You Are Not A Marketer: “Shut Up And Write”

Life is not fair, I suppose. Why should I even start to speak on this issue? How can we have a good argument over this issue? Or, should I have said the life of an artist? Not all artists are for sale.

An artist, any type of artist, has the ability to be creative. He or she can create and become very imaginative that creates something that people will eventually gasp for their breath, love, and admire. Singers are artists too, but they make a lot of money; oftentimes they are not writers, and nobody expects them to write their own music. But they perform and make gazillions of money. Not to exaggerate, they make tons of money with just their voices. Sometimes an average singer does not need a good voice to make it in show business, depending who their promoters are. So now we can conclude that writers just write and singers just collect the cash. if I did not misunderstand the whole issue. Or can we say that good singers are not good writers, or bad singers are good writers? Which one?

On a sad note, if you are a writer, to get one’s book out now.  An artist has to sell his or her soul which is sad too. The hardest part is from moving away from one’s comfort zone, not drawing a fine line between marketers and writers. In addition to that, writers will be having sleepless nights thinking who is buying who. I have been contemplating why I have to write a book. First, my memo which will probably sell 20 copies in Phoenix, Arizona and probably millions in Nigeria (I do not even know when I am going over there); you have to market your own  book yourself which is extremely hard to do. It is not fair, but if you must write, shut up and write (I guess).

But in this write up I am focusing on creative writers and painters. The first time I came close to a real artist was in Africa about 25 years ago. To be an artist then in my country was a hassle because our parents often objected to it because they were like most other people; they were afraid of change, and coupled with the fact that most of the arts materials then was very expensive. In addition to that, the instrument for writing does not come by easily. And then the rich also have access to everything including painting, but if you are one of the best talented, you are in for a ride, regardless of who might be against you. As a young girl who loves arts, I fell in love with an artist. I know quite some people will be shocked; yes, I fell in love with an artist. He was a painter who loves to paint the human face. He was really good at it, but he had to hide it from his family who really wanted him to become a doctor because there is still an old notion that artists are usually poor people.

As a young girl, I can still vividly see his work, his drawings that were all over the place. Oftentimes my life became a mystery because I was the only eye that saw the perfection in his drawings before he would introduce it to the world. He would not sign it unless I approved the drawing. Why, because I have beautiful eyes to see beautiful portraits. I want perfection (probably my own perfection reflection).  I had thought we had a wonderful relationship, only that I did not have a say in it. Poor me! I was in love with an artist who loved his work more than he loved me, the world, even money. I always saw people coming over to watch his work for free, and he loved showing his most creative side.

As an artist, he did not have a marketing skill; I guess one cannot be an artist and a marketer at the same time. To be honest, marketers have special skills that make them different and bring them a lot of success and money included. Unlike accountants and bankers, who a lot of professions considered smart and savvy, the marketer has so much energy that makes one question how one can have such energy in working tirelessly(Telemarketers not excluded) . I guess if you are a writer and did a similar thing, you turn into a con artist. (Ouch). Oftentimes, marketers make you puke because their life is so different from that of an artist, so the artist I knew then will spend tireless hours and hours creating his work, borrowing money in the process making everyone happy, yet his finances are nothing to write home about.

As an artist, he will borrow money to buy his materials. He will put it on display at no cost, if you ask me, and all his friends will come and pick the very best portraits, and choose which ones they need without paying a dime. He was well admired, while some people who did not understand the life of an artist called him ignoramus (1st person plural) for not being market savvy.

His mother understood him as every mother does; the mother provided him money from her pension for his material while his father called him a prodigal son. Very wasteful, I guess his father never realized how much an artist needs to make other people happy. How much sacrifice an artist has to make. I was part of that understanding crew. I never cared for money either. I guess that is why people around me then thought I was stupid for even befriending a poor artist when everyone of the beautiful girls I knew with no brain then were marrying all the traders and marketers in my time. I will say that an artist probably knows more about borrowing money to make their fans happy than to make money with their talents. An artist will probably remain poor.

Recently as a writer, I have found myself in a similar predicament. My kind of artist is very different. I am all for moral conscience. Sometimes I am so comfortable in my own zone that I cannot move away; I know how to draw the fine line, so I think.  As a student of literature before I came to America, I got here in 1997 and started all my prerequisites in 1998, some of the people I know went ahead and did courses that would give them instant money. I have spent a number of years studying every subject, any course that has been created, except physics, astrology, and all the hard core science related courses.

 Yes! I should have been rich with the type of knowledge I have now, but yet, I still live in an apartment with four children. I have recently borrowed money to keep my computer running, my Cox internet and my printing going. I have spent countless hours writing, and it seems that my kids are not taking it from me. Like my old friend, my kids are not getting it, my mother in-law, my sisters, and my family do not get why I should not be rich by now. They do not get the reason why I have spent many years in school without making money. Now I have become gone with The blog.

Yes my life even came in question last year when my dad died. I was one of his hopes; I was everything to him. But how can I explain to him that he has an artist who does not know how to market herself to get money? Or am I afraid to look like all the marketers I have known all my life? When my dad was sick, I could not have the courage to ask for money, and you think that all the people that you have worked with will remember to raise money for you? After all, you have been a very good helper.  Even to understand that it takes a lot of money to go back to Africa, to face more pain, I could not go home for his burial. I still want to go, but how? I have always worried about my life and how so unmarketable I am really. Now my children need money. I need money to be more creative with my work. Recently I have come to a crossroad that writing on the internet kind of diminishes the fact that not every writer will go commercial.

I genuinely get it that as an artist we need money to be able to take care of our homes, so that we can write, write and write. I have come to terms from people that I do not know how genuine they are that want to commercialize me. I guess that is the only way we can make money as writers. But the fact is that most writers have pride, soul, and think a lot like old school. What happens when a writer becomes a commercial artist? Does it take his or her legacy away? Does it make an artist look cheap, a crybaby artist who just talks about money? But as an artist, nobody needs more money than a writer. We need money to be creative, upgrade, reach out to more people, and for me, I will like to move into a house  for the first time with my children without worrying about all the student loans I have accumulated. How can I achieve that without looking too commercial?

As an artist, I guess I am speaking for all writers generally because I have seen too many poor writers, myself included. How can all these known marketers market us knowing that we are prone to market ourselves? What happens when a writer becomes a marketer herself? One of my friends hates to see those advertisements, polls on a blog. Just like a published poet I knew once told me that a picture in poetry takes away the real poetry, so she told me to avoid every kind of picture, paint, and color in poetry to avoid making my work look cheap. That means poetry is not interchangeable. Now move over poetry,

In the end,how can a good writer make money writing? I am curious because I need money to hire people to work for me, but do I start raising money online? When do I start, but at the end who am I? I am an artist for sale or what? Or should I just shut up and write? please tell me .


5 thoughts on “You Are Not A Marketer: “Shut Up And Write”

  1. I don’t know what to say ….you have the heart and soul of a poet and writer and I know how hard it is to make a living writing… I guess only you can decide what you should do… Take other employment and do writing that you love and perhaps sometime get an opportunity for making a living from it….Diane

    1. Thank you so much. I was just relaying what I have known a long time. That we writers borrow to write. Starting from when I was dating an artist who was happy to borrow money to do his art work. I am so happy you read it and understand what I was saying. I really love the fact that you even cared to read it. I appreciate your kindness.

  2. This is a very bold and courageous piece. A lot of times, it just takes
    time and a team of people who believe in the work to market it on behalf of the
    artist. Just continue to do your passion, and the money will follow (as I’ve
    been told and believe).

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