I am not a Brand
I might be a person
In the current age of influencer culture, social media personalities launching themselves as brands, selling anything from toothpaste to bidets. I don’t know if you noticed this about me by now, but I’m not an influencer. If I was, my books would’ve sold gangbusters1. I’m on the other end of 30… almost 40 really… and there’s no stopping me now.
So, I have to come to terms with this truth: I am not a brand. I’m not going to become a viral sensation. The things I make - writing, drawing, games, etc. - just aren’t going to be shared out as I dreamed about oh so long ago. It’s hard enough to get my family to share things I make, the expectation that strangers would share what I do is laughable.
Brands are designed to make money.
And I do not… make money.
I’m lucky to break even. Most of the time: my creative passions are a net negative. The sales don’t match the costs. Revenue is negative. I’m not quite sure how many more ways I can say that I suck at selling the things I do. I’ve made some fun shirts (Texas Forever, yo?), some funny drawings, and I’ve made some book covers for people. They don’t make money though. Even the projects that don’t incur a huge money investment, suck up a LOT of time. A LOT.
Brands also pretend like they are your friends.
But they are not… your friends.
I can’t get on a live stream and smile at you all friendly-like, and pretend like I know people that I don’t. And I can’t manipulate you into feeling that either. But you know what that feels like.
I also just don’t have that kind of personality. People aren’t drawn to me. My success doesn’t mean much to you. And why should it? We’re all just trying to accomplish our goals, and why should I expect you to help me accomplish mine?
Also, most of you reading this are my friends and family. So that may feel like an obligation to respond, to read, or to pretend to read to appease whatever demand for attention I secretly harbor. And does success look like this: friends reading my stuff, and you get to know me better; perhaps in a way that I have trouble articulating in person?
The major problem is that some of my success does hinge on you wanting the things that I make, or - at the very least - wanting to help me succeed. And that can be a problem for a non-brand person. I’ve never really figured out how to make that part work as just a regular dude. I can share things. I can post about books I’ve written, drawings I’ve done, and games I’m working on. But when it comes down to it, I don’t really know what I should do beyond posting incessantly. Anything beyond that feels just a little bit slimy, and even just posting can feel like I’m bothering people.
Where does that leave us?
I’m not even sure. I think I really like this writing thing, and I’m going to continue to write, regardless of whether or not I get more subscribers. Would it be nice to know people appreciate what I write: probably. Should I expect it? Probably not. It would be nice if people wanted to share my stuff. I think I’d enjoy that too, but - again - the idea of asking people to push my writing feels … well, pushy.