Steal Like an Artist… or Market Just Like One?
Posted by Jamie Brazil
Picasso had his blue phase, The Beatles went from bubblegum to Sergeant Pepper, and Angelina Jolie has reinvented herself onscreen more times than Madonna. Even James Patterson took a break from thrillers and hopped on the young adult bandwagon. All of these icons got bored with their usual schtick and branched out successfully.
So where does that leave writers like you and me who aren’t so keen on plumbing the depths of just one genre for the rest of our lives? It’s a marketing problem for authors trying to brand themselves in this digital age… it’s a marketing problem for me.
“Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started,” says Austin Kleon in Steal Like an Artist:10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, a book written for practicing, and procrastinating, creatives. He was talking about making things, but the advice holds true for branding and marketing, too.
I’ve struggled with my brand since 2011. I write romance. I write adventure. I write nonfiction. I write what pleases me. But mega-authors tell us to write thriller after thriller, and stick to the exact same formula– book after book— so readers will never be disappointed.
What? I can’t do that. My brain doesn’t work that way.
If your creative brain hops around like mine, welcome to the tribe. We’re in good company, even if we’re not exactly Picasso and company. I like to enjoy the journey, and try like hell to ignore the futuristic time travel story bubbling up from the depths of my subconscious when my shape-shifting demons need to be turned in by Monday morning. Sometimes the bright and shiny new story seems so much better than the current project.
I say, why not be open to all avenues of creation – in writing, branding and marketing? Or, as Kleon advises artists later in the chapter, just show up and do your thing.
Just as long as you finish your thing and market it… whatever form it takes.