Life, Like a Candle
The image stayed with me: wax as an art medium, and a social media. Authors hear constantly that their sales medium is the social media, the big seven, the social platform. Publishers want to be assured authors have that going on before they even consider what they’ve written. Considering that social media wasn’t created to market anything, it surprises me how important it has become. Social media doesn’t sell books, any more than ...
You know you can buy electronic candles now? They are perfectly safe. They’re sleek and modern looking. You can program a fast or slow flame, high or low. Of course, they don’t give off any light or heat, they’re nice to look at from a distance; they never change. As they sit there lookers lose interest. You might as well unplug it.
Then, there’s the dining room table candle. Not quite as classy, but it gives off a nice warm glow, the family and friends enjoy gathering around it. It moves around on the table, it drips a little wax, but when it burns out its wick, loses its interest, loses its sheen; only the owner cares.
How about the utility candle? It’s the one that gets used all over the place. It gets carried from the kitchen counter to the table, to an end table, to a coffee table and back again, upstairs, downstairs, into the garage. Not sleek and modern, not cozy, but busy. It’s working. It gives off light, warmth, drips, it creates; every drip changes it and makes it new. New candles need to be added to drip new colors adding brilliance, color, interest, something new to notice and talk about. Interesting, that as it uses itself up, it only becomes stronger, bigger, more interesting. Every day it’s a new candle. Folks come often to look at it anew. They want to add something to it, be part of the life of the candle.
They are all a wax medium, but which one works for the longer time for the most benefit of more users? Of course. It’s the one that is out and about being useful, seen and interacting with others. It’s good to be modern, keep up with current trends. But those trends change quickly and users move on to something else. It’s good to move around within family and friends, in the comfort of your geographic circle. But if you never move into new territory you will soon be old news. Those are both good social media platforms. But they aren’t the only social media we need. We need to be the hard working, everyday candle that moves from hand to hand, place to place, person to person. We need to be dripped on with every color and texture, hold our flame against the wind. We need to interact and talk to the users; meet eye to eye, touch elbow to elbow, talk, laugh, grow together. It’s people who sell books or any other product.
This is why I do what I do. Yes, I have all the necessary tools: website, blog, facebook, linked in, Pinterest, on and on. I’m on them every day, engaging and interacting with others. But when I sold 85 books last Saturday I was not in front of my computer screen. I was in a crowd, talking, laughing, rubbing elbows, dripping our wax on each other. Folks carried my books into homes and schools in other states. They’ll visit my website to see what else there is for them.
At Freddie’s I met Eric, my waiter, Stephanie and Heidi the hostesses, and the hard working bus boy with pennies in his ears. I came back three nights for supper, because of that friendship, and I’ll be a return customer when I’m in Wilmington. I’ll even bring a candle to drip on theirs. The Corcoran family seated next to me at Freddie’s on Saturday evening asked to take a picture of me in the Civil War clothes, then they came to see me in the pouring rain on Sunday and bought four books. Dripping wax is a slow process and so is marketing books. But it makes a strong and lasting platform. It makes sense to me.