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Download the Transcript here!Jenn T. Grace – Episode 88 – Building a Niche Online Community with Dr. Gloria Brame
Thank you for tuning into episode 88 of the podcast! Today my guest is famed sexologist Dr. Gloria Brame. She shared much of what she has learned about leveraging online platforms to build your personal brand. She has had an online presence since 1987 (!) so had a wealth of knowledge to share.
We were also able to discuss the books she’s written and her experience with self publishing versus traditional publishing. This is also something that we discuss in my Purpose Drive Authors Academy, which you can find details on here.
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Would you prefer to read the transcript than listen to the episode? No problem! Read the transcript below.
Jenn T Grace: You are listening to the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Podcast, episode 88.
Introduction: Welcome to the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast; the podcast dedicated to helping LGBTQ professionals and business owners grow their business and careers through the power of leveraging their LGBTQ identities in their personal brand. You’ll learn how to market your products and services both broadly, and within the LGBTQ community. You’ll hear from incredible guests who are leveraging the power of their identity for good, as well as those who haven’t yet started, and everyone in between. And now your host. She teaches straight people how to market to gay people, and gay people how to market themselves. Your professional lesbian, Jenn – with two N’s – T Grace.
Jenn T Grace: Well hello and welcome to episode 88 of the podcast. I am your host, Jenn, with two N’s T. Grace, and today I have another interview for you. So this is four interviews in a row, all of which have had amazing content. I really appreciate the feedback that you’re giving on the guests, and the topics, and all that great stuff. So today we are talking to Gloria Brame who is a certified sexologist. She has been writing about sex education, sex therapy, BDSM; you name it, she’s been writing about it for a very long time. She started the first Internet group back in 1987 that was an online community for people in BDSM. So she has quite a historical perspective of the Internet, how she’s used it to grow her personal brand, and her platform, and she’s one of the most recognized and cited sources on the topic, which she talks about in the interview, which she really thinks has a lot to do with the fact that she is an academic and she has a PhD in the topic, and it was just a really, really fascinating interview to hear all of the ways in which she’s been able to really get her message out there. And she talks specifically about social media strategy, we also talk about the difference between doing traditionally publishing a book, or doing a self-published book. So it’s just honestly a wealth of information, and the topic was really interesting to talk to her about. So overall I really hope that you enjoy this interview, and she provides information on how to get in touch with her, but as you’re listening to this if you’re on a treadmill, or in the car and can’t write it down, you can go to www.JennTGrace.com/88 and that is for episode number 88 of the podcast, and there you’ll find the links of anything we discussed, her books, all that good stuff. But anyway I really hope you enjoy this interview, and feel free to reach out with any questions or comments. Thanks so much and enjoy.
Alright yeah so if you can just kind of start off by telling the listeners who you are, and what you do, and then we’ll go from there.
Gloria Brame: Okie dokie. My name is Gloria Brame. I have a PhD in Human Sexuality. I’m probably best known for being the lead author on a book on BDSM called ‘Different Loving’ which came out originally in 1993. I just did a 23-year follow-up I called ‘Different Loving Too.’ I started out just as a kinky person writing about kinky sex from an academic point of view because I was actually an English professor at the time, and that’s really my background. But then I found it was very difficult to get any jobs once I’ve written a book about BDSM. So I decided to go back to school, I got a PhD, I made my dissertation project- I had a research project and a dissertation all about BDSM so you could say I have a degree now in BDSM.
Jenn T Grace: Nice.
Gloria Brame: And about a year after I was graduated I became a certified sexologist, which means I’m certified to work in the field of either sex therapy, or sex education, or public sexual health, any of those things. So I hung out my shingle and decided to become a sex therapist, and basically that’s how I make a living even though I continue to write and publish books.
Jenn T Grace: Nice. So when did you become certified, was it 2002?
Gloria Brame: Yeah. I became a certified sexologist.
Jenn T Grace: And you started your business shortly thereafter?
