This week we had the pleasure of talking with a very talented women about writing, art, and social media. Cendrine Marrouat is a photographer, author, poet, French instructor, and social media coach who lives and works in Canada. Her blog, Social Media Slant, has been recognized on Fit Small Business’ Best Small Business Blogs of 2015 & 2016 lists and she was declared one of Top 100 Business Bloggers by BuzzHUMM in 2015. She has also published several poetry books as well as her a photography book titled, Life’s Little Things: The Quotes. She has a wealth of knowledge to share with up-and-coming indie artists of all kinds.
When did you decide to become a writer? Was it something that you’ve always wanted to do or did your interest develop over time?
First of all, thank you very much for featuring me today!
I don’t recall not writing in my life. I guess it came naturally to me.
You’ve said that you’re not really interested in short stories, but you seem to be drawn to poetry. What do you like the most about writing poetry?
Since the release of Five Years and Counting. A Journey into Soul Poetry, in 2010, I haven’t written more than a five or six poems. Right now, I focus on nature, black-and-white, and closeup photography.
However, when I was in full poetry mode, I loved how powerful this medium of communication was. It is one of only three art forms that requires, on the part of the viewer, an ability (and willingness) to read between the lines to understand the message. The other two are photography and theatre.
With that said, many people dislike poetry. That is because school taught them to analyze every syllable and sound to try and read the poet’s mind. They were not allowed to let their emotions do the talking.
You cannot put yourself in someone’s head. You can only understand the world through the filter of your experiences and personal views.
Poetry has been turned into a dry, “cold-hearted” subject, when it needs the heart of a child to be enjoyed.
You’re bilingual, writing in both French and English. Do you have a favorite language to write in? Does one lend itself better to certain types of writing then the other?
I write 90% of my time in English.
I find that the English language flows better and leaves much to the imagination. So, it’s perfect for poetry.
French, my mother tongue, is beautiful but more precise and analytical. That is why it is a great medium for philosophical writings or theatre.
Your latest book titled, Life’s Little Things: The Quotes, includes your photos and inspirational quotes. What does the title mean to you? Why focus on the little things in life?
The title is part of the slogan of my photography website (Documenting life’s little things) and the main idea behind my Life’s Little Things series of books.
My passion has always been to show the details that most people miss because they are too busy looking right in front of them. Those details actually make up the big picture. Without them, you cannot understand what truly matters. You cannot appreciate the world around you.
I have noticed that an increasing number of people suffer from stress and depression. Negativity seems to have secured a spot in almost every area of life. However, beautiful quotes and images paired together have a reverse effect. People will share them with others; and beautiful discussions often ensue.
The goal of Life’s Little Things: The Quotes is to invite positivity in again. Readers of my blogs chose 25 of my photos. I then wrote words of wisdom, based on personal experience, for each one of them.
I want people to treat themselves better…
Do you have a favorite photo? What’s the story behind it?
I have so many favorite photos! It is hard to choose.
Let me tell you about one that is very dear to my heart: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/in-old-palmyra-cendrine-marrouat.html.
In 2009, I was in Syria with friends. One day, we spent a couple of hours walking through the ruins of the old city of Palmyra. I was very sick and had a hard time keeping up with the group’s pace. So, I decided to try to enjoy the view rather than walking fast.
Just as I was marveling at what I saw, I heard voices behind me. I turned around and took the photo.
The arch was destroyed by ISIS a couple of years ago. So, it is the reason why the photo is very special to me.
As a poet, how do you approach photography? Is it the same process?
Poetry doesn’t influence the way I take photos. I just approach photography in the same way. I consider the tools secondary to what I try to document. It’s about the moment when my eyes catch a silent, but fleeting story unfolding. Every photo and poem must achieve two goals: simplicity and serenity.
How do you find your courage? A lot of new writers are scared of putting themselves out there to be judged. So much so, that many of them never even take the first step. What advice would you give to them?
I am not courageous, I just have enough self-confidence to take judgments with a grain of salt.
Most writers will delay their first steps for two reasons. 1) They are too busy listening to critics and judges. 2) They don’t challenge themselves enough.
If you do not get out of your comfort zone at least once a day, you will never build yourself up. You won’t be able to turn your weaknesses into strengths.
