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Going Small-Time: Why This Indie Author Does Branding Differently

Hi all,

If you've been following in along so far with me, you might have noticed a change in my online presence over the past month or so. That's because I'm intentionally re-thinking how I (*cringes) advertise to you, especially across social media.

Let's face it, everybody and their meme wants our 5-second (max) online attention span. I attend entire regular meetings focused over the single repeating issue: how can we dissemble our info to you. How can we get you (yes you) to buy our book/come to our writers' conference/order our services/spread the word.

Last June was a flurry of activity for me. I had Trombonist of Munst releasing. I had my bill-pay job's main fundraiser (yes yes, no. Writing and helping new authors is not, in fact, my bill-pay job - although I very much wish it were...). And, most of all, I had the St Louis Writers Guilds' Gateway to Publishing Conference and Convention. All year long, I'd been hard at work with a wonderful team of writers plugging this annual con. I memed. I Buffered. I shared. I posted. I analyzed. I advised. I went live. I designed. I printed. I held up signs.

I came, I saw, I mingled.

And you know what? I realized we want better.

I realized we want more than just drinks and cats. We need more than just funny videos and Youtube Marvel trailers. We crave more than just likes and follows - I know I do, at least.

So I more or less went 'Social-Dark'. Sure, there's still a few of my music playlists bliping up every Monday for you, but that's because I know we all hate Mondays. Everybody knows the monsters can't get you if the music's on... And yeah, I still have the occasional #WriFri on here - because I think what you all do really is awesome. (Really!)

In the 'Dark-Time', I learned at least two things through listening to others:

FIRST, apparently, I think like a non-profit.

I do?

This surprised me, because I don't think I do. I don't like being Ad-y to the point of spam (because, honestly, I'm insecure about my writing - and I'm blown away how anyone reads it and demands I write more.). Apparently, I don't think like a slick-talking business shark. I'd rather help people laugh, smile, and maybe even think... and If IF I just happen to scrape enough $$ together to fend off one of my wife and I's college loan bills for a month, at least I've done something good - something right. Apparently, my priorities are different when it comes to how I (*more cringing) "promote myself".

SECOND, I make a distinctive effort to NOT spam-bot people.

I would rather have less than more. Because less is real, and more is not.

So what does this mean for me now? I'm not sure, TBH. The only reasons I'm writing right now is because I'm downing coffee, dreading my tedious day-job workload ahead of me for today, and because I read this Nielson article (Nielson sets the national US marketing bar for all TV and Radio... to quote Anchor Man, "They're kinda a big deal!"). The three big things the Big Fish of the Business world are just now figuring out (apparently) are Be Authentic, Tout Local, and Aim to Inspire.

I find this ironic to the point of painful because I have three big responses of my own for their sudden revelation, ready? 1, big companies are NEVER going to Be Authentic, because being authentic doesn't always mean being profitable. 2, They're NOT local, they're Global (or, at the very least, regional). And finally 3, Call me jaded, but I'm not going to be inspired by someone who really just wants my wallet. I mean, would you? (Except for Elon Munsk - that guy is cool! Maybe only a few subtle steps away from being the next James Bond villain, but still...)

Last night I went on an adventure (and if you're still with me so far, woah - Kudos to you Sir/Madame/AttackHelicopter! I went out for a drive in Fiona (she's my topless redhead love-affair... aka my '86 Stang)... I had stuff on my mind and heart... so, inevitably, I drove north out of town, took a right into farm country, and suddenly spilled back out onto the highway near IL! So I just went with it, rolled into Quincy, IL and headed to a new bar I had been wanting to try. There, I eventually started talking to this Knapheide tycoon... and as he regaled his illustrious national sales career, I realized how he too was a nomad. Except whereas I chase acceptance and belonging, he was following the seasonal herd of the almighty $.

It was sobering. (which is ironic at a bar)

We need more than the next teaser. We yearn for more than just the next podcast. We want more than the next witty gif. We want meaning. We need honesty, and the ability to feel safe enough to be honest. We want to know we are valued and loved - trusted even. I know I do.

So it leaves me thinking I'm just going to laugh when I laugh. Cry when I cry. Be bored when I'm bored. Social media has this insidious tendency to show us life through a filter which removes ugliness, paralytic existential fears of inadequacy, and our ability for deep understanding.

If you see less of me online, that's because I'm more interested in living. Not because online is bad or anything- far be it - online is just an extension of life. Just know I want you to like who I am for who I am - and the same goes for me with you, too. So if you followed me all the way to the end of this post, and you like it - say so. Share it. Let the ideas mumble in your mind - and express themselves through conversation with someone else who genuinely cares for you, trusts you, loves you.

- Ryan

TLDR: I'm posting less because reasons.


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