Gloria Brame: Fourteen years ago. Right I had been doing really since the nineties what I guess I would call peer counseling because I founded a BDSM support group online way back in 1987, and before it was called BDSM. But it was for kinky people, and I founded it and I had such a huge membership, and a lot of the people were so encouraged- you know how it is, I was like the leader of the chat so I started doing a lot of peer counselling there because people would start writing me an email. So I started to think about- I really just wanted to write because that’s my true love. I just wanted to write, but you really can’t make a living as a writer unless you have phenomenal success. Like ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ maybe. Or you’re Stephen King, or something. But most writers do not make a lot of money. Most of us have to do something to earn money, so instead of teaching I wanted to do therapy, and that’s been really awesome.
Jenn T Grace: And have you used I guess the learnings and the knowledge that you’ve gotten by working with people one-on-one? Has that influenced what you’ve written about in any way?
Gloria Brame: You know I see all of my life, and my life work really, as like just one big bowl that on the very inside, the inner rubber band if you will, is the writing. But everything is built up to a point where I feel that everything is about sex, and everything is about speaking my various truths about sex. So I’ve written academic types of books like the ‘Different Loving’s are more on the academic end. You know I’m working on a trilogy, I have one more book to write, called ‘The Truth about Sex,’ which is basically my twenty years of knowledge as a sexologist and theorist packed into three short volumes that sort of re-educate people on sexual diversity as a norm, and not binary heteronormative sex as a norm, because it never really was. And then I also have published some autobiographies where I talk about my sex history, because that’s another piece of my work, my belief that what happens to us early in life impinges on sexual choices we make as adults. Not sexual identity, but choices.
Jenn T Grace: Interesting. And now you’ve obviously written a handful of books, and right before we hit record I was saying that you must have some insights around how you’ve really positioned yourself as a sex expert, especially since you’re frequently cited- one of the most frequently cited in the world.
Gloria Brame: I came from a humanities background. I was a literary nerd, probably like many of the writers who are listening, we all start out as readers, and that was really my thing and I never really even went close to the sciences. I was okay in science but I wasn’t even interested in it, and after writing ‘Different Loving,’ which I wrote because for one reason only, I didn’t feel that anybody had written an honest book about that type of sexuality, and I was two or three years into being out, and I was really rah, rah, rah and I felt like, ‘This is a terrible thing, nobody knows what it’s really like.’ So I said about writing that book. In the process of writing that book, I totally became hooked on sex history. I mean totally became hooked on my topic. I mean what could be better for a writer? I mean you write what you know, but then the more you know about it, you suddenly realize you want to devote your life to it. And I think what really got me in ‘Different Loving’ was just going back and reading all these nineteenth century source documents about what people originally said and how they studied homosexuality, or transgenderism, or fetishism, or what they later called sadomasochism; and their theories were completely kooky. And yet based on those kooky theories the psychiatric community has held sexual minorities in this death grip of disapproval for a hundred years. You know? So the more I learned, and the more I wrote, and the more I researched, the more hooked I became, and then I felt like well if I’m going to be a sex expert, I’m going to read everything I possibly can, and that’s really what I did for like ten years.
Jenn T Grace: Wow so you went all in for sure.
Gloria Brame: I went all in and I didn’t write any books during that time.
Jenn T Grace: Interesting. So now what are the types of organizations or publications that are reaching out to you that are looking to quote you as a sex expert?
Gloria Brame: Well I’ve been very academically successful, I’ve been incredibly successful in my practice, and my first book ‘Different Loving’ really set me up as an expert in that particular field; in a field where very few people except for pro-doms for a long time were really- most people were not comfortable admitting they were into it. And I was totally out of the closet since 1991 under my real name and everything. And I had a degree. One of the reasons I went back to school and got a degree in sex is because I felt that it would lend more authority to the books that I write.
Jenn T Grace: I was actually going to ask you that question.
Gloria Brame: Yeah, you know it’s like okay this is just a kinky, poly, bi woman who’s writing everything from her perspective, as opposed to oh this is somebody with a PhD in the subject. And I felt that definitely enhanced my ability to get my message out, and I really- I’m not entirely sure how my name has gotten out that much except that I’ve always positioned myself from the start as somebody who knew a lot about BDSM, and from there it grew, and I have always kept a high profile on the Internet, or as high a profile as a private person can.
