It is easier for me to be honest than to make up a cover story. Because these life experiences are so thoroughly discussed as they occur, I have processed and left them behind. My reluctance to hide these significant details means that often new friends have no suspicion that they have happened. Occasionally I am in a position where I need to hide my laughter from people who think my life has been quiet and sheltered; perhaps it has been, but rarely more so than the person making the claim.

Tania made the point that, as writers, we are a brand with our writing as the product. This is something I have been discussing on and off with another writer for the last month. I know that she is entirely correct within the context of the current marketplace. My inner professional feels obliged to take note of this, but mostly I want to ignore it as blah blah blah. It is a cultural concept that I am unable to take very seriously; no matter what might be required by the world around me, I am firstly a person.

The balance between marketing and everything else will always be a grey area for me, and this is why I decided to attend the workshop. Technically this blog could count as marketing, but for me this is a component in my interaction with the world. I feel as if there should be a difference between writing for passion and writing to attract attention for my other writing. For other people this distinction will be clear, but in my world the advertising above the buy it now button is as far as I can consciously push. Perhaps one day publicists and all sorts of interesting professionals will bemoan my ability to open my mouth, but for now I will keep living my life, one inappropriate public statement at a time.


One response to “Apparently I am a Brand

  1. michaelpinto says:

    Just a thought, if you’ve never seen or heard of seth godin, check him out here, http://sethgodin.com/sg/ he is a thought leader on all things marketing and a prime example of personal (author) branding and using his blog and books as products.

    Best,

    Michael

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