Marketing is so weird. Ads. Social media posts. Buttons and links to click. "Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?"
I'm trying something new (to me) for a giveaway through my newsletter. So far, it's been an overwhelming success, so I'm probably going to do more like this. I've asked folks to tell me about first-day-on-the-job experiences. As my two consistent blog readers know, I've had several jobs. Sales. Fast food. English teacher. Shipping/receiving clerk. Customer service representative. Quality assurance analyst. Business analyst. Web content specialist. The one role that's been consistent through all of these? Author.
As an author, I'm always looking for stories. When I hear a story, it sparks my imagination. What would happen if ... ? Stories also make me wonder about the future. Where are we going, really? What are the far-reaching consequences of what we're doing today? Will our actions come back to bite future generations, like the DDT barrels they've found just off the California coast? What is my legacy, really? How can I make the world a better place, without leaving toxic shit for people to pick up later?
"Stick to the stories, ma'am."
But I'm still human. I care about other humans. Do I want them to buy my books? Sure, but I also want that human connection, that piece that's been missing for most of us over the past year, and longer, if we're really honest. Most of my human interaction has been work-related. Work is a construct. We're forced to pretend we like each other and value others' opinions. I love my coworkers like family, but if I walk out the door in June, I'll probably never hear from them again. I'm not even that sad about it. It is what it is. I've left enough jobs to know life will get in the way, we'll lose contact, and they'll form bonds with whoever takes my place.
Writing is a choice, not a construct. You have a choice to read my books. You have a choice to answer my emails. You have a choice to pick me, or pick someone else. It may not even be about me; you might like my taste in to-be-reads. It might have been about the free stories, and now you might choose to unsubscribe. It's always your choice. As much as I want to be like Donkey, "Pick me, pick me," at the end of the day, it's about you, the audience, and your choice.
That's why I'm so grateful to the folks who want to have conversations, beyond the initial bribe. To me, that's what marketing is all about. Forming a connection.