Jenn T Grace: As far as your high profile status, or trying to still have a low profile but being really heavily involved on the Internet, if you were to look back at what you were doing- because I feel like we have technology also kind of complicating things, but also enhancing things at the same time. So the fact that you had started an online group in 1987 is so amazing because it shows how in a sense cutting edge you were then. So have you been I guess keeping up with, or leveraging, or taking advantage of just the wide world of information that’s out there right now. Has that helped you?
Gloria Brame: The main thing of course- and this is where writers really fall down on the job, and a lot of artists, because they don’t understand the Internet. Although I don’t think that’s going to be a problem to anybody under the age of 35 anymore, but I would say consistency and it’s fluidity because in the early 1990’s I hosted this- I was teaching classes for Netscape. Now does anyone even remember what Netscape was?
Jenn T Grace: I do.
Gloria Brame: You know it was the router that everybody used in the 1990’s that was crappy and went away. So but at the time they thought they were going to take over the world, they thought they were going to be what turned out to be Google or something, and they had classes. So I was the first person to teach online BDSM, you know what I mean? A few years later Netscape was gone, then AOL merged with another platform, and again a lack of at the time people who had academic credentials to back up their expertise in BDSM. And then we jump ahead to blogs, and then you jump ahead to Facebook and LinkedIn. So I have a consistent presence on every new media platform, or every new platform that has emerged really since 1987.
Jenn T Grace: Wow I feel like that’s impressive.
Gloria Brame: I tried Myspace, totally not for me. Totally not for a sexologist adult. But you know places like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, I consider essential. And Pinterest. I mean you have to be where there are going to be readers, and I think part of why I have a good reputation is I’ve also always offered a lot of free content.
Jenn T Grace: Which is totally key in building a personal brand, is the more content that you put out there for free, and dripping it out to people when you have something that is paid for, I feel like you’re going to have a higher likelihood of people wanting to buy from you because you’ve been giving away so long.
Gloria Brame: Yeah and my goals as a writer because I used to teach creative writing, was to get myself locked onto routines and disciplines, things that I did every day. One of the hardest things for me was when blogging first emerged, to actually have something to say every day. You know I felt like, ‘Oh my God.’ You know or even something to say three times a week it felt overwhelming. So for a while like I switched to an all visual blog, after like a couple years of trying to write something new for my blog every day, it became impossible. So I switched to all visual, but by being all visual and being a sex person, I got banned like on all the search engines.
Jenn T Grace: Interesting.
Gloria Brame: So I learned my lesson. And now I’ve switched back to commentary, but now I use my blog- I would say 50% to 60% to promote my books.
Jenn T Grace: And how often are you blogging? And what is it about? Have you found a new routine that seems to be working for you right now?
Gloria Brame: I have. My routine is I now share with the public what I did for those ten years of not writing, which was I used to track every single new sex study, and I would take like post-graduate education modules online in sex, and so I was keeping up with everything. I still read the sex news every single day, I just got into the habit. So now I share on my blog. And sometimes really it’s just a link. Like today there was a historic event in transgender history in the Philippines. Geraldine Romano, a trans woman, was elected to a Congressional office in Manila. So like that’s a big thing. So something like that, all I need to say is congratulations. But there’s always something that keeps people coming back to my blog, and of course to the right of my blog are links to my various books, and lots and lots of content to keep people there if they want to stick around.
Jenn T Grace: And are you finding that Google has been good to you now with the amount of information that you have on your website in terms of ranking high?
Gloria Brame: Yeah I actually had to write to them and all of that, but I got McAfee to take me off their banned website list.
Jenn T Grace: Oh wow.
Gloria Brame: And that was really important.
Jenn T Grace: That’s a big thing.
Gloria Brame: Because you couldn’t read me in other countries. I’m still banned in some countries, but that’s okay. It’s the nature of my work. When you’re writing sex books, and talking frankly about sex, and you’re not coming from a heteronormative perspective, you should expect to encounter pushback and censorship.
