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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Email Marketing and “Authenticity”

The notion of marketing myself and my work really squicks me out. I regularly entertain fantasies of reverting to my dumbphone, dismantling my website, and living in a cabin in the woods with a kitchen garden and a 19th-century water pump. No more social media. If you find my work, great; if not, oh well, it wasn’t meant to be. I don’t need to be a bestselling author, somebody with “clout”—it only matters that I’m using what I’ve been given in a way that feels authentic.


This mindset is problematic for several reasons. First, of course, it espouses a sort of reverse-snobbery, as if every person making a living using social media has had to “sell out” for the privilege of working at home in their pajamas whenever they feel like it. Sure, lots of people have sold out. But there are also plenty of people who are using new platforms and technologies to share a useful and inspiring message, and we discount their efforts when we point only to those who are using manipulative marketing techniques to sell and up-sell their coaching packages, online courses, et cetera.

Secondly, it is very possible to skip out on undertaking one’s Scary-Big Work under the guise of humility. That is essentially what I am doing when I say I don’t want to collect anybody’s email addresses, I don’t want to network, I don’t want to promote or sell something people don’t want or need. Not only am I “playing small,” but I am preemptively dropping out on those who could actually benefit from my experience and insight—and that includes people who haven’t been born yet.

I can talk about not hiding my light under a bushel, but I’m only one of many people I poop out on when I engage in cowardice-masquerading-as-modesty. This is not the same kind of pretension you see in Facebook and Instagram ads in which entrepreneurs brag about making a six- or seven-figure income online—creating an enviable persona to get people to sign up in hopes of getting what they think you’ve got—but it is a pretension nonetheless.

So enough of all that. I’m giving myself permission to state my desires, loud and clear:

I want to inspire people to grow into the most fulfilled, most vibrant, most loving versions of themselves.

I want to help my students expand their capabilities: their literacy, their creativity, their compassion for all creatures.

I want to cultivate joy in the hearts of everyone I meet, in person and online.

And yes, I want to make a comfortable* living doing it—every cent exceeding “comfortable” funneled directly into hands-on philanthropic projects. As artist and creative consultant Rachael Rice writes, “Can we imagine the impact of our work beyond those who can afford it?”**

That is my dream. And to live my way into it, I’ll need to use the Internet with integrity (which I already know how to do!) and without false humility (which I shall continue to work on!) So—gulp!—I’ve started an email list. To sign up, just click here (although there is also a neat little link at the tippy-top left corner of this page). I’ll send you updates roughly once a month—with new-book news, of course, but also scrummy vegan recipes and practical advice on rejuvenating your creativity. Over time there will be an expanding emphasis on social, animal, and environmental justice projects—and if that sounds heavy, well, you can choose not to look at it that way. I believe that everything we do in this life, we must do for one (or ideally both) of the following reasons:

  1. To be happy [provided it’s not at someone else’s expense; eating bacon most definitely does not qualify.]
  2. To grow into ever-more-loving versions of ourselves [see above!]***

To clarify, this isn’t the same as subscribing to blog updates (but thank you very much for signing up for those!) Newsletter content is pretty fresh, meaning that you won’t find much of it elsewhere on Comet Party. I won’t be reposting the recipes I share in my emails, though some of them will appear in books (!!) later on. Even more exciting, next year when I start taking on beta coaching clients (probably five max), it’s the list I’ll be looking to—because if I’m going to work with someone for free in exchange for critical feedback (and hopefully a testimonial), those five have to be people who already appreciate and support my work! (And you’ll hear all about the aforementioned philanthropic projects when the time is right.)

Thanks so much for reading this, everyone, and big love to my brilliant friends Dr. Giavanni Washington and Joelle Renstrom for helping me through this evolution (and to Elizabeth Johnston for lighting a fire under my desk chair).

* I define “comfortable” as enough to cover basic living expenses, occasional domestic and (backpacker-style) international travel for work and adventure, and regular contributions to a retirement fund (not that I see myself retiring EVER, but you never know what might happen in the future. Gotta be prepared!)

** I had my ideas (and some very rough plans) in place years before reading that blog post—inspired by my experiences in India and Vermont and at Yaddo and Hawthornden—but Rachael distills my motivations more directly than I have yet been brave enough to do.

*** After writing out these two basic reasons-for-living, it occurred to me that I have simply reformulated the Golden Rule. Yessssssss!

1 Comment to Email Marketing and “Authenticity”

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    October 9, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Lauren said she had watched some of your videos and really enjoyed them 🙂

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.