SEX ADVERTISING IN A WRITER’S WORLD?

(Originally written for Creative Pinellas, as a Professional Artist Grantee!)



It’s been suggested to me by someone who’s opinion I hold in high regard that I need to better – and more frequently – present my image to the public. As you probably know by now, I’m a writer. My second novel is due for release this October, and my third shortly after. No one tells you how hard it is to reach new readers. Strangers, essentially. Especially in this day and age when a novel is considerably more lengthy than the more commonly read text blocks of 280 characters or less. Counting to a million using prime numbers by memory is more attainable than reaching those elusive new readers.


Present my image to the public. I believe the exact words were, “Use your looks,” and “Show people how cool you are.”


Show people how cool I am? Am I cool? Is anybody? What’s the barometer? When it comes to “cool”, I’m a non-apologetic luddite.

LUDDITE noun

a person opposed to new technology or ways of working; resistant to progress

Use my looks? Am I sexy? I have an aging cat named Mango who has a chronic lung infection. I pick snot out of her nose about 10 times per day.


With my fingernail.


Am I sexy now?


My boyfriend is addicted to Youtube. More specifically, videos on living off the land, building structures in the forest, that sort of thing. There’s one channel he frequents which follows a couple building their home from natural materials. The wife’s tits are always on full display. She’s not nude, mind you, but she may as well be. In all their videos, she’s in a bikini or sports bra, and is shockingly adept at finding every opportunity to lean down or bend over. I’ll give it to her – she knows how to work the system. The content they’re providing on natural living is top notch, but she brings a touch of…shall we say, discredibility…to their entire endeavor.

Please, please…don’t tell me this is what I have to do to use my looks.


But sigh, perhaps there is a nugget of truth to this that I must accept. I became a writer to be successful. If success were not a concern, I’d be happy enough with scrapbooking, or excessive journaling. In order to be successful, my books have to appeal, intrigue, and ultimately sell.


I’m really not as high and mighty as I sound in this post. If the Literati Gods opened up my ceiling right now and told me that if I read my book naked on the internet I’d be guaranteed bestseller status and could quit my day job forever, my bra would hit the floor before they could take their next breath. (Do Literati Gods breathe?)


As I sit here now (fully clothed), I am hard at work on my third literary novel, Sex for Poets. I haven’t released much info on it yet, but that’s coming soon. I am, however, looking for a unique way to market it in advance, and due to the pressure to present my image to the public more, I’m considering releasing the rough draft, chapter by chapter, as a video series on Youtube. (I just vomited in my mouth a little, pardon me.)


I’m a photographer by trade. I’m supposed to be behind the camera, not in front of it, and the thought of being in videos makes my gut spin. I’m not real active online, and keep telling myself I need to try harder. I treat Facebook as a sort of bulletin board and an occasional browse of what the people in my life are up to. My Instagram account is a dusty museum curiosity cabinet of things I posted once; I can’t even remember the last time I logged in. And that’s it. I’m not on Snaptrest, TwitTok, or any of the other newfangled interweb applications those pesky young folks use to make connections. (Get off my lawn!)


So…after extensive consideration, I do believe I’ll be taking the leap and posting read aloud sessions of my next project, Sex for Poets, on a Youtube feed. I concede. My hope is that I can find some excitement in doing so, reach potential (legit) new readers, and eventually make the Literati Gods proud. And I’ll be sure to let everyone know when the first video goes live. (It should be within the next month or so.)


But a heads up – I will not be reading while donning a bikini or painfully-tight spandex. I won’t be dramatically leaning over in front of the camera for no reason, or reading from a bubble bath (though that does sound lovely).


Because I’m a writer trying to do real things with my life.

I’m not sexy.

And I’m not cool.

I’m just a girl. Standing in front of the world. Asking them to love my books.