Hello again from Home!
One day I want to be my own boss. For anyone who has been stuck in a lousy job, with a horrible boss, this seems like a dream. But, like all dreams, the reality seldom resembles the fantasy.
I’m not new to being my own boss. For those who are considering a life of BYOB, I can tell you that there are many rewards – set your own hours, work in your pajamas, short commute (if you work from home). There are, however, an equal amount of drawbacks. 40 hour work week? HA! Try 70 or more. Regular paycheque? Fuggetaboutit. Sick days? Not if you want to pay your rent. And if you think BYOB means never taking anyone’s crap ever again, let me assure you, your crap-taking days have just begun.
My BYOB life started when I quit my “real” job and became a professional stunt performer. The life of a stunt person sounds exciting and glamorous, and it was—sometimes—but it was also a lot of work. Back when Prez and I were still in the film biz, we were essentially self-employed. If we wanted to work and keep working, we had two big jobs to do:
1. Constantly improve: train, learn new skills, and get as good as we possibly could at our jobs.
2. Promote ourselves: scour the film list, call stunt coordinators, visit sets where stunts were being filmed.
The first job was usually fun. Who doesn’t like to work at getting better at what they love? The second job? Not so wonderful. It takes an odd combination of humility and confidence to sell yourself. This comes naturally to Prez, but I am an introvert by nature and the thought of self-promotion makes me cringe. I forced myself to make those calls, to simultaneously swallow my pride and boast about my skills.
This aggressive self-promotion was never fun, but it was necessary. And it worked. For BYOB’s there are no truer words than: “Out of sight, out of mind”.
What does all this mean to a writer, especially to an indie author? Everything. The methods may be different but the jobs remain the same – keep getting better at what you do and promote yourself.
Here’s where it gets tricky. How do you promote yourself? Where? How often? How agressively? At one end of the spectrum you have the indie author who puts his/her e-book out for sale and then waits for an audience of readers to magically appear. It’s fine to write about magic but relying on it sell your book is misguided at best, cuckoo-for-Cocopuffs at worst.
At the other end of the spectrum you have this guy…
The stereotypical salesman. This is the author who is all about SELLING SELLING SELLING and their 50 marketing tweets per day proves it.
As I step into the Twitterverse and the realm of social media, I now have to decide where on the spectrum I want to be. Yes, I have to sell my book, wasn’t that the whole point of indie e-publishing? But I also want the book’s quality to speak for itself. I also don’t want to spend so much time marketing that I neglect my other important job – getting better at what I do.
Oh wait, there was a third job I had as a stunt person. This was a job that was so much fun it’s easy to forget it was a job at all.
3. Make friends
If all I ever did was train and promote myself, there’s no way I could have been successful as a stunt perfomer. What helped my career more than anything was becoming part of the community. We trained together, we played together, we went out for dinners and drinks and laughs together. I didn’t like everyone in the business, and I know not everyone liked me, but I found a core group of people that I connected with. And those people gave me advice, shared their experience, and recommended me for jobs. This wasn’t some marketing strategy, this was just me being me.
It’s taken me a lot of years to recognize just how important those friendships were, both personally and professionally. People like Marny Eng, Ernest Jackson, Rick Pearce, Laura-Lee Connery, Heath Stevenson, Garvin Cross, Deb Macatumpag, Melissa Stubbs, Eric Bryson, Mike Mitchell, Alex “The Legend” Green, Tony Morelli, David Jacox and many, many more, deserve a good portion of the credit for any success I had. (If any of my stunt pals are reading this…THANK YOU!)
Sure, I’ll do some shameless promotion of Warpworld. Like those phone calls I always dreaded back in the stunt days, it’s necessary. But I’m also going to be me. I’m going to express my gratitude for the friends I’ve made in this business and continue to seek out writers with whom I ‘click’. As my friend Big Wave Dave used to say, “Invest in friendship, the dividends are amazing!”.
To all aspiring BYOBers, this is my advice:
- Love what you do. Only love will keep you motivated during those long, hard times when nothing is going your way.
- Keep improving. Learn, practice, and perfect your skills.
- Promote yourself or your product. Even if it feels weird, you need to put yourself out there.
- Make friends and be yourself. To quote the line from It’s a Wonderful Life that always makes me weepy, “No man is a failure who has friends”.
Yes, friends give you wings.
And now, I have to fly.
Until next time, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!
p.s. You can now find me on Twitter! @KristenePerron (See also: self-promotion, an example of shameless)
p.p.s In the next Chronicle I will reveal the Warpworld book cover. So excited!
p.p.s. Just another reason I love the Kootenays…Follow @KristenePerron