Jenn T Grace: Now how does that play out on Amazon for example? Do you have any pushback or problems with them carrying your books?
Gloria Brame: No, not so much on Amazon. I really don’t. I haven’t had any problems. You know again, I think some of it has to do with your credentials. I’m really grateful I have the credentials, that’s all I can say. You know I’m really glad that I’m so nerdy that I could stand going back to school at age forty and getting a degree in something.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah.
Gloria Brame: Because the payoff is that I do think that mainstream media are always going to be more comfortable with somebody who has the PhD or Dr before their name, or some kind of impressive to them credential, whether you’re the founder of something, or whatever it is. And that’s how my name has spread I think.
Jenn T Grace: Do you think that that was partly why McAfee was willing to take you off their black list so to speak?
Gloria Brame: It was, I’m sure of it. I was able to say, “Look go to my site.” You know I stopped running the images, and I went back to just talking about it, and I said, “Well please look at the totality of my site. I’m a sex therapist and yes, I talk about frank things in frank language, and there it is.” And they de-demonized me. They unblocked me.
Jenn T Grace: I feel like that’s a victory. Yeah that’s a big one.
Gloria Brame: That is a big one. But again, you know if the women and men listening to this are planning to do let’s say erotic fiction for which they don’t need any kind of degree because it’s all about your creativity, but if you’re doing that kind of- it’s going to be hard to get noticed and branded.
Jenn T Grace: And now-
Gloria Brame: Whereas if you write self-help books you might be able to do without the degree.
Jenn T Grace: I was going to say- yeah my audience is definitely more of the nonfiction side of things who might be writing some kind of self-help book rather than some fiction-related stuff.
Gloria Brame: Yeah. So I would say that part of branding is making sure that people associate you with what you do, and not just erotic writer which is- but like something more specific like Queen of the Lovology Institute- pardon me, I think there is a Lovology Institute. But you know, something like that, something that is memorable.
Jenn T Grace: So they think your name and they think exactly, very specifically what you do so that way they can find you when they’re looking for you online.
Gloria Brame: Right you know there are plenty of my peers, and colleagues are sexologists, but I always put that out there. Because it’s not that common a word but it turns out to be a word that everybody sort of understands.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah.
Gloria Brame: And sort of like they’re involved in sex but it isn’t too dirty because they’re helping people.
Jenn T Grace: I know you throw ‘ologist’ onto anything and it seems like it works.
Gloria Brame: Yeah.
Jenn T Grace: Do you think that if somebody were to be starting to do something even remotely similar to what you’re doing now without having that PhD that they may encounter any type of resistance like you faced earlier on? Or do you think some of that’s been a little bit lifted.
Gloria Brame: Well it depends on where you go. Like for example I’m very, very frequently quoted but when I’ve tried to get ‘The Truth about Sex’ published, no mainstream publisher wanted to touch it because they felt that it was just too far out. They felt it was too far out for me, and this was like back in 2010 or 2011 to be saying that sexual diversity was normal. You know? And they felt- at least one place, that had marketing- at a place that had formerly published me said, “I can’t sell a dominatrix in today’s environment.” Whatever that meant. You know because I’ve never hidden that I’m involved in BDSM as a topic. So it depends on what you’re selling. If you’re a lesbian and you find a sympathetic lesbian editor who wants to publish articulate books, you know about the lesbian experience, you may not experience any pushback. But if you go someplace mainstream and they’re like, “Oh well we already had two lesbians this year,” you know what I mean? You may experience marginalization, pushback, people not really taking you that seriously, and for me since all of my stuff is like cutting edge, you know I feel lucky that I actually got my first book through a big publisher. And in recent years I just moved to self-publishing.
Jenn T Grace: I was just going to ask you about that. So when the big publisher shuts the door in your face, the solution is to self-publish. Can you just talk a little bit about that experience compared to the traditional publishing experience?
