This week I got to chat with author/creator Heather Rigney! Heather is a fiction writer, blogger, journalist, and art teacher based in Rhode Island. She is the author of The Merrow Trilogy –a dark, historical fantasy novel that deals with homicidal mermaids, the colonial suppression of women, and a present-day alcoholic funeral director trying to make sense of it all.
Her journalistic writing has been featured in both Motif Magazine and The Avenue Concept Magazine, and she contributes weekly to Inkitt-The Writer’s Blog. By day she teaches art at an all-girls Quaker school and at night she tries to be creative while avoiding too many sweets.
You can read more about Ms. Rigney on her website: www.heatherrigney.com
Author Heather Rigney in her natural homicidal mermaid form.
JL Metcalf: What is your number one tip to creators (new and old) on how to best market themselves in today’s world?
Heather Rigney: Be consistent and be yourself.
I am at least one of those things–I’m always unapologetically ‘me’ but I suck at consistency! Recently, I got a full-time teaching gig and my artistic gigs have suffered. However, I do know that to stay relevant, you need to be consistent with your audience. Have weekly content on your social media channels that is both a glimpse into your world as a creative individual and that features what you’re selling in some way. I am not good at this. My sales have dipped because I don’t stay on top of this.
An author friend of mine sends out a weekly newsletter about what’s going on in her life and I am always fascinated by how she finds the time and the content. I love that she is always herself. Personally, I can’t stand fakeness. I know a few lifestyle bloggers and the forced, posed, staged content makes me gag.
JLM: Why is marketing yourself, aka the business of creating, so important for creators to learn and embrace?
HR: We, creators, like to make stuff.
The stuff is only a business when you get it out there in the big wide world. Because we are makers, we tend to be on the shy side. The business world does not embrace shy, it embraces the go-getters. So, that’s the dirty truth. We shy violets need to dig deep to be outgoing when we are not. It’s the only way you’re going to sell anything.
My advice, if you can’t be you, be someone else. That’s weird but true! Try and do what your most out-going friend would do! I do that sometimes. I think of my friend who talks to everyone and I channel her. “Hi! I like your shirt! Can I tell you about my book?” I also have bookmarks with my best review ever on the back which I hand out. “Here! Don’t take my word for it, read the description on the back!” These bookmarks have sold me more books than I can count and I barely had to say anything. Find your trick(s) and use them.
Art piece by Heather Rigney
JLM: What do you like best about being a creator?
HR: The zen part of creating appeals to me. When I am writing or painting, I zone out. I’m completely wrapped up in words, ideas, media, patterns, shapes, whatever. When I create, all the other life-junk fades away. It’s an escape for me.
Also, I create worlds where I am in control. Isn’t that what everyone wants? To be in control of just one small thing and have it turn out just the way you like it? Creating is like that for me. I make stuff to make me happy.
JLM: What do you like least about being a creator?
HR: Figuring out what to do with stuff after I make it. The creating is awesome. The editing, marketing, selling, etc. … Meh. That’s serious work and it takes a lot out of me and gives very little back. That’s a lesson I have learned the hard way–realizing that my hustle is not going to yield as much as I would like. And, the creative business is all about the hustle.
The Merrow Trilogy by Heather Rigney
JLM: Who (or what type of art) inspires you most and why?
HR: Great question! I’ll break it down into my two creative realms–writing and painting/illustrating.
Writing – I have always admired and been in love with the works of both Margaret Atwood and Angela Carter. Ms. Atwood because she writes about women in a way that is both true and intimate. She also tackles science fiction/speculative fiction in a way that is both frighteningly thought-provoking with a feminist edge. Angela Carter also writes with a feminist slant, but her writing is more in the dark fairy tale vein which really appeals to me.
Painting/Illustrating – I really enjoy both figurative and abstract work. Right now I am loving Audra Auclair. Her colors, her imagery, her intense knowledge of anatomy is everything to me.
Art piece By Heather Rigney
Thanks Heather for your insightful comments – and thank you to my readers for checking out this weeks 5 Questions For a Creator!
Make sure to check back here next Friday for another post!