So, I’ve been advertising my new, and first, book. I have about 7 years of experience with Facebook ads with Quarky Shop. And I knew there would be trolls and rudeness in the comments, but nothing prepared me for what would happen.
Like I usually do, I produced several versions of the same ad and sent them out to different, specific audiences to see which ones would fit. I thought of the subject matter, the type of book I had written, the personality type of my ideal reader, who would LOVE the book and rave about it.
The response I got pretty much reiterated the theme of the book itself. The book is my story of how my beliefs evolved over the course of the years, and how I always seemed to be looking to prove what I wanted to believe the most. Even now I observe myself doing that.
In the ads I said nothing about what I believed. I purposely omitted that because it was irrelevant. The point of telling my own beliefs in the story is to get people to either notice that something they have previously believed may be off OR reinforce the beliefs that they cling to the hardest.
The point is not at all what I believe. The point is that we all have our own perspective, and therefore, it is NECESSARY and UNAVOIDABLE that we all have differing beliefs. The truth is only seen from a perspective… and ALL perspectives are different. We all have our own truth, based on what we see (or don’t see) with our own eyes.
So here are 3 nearly identical ads, flying around Facebook to thousands of people who fit into the most closely matched categories being discussed in the book itself.
In the comments section of the first ad, someone typed, “Amen.”
I liked it.
Then someone else type, “Amen.”
And then another, and then another.
Given that the term itself is largely associated with Christianity (in the US), I began to think that the ad viewers were assuming my book was about Christianity being the “truth”. Because the first person who commented used that particular word, all of the viewers after seemed to see that as a sign that the previous commenter knew the content of the book and was confirming its Christian basis.
Then another ad had a first comment. This person seemed to assume that I was trying to “trick” her into buying my book with my ad. I’m not sure how I was supposedly doing this. Voodoo doll? Hypnosis? But then, many of the comments after that were significantly negative, downright mean.
Then another ad’s audience gave me nothing but praise and love, even though none of them were buying the book.
And then another, geared toward other artists, like myself, devolved quickly into an ugly back-and-forth between me and a guy who literally told me he wanted me to hold my breath. This guy who knew absolutely nothing about me or my book. The other commenters followed suit, except for a few shining examples of humanity, with many simply making it known that my book was not interesting to them in the least. And I couldn’t help but wonder why it was so important to them to tell me that, and insult me directly, rather than just scrolling past onto something more interesting.
It’s because those people are hurting… so they hurt me.
They are humans. It happens…
(but it still hurts to be on the receiving end, ya know)
But, that’s what happens when you put yourself out there. You are exposed to the moods, whims, and trauma of complete strangers. They will not all be nice. They just can’t be. There are people out there who do bad and mean things. Period. You literally cannot please everyone.
But, I’ve come this far, so, even though it stings, I will keep moving forward, because I’m still holding out for those who will be helped by what I’m putting out there. I know there will be those who feel a little lighter, a little less alone, by me telling my stories and singing my heart out.
I have always found wisdom in unlikely places. One such example is the wisdom of the great Michael Scott, one of my favorite characters of all time and genres. He isn’t afraid to look dumb. He thinks outside the box. He loves people. He is tenacious and determined, and has the joy and curiosity of a child. But he is human, in that he is sometimes narcissistic, sometimes crude and blunt, makes tons of mistakes, and he’s a total dork… but people love him anyway.
Some of my favorite episodes of The Office were the ones that featured the Michael Scott Paper Company. Michael’s ability to follow through on his pipe dream was amusingly inspirational. Pam’s willingness to take a risk, and enter the unknown, in order to escape a mundane job she felt didn’t use her potential was also courageous.
Even though they didn’t pull off the original idea, they did get their jobs back, and Pam was promoted to Sales.
Don’t think fictional tales can’t inspire you to make real and lasting changes in your life. Don’t think that characters in a story can’t give you a better philosophy for living...
Success is nothing more, or less, than the determination to never give up.
“If tomorrow my company goes under, I will just start another paper company, and then another and another and another. I have no shortage of company names.”
Michael Scott, The Office
If people don’t like me or this book right now, then I will just write another one, and another one, and another. I have no shortage of names, either ;)
Ever since early childhood, I was told by everyone around me that I was super smart. I consistently tested out in the 99th percentile on state tests. I used to be shipped on a bus to Gifted and Talented programs, and I was placed in Advanced Placement classes, sometimes in the grade level above mine. This continued into college where I studied on an academic full-ride scholarship.
Meanwhile, growing up, whenever I would speak honestly about my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, I would most often see looks of sarcasm or chastise. The very people who told me I was so smart were the ones who would look at me like I was a dumbass whenever I spoke my mind. So, I learned to keep my mental life mostly private. No one wanted to hear my thoughts…
So, I started writing instead. I’ve been doing it since I was about seven.
Journals, song lyrics that meant something to me, memories, theories about life, death, and God, poetry, short stories, my own lyrics…
Because of the depression and anxiety I experienced since childhood, I was unable to complete my education, so not only am I not taken seriously by the people around me who claim that I am smart, but refuse to listen to me, I am also shunned by my intellectual peers because I am unrefined by formal education. I am messy and impulsive with knowledge, therefore, I am not accepted as a professional. I have educated myself with an open book and an open mind.
I am between these two worlds. Is there anyone else out here?
Also, who doesn't LOVE The Office?? I bet the bad people don't...
P.S. We are in the process of learning the above soundtrack song... STAY TUNED.
Main Blog Series Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay