A few years ago the Big Buzzword was “competitive.” Maybe it still is. Gotta be competitive. I always thought competitiveness was sort of pathetically testosterone-induced. Cooperation seemed to me (and still does) like a much better way to get along in life.
Trouble is, if you’re operating on a cooperative basis, and everyone else is being competitive, you’re going to get used as a doormat a lot.
This afternoon I spent an hour talking on the phone with an old friend. She has written several mystery novels since she retired. She loves writing, and she’s pretty darn good at it. But it’s very unlikely her books will ever be published. The publishing industry is too competitive. Even finding an agent to represent the books — there’s just too much competition.
The publishing industry is too ruthlessly focussed on the bottom line. We all know this. It’s not news.
I go through something similar in the music arena. My stuff is pretty good, but there’s no market for it.
Young people like to cling to the myth that in the end, talent will surely be rewarded. Sorry, kids — it’s just not so. The entertainment industry chews up talent and spits it out.
I can think of several strategies for dealing with this stark fact. You can give up; that saves a lot of energy. (Giving up can be done with or without depression, so that’s two options.) You can keep battering yourself silly trying to break through the wall. You can alternate between giving up and battering yourself silly; that’s how I usually do it.
Or you can get pissed off and do it all yourself. This tends to work best if you have some expertise in the marketing area and are good at schmoozing.
The good news about self-promotion is that, as draining as it can be, it’s probably easier than you think. The world is thick with media outlets. If you have something that’s even moderately interesting (and can be ordered online), you can probably find a variety of local radio and TV stations, local Sunday supplement magazines in newspapers, and so forth that will be very happy to give you free publicity. They have to fill their time and/or page space with something. It might as well be you!