Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

I am, contrary to some indications, rather introspective. Often my very flightiness is wrapped up in introspection where I go off on some tangent because I'm busy living in my head where one thing has already lead me to go off in some other mental direction instead of finishing what I had intended to do.

So long after the very minor brouhaha over giving a negative review in response to someone promoting his work in my journal I kept poking at why I few off like that. It isn't as if the internet is some sort of pristine no advertising zone, after all. Or that most of us are not out looking for some sort of validation or a minuscule shard of fame. After all if we're not interested in at least some attention from people we do not know we'd be posting in locked journals, if at all.

So what is different about posting a comment on a journal entry? I think in my case it seems like a violation of one of those messy unwritten social rules. There are exceptions, but if a person promotes his or her own work or is doing so for pay, I expect it to come through pay channels rather than through channels reserved for two way communication. A person might get around this rules by being sneaky about it, cheeky about it, or even brazen, but that's a delicate act. If you're not willing to take at least a few tomatoes along with the roses it is a very bad idea to use personal communication channels as a way to seek gain. It is part of why Amway has such a bad reputation, it trades on friendship.

So, what route is open for a person who's an aspiring self-publishing artist on the internet? Short of spending actual money on advertising anyway.

One route is to contact your actual friends and then just keep plugging away. If you're good or getting better you'll connect with an audience somewhat naturally. Friends will tell their friends and so on. If what you're doing is more blog than free book/comic/art on the internet it makes sense to offer up links to other blogs you read when you feel inspired because this will tend to lead to reciprocation if it is honest.

If that's too passive cultivate a great facility for feigning interest in other people and posting comments on their blogs/journals/whatever. You cannot do this with a canned comment saying, "Hey you're neat, come check out my work." You've got to let people make up their own minds to check you out. And if you are not actually interested in the person then expect someone to figure this out at some point and be even more outraged than if you'd been up front about what you were doing. I did a bit of this when I was first on livejournal, but I was actually interested in the people I commented on their blogs.

The third option is to just not care that you're going to attract negative attention. Plenty of people get away with this, but you're going to need a thicker skin.

That's everything I know about self promotion. It isn't much, but I thought I'd share. I should do another post later about how my view of friendship is somewhat similar to this. Reciprocation, dishonesty, and strange methods.

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