Let me start by saying, I don't typically read a non-fiction book from cover to cover. Instead, I search the table of contents and skip around, picking and choosing the parts that really speak to me. This book was different.
I heard about Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers in a Facebook group (probably about writers or writing) and was intrigued by the title. Did a quick search, read the blurb, and purchased a copy for myself. Not only is the cover lovely but the contents are so fantastic.
Sapala wrote a rather simple, straightforward book on marketing geared toward writers who are highly sensitive. In it, Sapala shares examples from her own writing/marketing journey. She also provides some questions at the end of each chapter for self exploration and personal growth. Did I mention this book is amazing?
The author might as well have been speaking directly to me with her insightful questions, her easy-to-follow instructions, and her sincere understanding of the issue at hand. Take chapter 5 for example. It's all about the connection between how you feel about money and how you feel about marketing. Truth be told, some of Sapala's personal experiences mimicked mine. Take what she said on page 47:
Specifically, I didn't think I deserved to have wealth, in any way. I felt guilty when I had it. I felt like me having more of something meant that other people had less. I thought that wealth made people arrogant and divided them from their emotions and their true selves. And I didn't feel comfortable with too much attention on me or my accomplishments either. I thought that also made me a bad person in some nebulous, but still very definite way.
While I don't tend to feel guilty for having money or wealth, I was conditioned to believe that having these things also means that you think you're better than everyone else. As I've done well professionally in my day job, I've repeatedly discounted what I do for a living and the importance in my role because, God forbid, I think I'm better than anyone else. This also carries over into my writing life. The last thing I want is attention on me or my [writing] accomplishments...which means I don't market (or don't market well) and struggle to put myself out there in any manner at all. The thought is literally paralyzing. Add to the equation that I'm inundated (as I'm sure all of you are as well) with these picture perfect Instagram feeds and gorgeous (or highly filtered/photo shopped) pictures of people marketing their products with a thousand comments on them. No pressure, right? I'm just over here having a panic attack about posting a sentence from my latest WIP.
Is my grammar spot on? Am I being pushy? Too sales-y? I probably shouldn't bother anyone with my book, or talk of my book, or the latest and greatest idea I had about my book. #NoPressure
And these self-sabotaging thoughts swirl around in my brain until I've successfully talked myself out of doing any kind of marketing at all. And successfully given myself a migraine through which I might shed a few tears at the impossibility of it all.
Recently, in another FB group, the admin offered some inspirational and motivational tips on how to create a simple video to post to my social media. He offered the tips via a simple video to demonstrate just how easy it was. He shared with me the formula on how to get across an effective message about my product. And then he instructed me to "just do it" and create/post a simple video using his formula every day for the next 30 days. This desensitization method would have me over my fears in no time.
In his defense, it was a nice gesture. The video was good quality. He used my name and my product in the video, which I found to be a really nice touch. Have a created/posted a single video since then?
I just couldn't do it. Couldn't even muster up the guts to attempt to do it. I'm not a photogenic, selfie type who can bust out a quick video ad, throw together some matching content, and hit the post button. That's fine and great for others but I don't want all that attention on me. I don't need it. Don't like it. Um....no.
And if you're a highly sensitive writer like I am, that's not your style either.
Enter Lauren Sapala.
In chapter 3, Sapala talks about "setting boundaries and protecting your energy." The chapter title, alone, spoke to me. I'm a huge fan of having boundaries in place and protecting my energy level. As someone who is chronically exhausted, I have to protect my energy. In three pages, Sapala hit the nail on the head on ways I can improve my marketing.
1. She spoke about only allowing people who encourage or inspire or whose interests are similar to mine in my newsfeed. That meant I had to do something with the discouragers, the haters, and those with whom I have zero interest. I unfollowed people who stirred my heart with frustration and zapped my energy and I left groups that did the same.
2. Twitter lists -- for the first time ever, someone made sense out of the beast that is Twitter
3. She commented on the side-view profile pic that indicates a need to be invisible.
In less than an afternoon, I was able to clean up my newsfeed, grasped a concept that has evaded me for years, and come to the realization that I'll need a new profile pic sooner than later. While I still don't have my Twitter lists entirely cleaned up and though I have no clue how/when I'll get an improved profile picture, I know those are 3 feasible activities I can implement and be eons ahead of where I've been stuck in the mire that is marketing.
There are a small handful of craft books that I've fallen for in the last five years. Firefly Magic just made that list.
Are you a highly sensitive writer? I'd love to hear your thoughts on Firefly Magic. Has it helped you? Is it a book you haven't heard of yet, and now can't wait to get your own copy? What areas are you trying to improve on as your journey toward publication?