Envious and jealous people are part of the deal. They will always be around. It is up to you to let them win or prove them wrong.
You are holding the cards of your own success. The only person who can truly limit your reach is yourself. You set the bar.
You’ve created a blog (Social Media Slant) that covers topics that have become near and dear to our hearts here at Literative. Anyone who tries to build or sell something online has to become familiar with the tools of the trade, including WordPress and the many social media sites and tools that you need to reach an audience. It’s often been a struggle to learn how to use these tools effectively, and your site contains information that would help make the whole process easier for anyone looking to promote themselves successfully.
We have to ask, what inspired a poet, writer, and photographer, to create a technical site that focuses on Social Media?
I have been a blogger for 12 years and a social media coach / trainer since 2009.
In 2006, after releasing my first three books of poetry, I realized that I needed to do a better job at self-promotion. I spent hundreds of hours doing research, networking with people, attending webinars, asking questions, and bartering services. I also found a mentor who redirected me to the right resources.
I also observed what successful entrepreneurs were doing online and put the advice I had received into practice. In 2009, I felt confident enough to start blogging about my experience and the tips that had worked for me.
Fellow indie artists contacted me to tell me that they enjoyed my no-nonsense content. Some of them even hired me to help them create their social media strategies. That is how I got started.
After a couple of years working exclusively with small businesses and solo-preneurs, I recently decided to get back to my first love — artists. My focus has shifted towards photographers in need of help with their online strategies.
Did you have any formal training in using Social Media or did you become an expert through research and experience?
Social media is an “elusive” subject. New social networks are launched every week, while the main ones change regularly. So, the phrase ‘formal training’ feels a little far fetched to me. And that is probably the reason why there is no common social media curriculum taught anywhere.
All the professionals I know have learned on the go. In this field, it is all about research, trials and errors, hard work, and commitment.
What is the biggest mistake you see with Indie authors or photographers when trying to promote themselves through social media?
I was a digital journalist for a few years and interviewed many indie artists. While they were all talented, a majority of them had no idea who their audience was and no strategy in place. Even worse, they spent their time self-promoting without even engaging with their “fans”.
And then, of course, they wondered why almost nobody bought their products.
Things have improved a little, of course. For example, indie artists tend to resort to spam a lot less than five years ago. When it comes to lack of strategy and over self-promotion, though, they are still guilty as charged.
Do you have any quick SM media hacks that are simple, but people rarely seem to know about?
Honestly, all the tricks and hacks in the book have been covered. There is no secret recipe for success. And anything labeled as “easy” is a lie.
One thing I keep repeating is that you don’t need to be online 10 hours a day to get the results you want. Just use the time you have in a smart way. If you only have an hour to spend, so be it. Settle on small, attainable goals. They will help you stay focused and consistent.
And do not open accounts on every social media platform available. Instead find out where most of your audience likes to hang out. Chances are that they will only be on a couple of them.
With that said, the “simplest” trick in the book is treating others the way you would like to be treated. It takes time and hard work to be noticed, but people will always remember kindness and the way you make them feel.
That is actually the reason why I wrote The Little Big eBook on Social Media Audiences: Build Yours, Keep It, and Win. I wanted to help people with tiny budgets.
I have built my career on a couple of hundreds of dollars. But I made up for the lack of money by investing time and efforts in my strategy.
We appreciate your stance on organic growth for social media accounts, without bots, spam, or buying followers, what do you find is the best way to get past all of the spam to make real connections with your audience?
It is impossible to avoid spammers and trolls. However, you can stand out from that crowd by being yourself. Don’t use a fake persona. Connect with others in a genuine fashion. Show that you care.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any new projects?
Right now, I am busy promoting Life’s Little Things: The Quotes. But when I’m done, I plan on starting my fourth photography book. It will be part of the Life’s Little Things series. The idea is to pair my photography with haiku.
Is there anything else that you’d like our audience to know? Publication dates, Social Media links, tips, etc.
I love meeting new people, so don’t hesitate to say hi. I stalk the internet. 😉
- Social Media Slant
- Cendrine Marrouat Photography
- Link to all books (poetry, social media and photography): http://creativeramblings.com/cendrines-books/
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/cendrinemedia
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/cendrinemedia
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/cendrinemarrouat
Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us Cendrine!