Sunday, September 02, 2007

Fame!


Omigod! My face, in full color, distorted as shot through a super wide angle lens, was wrapped around our Sunday paper this morning. Along with several other really wonderful color photos and a great article about me and my Mama Love perfume business. The article, minus the amazing spread of photos, is available online at the Santa Cruz Sentinel's website.

Wow! That's a manifestation come true. Not that it came completely from thin air—I sent the Sentinel a press release announcing that my perfume had been picked up by three more stores—two locally and one in Texas. Looking back at the press release I found myself thinking "This is lame! I said the 'stupidest' stuff in this press release. They decided to write an article on me based on THAT?" There's that perfectionist streak setting off its chimes again. Sometimes all you need to do is be yourself, warts and all, and today I've gotten the biggest publicity of my life (so far) with a photo I ordinarily would have screamed at. Instead it's the butt of my own jokes because, what the heck, it's selling newspapers and, I'm sure, a bunch of perfume for me to boot.

Paul and I are learning a thing or two about fame. Being the shy retiring type doesn't work well if you want to get a fledgling business or more off the ground. So we've been figuring out ways to become more well-known without being obnoxious about it. Paris Hilton we're not. But we have learned something Paris knew all the time: the more popular you appear to be, the more popular you become.

In February we both got our pictures in one of the weekly papers and they posted THAT article online. Again, it didn't happen by magic—I sent a press release saying we were back in town. We were back in town? There's some news— who the hell were we? Nobody most people had ever heard of. But—and this IS the magical part—we had done a session with someone the editor of the paper knew and she said nice things about it. And then about a month before they planned to run a special edition about alternative healing I decided to send that press release in. I didn't know what they had planned so the timing of the whole thing was the magical part, too, but there that press release was right at the right time and the editor remembered us. So fame of sorts begot more fame and then they put a little feature on their website where you could vote for your favorite articles.

Our article was favorited enough times to be on the second page -- not too surprising given that our article ran in one of the first papers that ran after the Good Times went public with being online. We also linked that article to the front page of our website and used it (with a link) in a number of Craigslist ads. Then Paul got the idea that wouldn't it be great to be on the first page of their "Favorite Articles" feature on the Good Times homepage so we asked all our friends and family to vote for us and made sure to vote for ourselves, too, (of course) and there we were on the front page. Then we sat back to watch what would happen... People started voting for our article a LOT more.

A similar phenomena happened on YouTube recently. I decided to post some of our videos there. The first one up was called Paul's Kundalini Awakening in which he describes in his most sweet and unassuming way how having a full Kundalini awakening at the age of 13 changed (or, rather, didn't change) his life. It's not professionally done. It's not scripted. But someone found it and favorited it right away and gave it 5 stars and now it's been favorited and given 5 stars again and, while it's nowhere near one of YouTube's most watched videos by a long shot, it's been watched literally 3 times as much as the other video I placed the same day that wasn't voted for yet.

Now here's the thing, we're not really out to get famous. It's just a game we're playing to figure out how to get enough notice in order to get the amount of business we need to pay for stuff we need. Popularity is something we both know is illusionary. Paul actually had a fair bit of popularity as a youngster because he played in a band but he hated it, eventually, because he knew people were going ga-ga about the budding rock star image they projected onto him and that had nothing to do with his real worth as a human being. He knew better than that. I had the exact opposite experience growing up. I was an ostracized kid, a geek basically who wasn't on anybody's "favorited" list. But I learned the same thing he did. Sitting on the outside looking in I saw the conformity games all those popular kids played to be accepted by their peer group and I wanted nothing of it. Wearing make-up and tight mini dresses, getting drunk and making fun of other people didn't make me feel good. And why would that make anyone more worthy of respect? If that was the price of fame (popularity) I didn't want any part of it.

But rejecting the spotlight does no good if you own your own business and want it to succeed. Nobody buys anything they haven't heard of first.

So we're experimenting and it's starting to feel like fun.

3 comments:

Sentinel Online Editor said...

Hi Sheryl --

I'll see what I can do about getting all those great photos to show up online when I get to the office Monday morning.

Thanks!

Sheryl Karas said...

Thank you!

sharer said...

About your article on Fame, you are reminding me of something I'd forgotten that I believe, which is: If you're honest and real, and hooked up spiritually to doing what's right for you, just put it out on the table, and amazing things happen! Thanks!

Priscilla Nagle