Funnily enough, on a weekend when I decided to embrace Hugh MacLeod's brilliant new book Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination, which spoke to me about not being afraid and letting my fears derail me from living up to my potential (and flaking on $1,000 assignments!), and write about how in 1999 I was a failed law student with no clue what to do with my life and now, I'm, well, a writer and blogger and editor and event organizer, I came across this post on building a personal brand as a writer by Lisabet Sarai:
In the realm of erotica, I consider Rachel Kramer Bussel an example of effective brand-building. Pretty much anyone who reads erotica will be familiar with the dozens of anthologies she has edited, many focused on kink or fetishes. Rachel builds her brand not only through her publications but also through readings, parties and an amazingly active presences in the blogosphere. Just say “cupcake” or “spanking” to any erotica reader and Rachel's name is likely to come to mind.
Hopefully you will soon be able to read 5,000+ words from me on this very topic; well, in a memoir form as I figure out how it was I got here and what happens when "sex writers grow up." More on that when...I get the word, hopefully the good word.
I may write more about Evil Plans, especially the chapter on why it's good to have people hate you. It, along with MacLeod's previous book, Ignore Everybody, are essential shots in the arm for those of us who are waffling about how to embrace being unique. I have that problem all the time; I want to do things the way everyone else is doing them. I assume that they know something I don't, rather than that we are each pursuing our work and life goals in our own ways. I think because I never had a "plan," just started sending out erotica stories, and grew this life organically, I often am unsure about how wholeheartedly to embrace it, how to figure out where I've erred from where I've found success (or only seeing the former). So I'm trying hard to work on figuring out what I do know and writing those things down while being open to learning, learning, learning. Do visit Gaping Void to see more of his work, and sign up for a free daily cartoon and lots of both inspiration and practical tips on how to best utilize your creativity for your own benefit, rather than letting your fears (of success or failure) defeat you.
In the same concise but profound manner he used in Ignore Everybody, Hugh MacLeod gives artists and businesspeople a way of looking at the world that values them and their own talent, providing examples and encouragement on the path to building your own evil plan. He doesn't just throw random pronouncements out, but backs them up with examples from his own career and those of others he's known or read about who've forged their own paths, along with examples of his business-card cartoons.
Some of the biggest lessons I got out of this book is that it's okay, welcome, in fact, to have enemies; doing so means you are getting known, and provoking people. I also got the message that enacting your evil plan is not "easy," and does mean forging ahead and not following the pack. I've struggled with trying to figure out how to be "unique" and true to myself while also, to some degree, not wanting to rock the boat, and I read this book to try to gain some insight into how to proceed with a career that combines various tasks (editing, writing, blogging, event organizing) and building a personal "brand" (even though I kindof hate that word when applied to myself). I think I've been the opposite of a "waker" and am grateful to this book for waking me up to the possibilities, to facing the parts of writing that I love and going for them full-bore, rather than getting in my own way all the time. This is an excellent book for anyone looking for motivation, from someone who's lived it and gone on to succeed on his own terms.