Gloria Brame: There are a lot of great things about self-publishing and there are a lot of great things about commercial publishing. I don’t want to discourage people because the bigger money usually is to be made in big publishing, although again I’ll note ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ I think started out as a self-published ‘Twilight’ fanfic and I believe sold enough copies on Amazon that it got a publisher interested. That happens once in a blue moon, but it does happen. Mainly the advantages of going with a commercial publisher are very simply- and you need an agent to get into a commercial publisher by the way, because I operate only with an intellectual property lawyer, I don’t have an agent anymore. Fired them, too. You have to have an agent, an agent takes 20% of your money, all your money. The advance, residuals, everything.
Jenn T Grace: How about services that you provide, or other products?
Gloria Brame: Right that they provide. But they can get you into- they’ll know who to send your manuscript to, hopefully they’ll know the right people to show your manuscript to, and they have an in with those people so those people will actually read your manuscript. So if you send a manuscript in blind, you may never get read. You’ll never get higher maybe than a reader for the editor who is a grad student or something like that. You know? But if you can get through in commercial publishing, they’ll do all your publicity, they’ll create your publicity campaign, they’ll tell you where to show up, they’ll sign you up for any book signings and readings, they’ll do all of that. They’ll do all of the backend work on copywrite and production. You may not even get a choice in the book cover they slap on you, but maybe. You know and they take all of that stuff, all the financial end, and the creative end of production, and they do it all for you. So basically you submit your manuscript and other than having to re-edit it to their like several times, you kind of work for them once they pay you for your book. With- and you also have your best chance, finally the most important thing is distribution. They distribute your book across the country, and make sure it gets on Amazon. If they like it enough they’ll really push it harder and try to get book sellers interested.
Jenn T Grace: So in your experience, the 20% that the agent would take, did it seem worth it for at least the ones that have gone through that traditional publishing route?
Gloria Brame: Yes, it does. You may not be happy if you’re not seeing a big number and what you end up with is really not that great, and then you may really resent 20%, but overall the value of getting into a commercial publisher, you know there are many positive things about it. Unfortunately there’s also a tremendous downside to commercial publishing. And the first downside of course is that it’s very hard to get a book published, and even when you do, if they tell you to change it, you have to change it. And my first book, ‘Different Loving’ was really censored, and at the time I accepted it and I don’t think I would today.
Jenn T Grace: Interesting. And how much did it take away from what you were talking about from that censorship standpoint? Did it like really dilute the message that you were trying to convey?
Gloria Brame: I don’t think it diluted the message itself, but it definitely diluted what the sexuality was about and how extreme it could get. Because they made us remove a chapter on people who into some really edgy, edgy play. And anywhere there was really edgy play, they wanted it to go. So to somebody who’s in BDSM that edgy, edgy play didn’t seem that edgy, but to straight people it scared the bejesus out of them. So- and lawyers said, “You know we’re going to see a million lawsuits on this, and blah, blah, blah.”
Jenn T Grace: Interesting.
Gloria Brame: So we let them cut us down, and you know the basic message is this stuff’s okay, and then we just weren’t able to include all of the interview material and that was kind of sad. And one chapter had to go on edge play. So you know that was sad, but then I found even when I wrote a very mainstream book called, ‘Come Hither,’ which was like a basic introduction to the community, and how you can tell if you’re kinky, and it was really like a fun book for couples who were talking about kink together. Even there, you know with a different publisher, and even though they signed up with me because I had written ‘Different Loving.’ You know they really reigned it in, and their PR plan for me fell apart when the editor and then the head of PR left. New people came in, and they didn’t really care about my book. So that’s the peril of being at a big house, is that even when you land that contract, in the end you may not see the money you were expecting because if they pay you up front you have to earn it back in sales. And not a lot of books earn back their advances; that’s why publishing is in shitty shape. You know it’s very hard for them to make profits these days on book sales. And with self-publishing you have total intellectual freedom, and total creativity, it can be the book you wanted to write, but the downside is you have to do everything yourself. You know if you sign up with like- the place I signed up with actually treats me like a publisher not a vanity press. In other words I don’t pay them anything and they do things for me because I was a known entity and they felt they could sell my books. So my deal with them is 50/50 profits. I don’t invest anything, and they don’t charge me anything, and we share profits 50/50 down the line from the day the book starts selling. I pick the cover, they do the copywrite stuff in the background, I have to do all my own marketing.
