The event was pitched to me as an 'awareness raiser'. It wasn't a fundraiser, but we didn't want to lose money, either. What we wanted was, to borrow a phrase from the movie, Slap Shot, "Let them know we're here." To that end we had our name on everything that went out--the posters, the press releases, the ads in the paper, the ad on TV. When it came to setting up the event, we had more tables than anyone, and had the primary place in the exhibit tent. You couldn't swing a dead cat around this event without seeing our name somewhere.
|This was NOT our polka band|
And so I find myself thinking of the struggle of writers. Whether we're agented or not, self- or traditionally-published, or not yet published at all we hammer away. We write the best stories we can and we send them out, or we publish them ourselves. And we try to build a name. We blog and we tweet and we Facebook, and we do this even if we're fortunate enough to have a publisher that puts time, effort and cash into promotion and marketing, and we do even more if we don't have that sort of publisher. We even do it when we don't have anything published, because we hope it will pay off some day. All in the name of recognition and sales. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.
In looking back at last weekend's event, and thinking over much energy (and money) went into pulling it off, part of me thinks the best approach is to let the organization's works speak for themselves. Rather than creating an event specifically to get our name out there, maybe we should just go on doing what we do, and send out press releases when we do something noteworthy. At this point, I'm no longer sure about the connection of this post to writing, except that the powers that be tell us we need to start building audience, name recognition, and--dare I say it?--platform before we're published. That way, when we have our book launches and cover reveals and all that stuff, people will say, "Oh, I've heard of him! Let me check that out." It's a nice idea. The problem is, until we get to that point, we're just one person of many trying to be heard over the polka band.
Have a great weekend, all!
Image of the Bavarian Sauerkrauts
*I should point out, while it's kind of fun to make fun of polka, the band was actually very good, and the music itself--the traditional and non-traditional polkas both--are quite catchy.