Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Perceptions

I'm going to take a side trail today and not write about writing.
In the last 24 hours, I have had a sinus infection take me from a slightly swollen face to a veritable black eye of a puffy cheek. Now I bring this up because on first glance you might think I had gotten in to a fight. I haven't been in a fight since Junior High. And I lost that one!
So here I was this morning, cheek puffy, seeing people look at me funny all morning, and I rode the bus to the library where I 'work' at my writing, when I pass 3 men in suits, having a conversation outside a cafe in the Cameron Village area of Raleigh.
I thought to myself, wow, they must be important. I wonder what they'd think of me.
And then it hit me. Not literally.
How important you are does not really bear on what you do, or how smart you are or how not smart you are. It has to do with perception. If someone perceives you as important and praiseworthy, then you are.
As I passed those 3 gentlemen earlier today, it dawned on my that because of the way they dressed and acted, I thought they must be important. Someone else, looking at me, no suit, no tie, just a black eye, laptop in a bag and a baseball cap on, one might perceive that I was on a lower caste than those gentlemen. They might look down their noses at me.
I thought about that a little, and it occurred to me that I really don't care what most people think of me. I'm not the suit and tie type. I prefer to wear a cap because outdoors my head can get sunburned! Any important decisions I make have an immediate impact on me, and me alone.
And I like it that way. I don't want to be responsible to other people. What I would like, however, is to entertain people with my writing. And if I make a little money on the side, well that's even better.
So let's put that perception to use in the writing world. (Okay, I lied about not writing about writing.)
I want people to perceive that I'm a writer, but, seriously, how does one do that when they are a complete unknown? I'm terrible at self-promotion, and always will be. I've tried to put the books into the hands of friends, teachers, co-workers in an effort to get them to help me promote it, and, frankly, that's been disappointing.
So, what's next? And how much money will it cost me? Because if there's one thing I've found in all this: If you want to promote, you have to pay. There is no longer that 'If you build it, they will come' attitude. I have to pay someone who puts the book on their 'popular' web site and that will draw readers. I have to pay to enter contests and hope I win.
Well, sorry to say this, promoters, but I'm broke as far as an advertising budget goes. So I'm going to continue what I've been doing (which may lead some to question my sanity) and hope that somewhere along the line, someone notices.
One thing I'd like to try is a recorded book reading (after my black eye fades), posted on my Youtube account, and hope it goes viral. I'd also like to make a book trailer, and perhaps someday I will. Something's gotta work, dammit, Jim!