Jenn T Grace: Interesting. So they’ll take care of all the logistics if you will.
Gloria Brame: They take care of all the logistics. This particular company works with you if you can submit a cover, they can suggest a cover, they have volumes and volumes of clip art, they can design with you or use your designs. They will also make sure to file for all the important copywrite and ISBN data for your book, they do all of that stuff.
Jenn T Grace: And do you find that there are-
Gloria Brame: And they get it on Amazon, they get it on all of the online book stores, Barnes and Noble, and they do a digital version as well.
Jenn T Grace: Do you find that there are a lot of companies similar to what they’re offering? Is this kind of a new- it’s not even really a new frontier but you know what I mean.
Gloria Brame: It’s not even a new frontier, no. There are lots of places and the degree of your own autonomy there is according to place. Like I believe some sites you have to fill out all the paperwork and you’re just using them to print your book literally. You know? Or you can go to Amazon which I believe now has its own print-to-vision for authors, and you can work directly with Amazon and make sure it gets on Amazon automatically. Or you can use a service where you would pay a nominal fee like $300 to $1,000 depending on the level of service, and they give you a la carte services like, ‘Well we’ll do this, and we’ll do that, you can pick all the way up to- we’ll give you a fancy cover design.’
Jenn T Grace: So are there other benefits to the self-publishing road other than what you described?
Gloria Brame: Well for me I prefer it because A) I will always write niche books. In other words I doubt I’ll ever have- my books will have ever have universal appeal even though my blog may. Because you know on my blog I write about women’s sexual health, and just everything that is newsworthy in the field of sex. But my books are really pretty specific to a more queer, and then sometimes BDSM perspective.
Jenn T Grace: So knowing what you’ve been talking about, for somebody who- maybe they’re just starting out, and they’re just trying to figure out the lay of the land for how they can make their name synonymous like we were talking about before with what it is they do. What do you think the number one thing, or the first step that would be worthwhile for them to take, into really kind of building their online community, which is what you have. It seems like you have a really big online community.
Gloria Brame: First I would recommend before they go to their blog, is that they start building their social networking platform that they believe will be a great place to promote any free content they’re going to be doing. So like if they’re going to be posting covers of their book, they want to have a Pinterest board. Like I have a Pinterest- in addition to all my sex history, and [Inaudible 00:30:05] pictures, and kittens, of course there must be cats. But I mean in addition to all of that I have a board devoted to ‘Different Loving,’ you know a Pinterest board. And all my book covers as I’m designing the book, or any pictures of people who are in the book, or anything like that goes on that board, so that’s one place. I have a Tumblr account, all my blog posts go there. My blog posts auto-post to a Facebook fan page which is dedicated only to my work. My LinkedIn page which is dedicated only to my work; I will not use LinkedIn anymore for chat or even for networking because I didn’t find that it did a damn thing for me.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah for your industry.
Gloria Brame: But what does do a thing for me is when I post a blog post as an article on LinkedIn, you know? In other words just making sure that word of my free content appears everywhere, and on Twitter. And there’s a program you can use called www.IFTTT.com.
Jenn T Grace: Yes I’ve heard of that before.
Gloria Brame: Okay.
Jenn T Grace: How are you using it?
Gloria Brame: I use IFTTT and I advise it for anybody who wants to get writing and news of their books out in a very targeted way. IFTTT is an online software program that allows you to automatically re-post your post from let’s say Twitter, or from your blog, to all of your other social media. And they actually have a much wider range of social media platforms than I ever use because I’m not on everything, you know? But you could probably use it to- if you’re on everything you can- you just set it up one time and then every time you post on a particular place, that particular content will go out to ninety social media platforms. And you may only get one or two hits on some of them, but it’s worth it.
Jenn T Grace: It’s still exposure, right? It’s still getting your message out.
