Marketing myself

The thought of marketing myself, or my product sends me into a state of sheer anxiety. Look, I’ll just put my writing out there and if nobody buys it, fine. Just, please, don’t even hint at the fact that I need to promote myself.

I think this fear dates back to my teenage attempts at sales. Back then I had a ‘can do’ attitude. Hey, I once even loaded the back of a pick-up truck with plastic bags of peat moss and went door to door trying to sell them. My brother and I had filled them ourselves. I thought my dad’s land had exceptional peat moss, but it didn’t seem anyone was in need of any lawn or garden enhancer that day.

I used to get easily motivated by motivational talks and fell prey to marketing schemes. Gradually I was cured of this ailment. For years there was a bone-coloured, leather-look carrying case filled with cosmetics and promotional material, sitting in my closet, reminding me of the wide gap between my dreams and reality.

I can see now that my sales pitch tended to sound more like an apology, “This is a wonderful product, but if you’re like me you probably can’t afford it. I don’t want to pressure you. Please. don’t think I’m trying to sell you anything.” And if someone bought something my eyes almost popped out of my head in surprise. Really, seriously?

Then there were the parties, you know, the ones where you invite all your friends and relatives and they are supposed to buy tupperware, or candles or something else they really don’t need for their house. After a few of these I started to respond with a tentative, no, to hosting anymore parties. I think it was because I was realizing pretty quickly how few true friends I had, or how fast I was losing them.

So, the upside was that I learned to assert myself. I didn’t have to buy anymore kits, or host parties, or attend any more pep talks. I began to see the success stories were about other people, not me. No, I wasn’t going to get those cheques they bragged about for selling vitamins, household cleaners, make-up, or whatever, no matter how good it sounded.

But now the old anxiety is returning. If I produce something, I will have to market it, some way or another. And I so hate promoting myself. Even writing an About page almost paralyzes me.

There is, however, one thing I know how to do. If someone has a need I can meet, I’m there. So if I research what people need, what they are looking for, I can respond to that. Maybe I can even present my product in such a way as to help them to see how it is precisely what they are looking for, or what their market needs.

For example, this morning I went to Markets « FundsforWriters. There I found what publishers are looking for. It’s all there, what they need. Now all I have to do is determine what it is in my experiences, knowledge, or research that is suitable. I think I can do this. But like I said, if they don’t buy it, fine. I’m out of there and on to the next one.