Self Promotion

OK, time for the daily check-in. What have you done today to make the world know who you are?
 
-I’m taking a little break from self-promotion.
 
What?
 
-I’m an artist! Sometimes I need to be creative.
 
So you don’t consider it creative to make eye-catching postcards that you mail out to thousands of people?
 
-Ten of which might actually look at them before tossing them in the trash?
 
You don’t think it’s creative to send mass emails to people you don’t know and tell them about how they should link to your website?
 
-And get reported for spam again on Facebook?
 
Certainly you find it creative to think up ways to get all your friends to come out one more time to your latest show?
 
-Actually, I’m beginning to wonder what the point of all my endless self-promotion has been.
 
We talked about this many times before. Life as an artist today is all about branding yourself. It’s about enhancing your name recognition. It’s about making a buzz around what you do.
 
-For years I thought the most important thing was to hone my craft and do good work. I believed recognition would inevitably ensue. But it didn't.
 
Which is why you created me, your self-publicizing alter-ego!
 
-A thick-skinned bragging spotlight hogger.
 
Just as you wanted me to be.
 
-You don’t care if you come off as a complete self-absorbed immodest asshole. All you care about is getting attention for my work.
 
Look at me! Write about me! Buy me!
 
-You’re good. You really are. But you also make me cringe. I think you’re taking over more than is healthy for me as an artist. When I die I’d like to leave a body of work, not a mass of self-publicity.
 
All right, I can take a hint. I’ll back off ... for today.
 
-Thank you. I’m really looking forward to getting in touch with my muse again. I haven’t seen her in ages. I’m even going to stay off the Internet today. Well, after I check my email. Wait! -- what’s this?
 
You just got an email invitation to speak at a major gallery!
 
-But they don’t want me to talk about my work. They want me to be talk about “The Craft of Self Promotion.” They say I’m one of the current masters of the form.
 
All the publicity I’ve done on your behalf is finally paying off! Wait a minute, what are you doing? You’re not really telling them “no,” are you?
 
-I’m insulted they’d even suggest such a thing! I’m an artist, not a PR person.
 
Don't you understand? People will turn out for this. And not just your friends. Complete strangers will show up wanting to see your self-promotion in action! They may even want to write articles, reviews and treatises about it!
 
-What about my real work?      

 

Honey, listen to me.
  
-You always scare me when you use that tone of voice.


This is your real work.


Polly Frost's new book, "With One Eye Open," is a collection of 25 of her humor pieces. Her website is http://pollyfrost.com.

July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.

Landline

What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.