Gloria Brame: It’s exposure and you keep doing it, and you can’t really rely on other people these days to promote you, or that a single promotion in any one place is really going to change your life. It’s just not like that anymore because the Internet is drowning in content.
Jenn T Grace: So as the Internet is drowning in content, how do you think the best way to stand out in this kind of flood of information? Have you found any particular way that seems to work for you?
Gloria Brame: Well I find that- I’ve shifted a lot. I mean I’m constantly adapting. Like the reason I ended up with IFTTT was that I just spent a year casually just sort of browsing media impact on my numbers. You know? Just sort of watching to see what was more effective, what seemed to get more hits to my website, where was I selling more books? And I found like Twitter was useful for that, so whereas I used to use Twitter for the usual kind of banter that people get into, or personal things. I never got into what was for lunch, but you know what I mean. Yeah just like random comments on Twitter. I stopped that completely. I only use Twitter now as a promotional tool for my free content and my work. Period. No chatter, no nothing. Because I think that in such a busy world people really need to know who you are, and what your identity is. It’s like you know Kim Kardashian, what’s her brand really? Well it’s being Kim Kardashian but I think it’s having insane outfits and always looking perfectly coiffed. You know? Or deliberately looking great when she’s disheveled too.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah.
Gloria Brame: So I mean it’s all about looking good.
Jenn T Grace: So what I’m hearing, and you’re saying that you’re using Twitter to put out content, it’s not always asking for something- for people in return. You’re just saying, “Here is my free information.”
Gloria Brame: You know like when I say 50% to 60% promotes my stuff, like today I’m writing a thought piece on redefining BDSM that’s going to go up on my blog a little later this afternoon. And there were opportunities because they were relevant, opportunities to talk about an opinion that I had in one of my books on this subject. You see what I mean? So I’m not doing a big promotion for my book, I’m not going to include a big picture of my book, or anything like, but among the various things that I’m linking to including other people’s articles and thoughts, I’m including a link for my book.
Jenn T Grace: Yes I think that’s the key.
Gloria Brame: I feel that in exchange for getting people to see that there’s a link to my book, they’re getting five or six paragraphs of provocative reading that they don’t have to pay for.
Jenn T Grace: Yes. Yeah I think that’s the key. So you’re not telling people to just go out there and start spamming people saying how great your book is, you’re giving valuable content that’s related to what your book is providing, and everyone’s winning because you’re giving out stuff. You’ve spent time and energy writing, and writing well, that you want people to see that free content, which then just gets your name in front of them more often.
Gloria Brame: Yeah, you know I’m sixty years old, I’m like a different generation and I’m really uncomfortable praising myself. I’m really uncomfortably going and saying, “I’m the greatest-” you know whatever I may think at home with people who love me and forgive me, whatever flights of fancy my ego may take here. I think it’s really rude, and crass, and ugly when people just get up and start telling you how fucking fantastic they are.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah for real.
Gloria Brame: You know it’s just like- and who’s the judge of that? You and your mother?
Jenn T Grace: Yeah. There needs to be a balance for sure.
Gloria Brame: So I don’t do that. I mean I do believe that my work contains important stuff, or relevant stuff, or fun- whatever my books contain, I will push the content, but I’ll push the content by showing rather than claiming, if you know what I mean. I’ll give them some content to show what I’m talking about. However that said, I will say that on Twitter, I don’t know if it’s not a hit on my blog, but on Twitter and on my Facebook fan page they like getting promotions. People respond positively to promotions. They don’t on LinkedIn, not nearly as much.
Jenn T Grace: You’re paying attention to your audience. I think that’s so important is that you’re not just splattering it.
Gloria Brame: So seeing that people will like or even love when I create- I create a lot of funny ads for my book, so I’ll create a funny ad and even there I hope it’s not just ‘go and buy my book,’ but ‘here’s something that will make you giggle, and please buy my book.’ Or ‘here’s an excerpt from my book, don’t you want to read more?’ That kind of thing.
Jenn T Grace: That makes a lot of sense.
