I am getting ready to launch a new book next month, and as it seems lovely things like in-person author talks at bookstores are not going to be happening any time soon, I’ve been thinking about how to promote it on social media.
Given I have been in media my whole life, you’d think I’d take to it like a duck to water, but I would much rather focus a camera on someone else, not me.
I’m still uneasy with the idea of influencers per se.
The whole concept makes me cringe. I think being private is chic. I loathe Facebook. LinkedIn depresses me. I follow some wonderful people on Twitter, but I rarely stick my neck out and say anything for fear of some crank deciding to take offence and rail at me for something I never meant.
I do post desultory photos on Instagram, just to play the game, and I overthink every post.
I took a selfie this week because I was kindly gifted some sunglasses and wanted to thank the company by posting, as is the accepted commercial exchange. Well. It took about half a day.
The first few attempts sent me into a state of shock about how old I looked.
Maybe I should turn around and face in a different direction, this sunlight is too harsh. Why does my mouth do that? What on earth has happened to my neck?
Meanwhile, every photo I took I promptly deleted because, let’s face it, they weren’t pretty, but they clearly made some impact in the iCloud because I was later targeted by ads suggesting I start to consider my own funeral arrangements.
By selfie attempt number 38, I’d lost interest in the photos, but had started a very deep dive into which plastic surgeon Marc Jacobs used for his recent facelift.
I rang a friend, who is young and gorgeous, and posts lots of photos of herself, sometimes for no reason at all. I explained that the whole exercise was stressing me out and how did people do it for a living? “Oh, you need an influencer kit,” she said airily. “They sell them at JB HiFi”.
Of course they do.
Turns out, the kits are a collection of ring lights and tripods and various clamps and microphones to make you look better while you flog stuff. Dear God.
I had another brand reach out to me and ask if they could send some clothes to me. I looked up their website. The collection was very nice. But my actual answer was “I don’t know if I can do it, I hate taking selfies and what if I didn’t really, really love what you sent to me? It wouldn’t feel right to promote it, but I couldn’t in good faith keep it, I’d have to return it to you, but the post offices aren’t open and then I don’t really do this sort of stuff and …”
And the reply then came back. “Thanks for your honesty. You’re a terrible influencer.”