Gloria Brame: And I don’t do it a lot, I do it a couple times a week because I have seven books that I really want to sell.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah so we’re already getting over forty minutes here so I would love to have you spend a couple of minutes just talking about your new book that you were mentioning, and letting everyone know where they can find more information about you since we’re really kind of talking about your community, and all the places that you are. I’d love for people to be able to know exactly how to follow you should they want to.
Gloria Brame: Well I’m really easy to find, just Gloria Brame into Google and you can find me on Facebook and Twitter or www.GloriaBrame.com and once you get to my website you’ll see my blog link and you can subscribe to it, or you can- anything that goes on my blog goes out to social media, so if you follow me @DrGloriaBrame you’ll see links to all of my free content. Now the new book, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to ever write a sequel to ‘Different Loving’ to be honest, because it was an enormous, enormous task and it took three people almost three years to write that book.
Jenn T Grace: Wow.
Gloria Brame: So I couldn’t do that now, I couldn’t commit three to six years. One of our collaborators died in the interim, et cetera, et cetera. But what I did want to do is I really got interested some years ago about doing like what happens to people after they’ve been in the scene for twenty years? Because I first got involved in like 1985 or 1986, now it’s 2016, I’m still involved in my community to some degree. I don’t really appear many places anymore, I don’t attend conferences much because I’m older and I have my BDSM community in my home with my partners. But so I’ve evolved enormously even in terms of how I play, or how I live. One of my partners is a woman, you know that was kind of unexpected, I thought I would be partnered with men. So you know things really changed and I really wanted to know how things changed in the lives of other players, and I was in touch with- I don’t know about a half dozen or more of the original interviewees over the years, hooked up on Facebook. So I decided that was the place to start. I was going to start not by trying to look at the overwhelming phenomenon of BDSM online that has completely transformed our community, but first to go and see how many of the old interviewees I could find twenty years later. And I found about twenty of them which was awesome.
Jenn T Grace: How many were in the original?
Gloria Brame: The original was like sixty or seventy that appeared in the book.
Jenn T Grace: Wow that’s a good percentage, yeah.
Gloria Brame: And for this one I actually found more, I found 25 but some people had withdrawn, a number of people had died, and some people just didn’t want to be in this book. They were living very different lives and they didn’t want to be defined as BDSM publicly anymore. So I added to those nineteen, twelve people who hadn’t been in the book who were a lot younger, but who also had been at least- had at least twenty years’ experience. And so our youngest participant was a woman of 37 who started out when she was 17. And I decided that the best way to chronicle like what had changed in the BDSM world- because that was the real question, is where are we as a community now 25 years later, was to chronicle it through individual stories. So I did in-depth interviews with 31 different people across all of the orientations; trans people, trans men, trans women, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and straight people. And then I went and I did on Facebook general community surveys where I asked like 200 BDSM friends to contribute their answers to a range of questions on BDSM subjects. And that was like my research base; using those interviews and then all of the rafts of community dialogues as I called them about different subjects like what does consent mean to you, or what’s your bottom line in a relationship, or what have you learned? I asked everybody I interviewed in depth, ‘What would you say now to the person you were 25 years ago after everything you’ve learned?’ And then from there I just treated it like a sexologist by looking at some of the science that submerged in the twenty years, how the culture has changed in the twenty years, how growing acceptance of sexual diversity means that we couldn’t even count the number of people in the BDSM worlds if we counted like every fetishist out there, et cetera, et cetera. So that’s really what the book is about. It brings ‘Different Loving’ circa 1993 into the 21st century.
Jenn T Grace: It sounds fascinating.
Gloria Brame: Where we now- what has the journey been like, what’s our real history, with some predictions of mine on what future sex will be like.
Jenn T Grace: Wow that sounds really interesting. So if somebody were interested would it make sense, or would you still recommend that they read the first one and then read the second one?
Gloria Brame: You know it really depends on the person. You know if they’re a BDSM-er they probably want to start with number one, and then go to number two. If they’re coming to BDSM as scholars or just people who have friends involved who are just kind of interested in it, DL Too is the 21st century of BDSM. So it’s kind of like do you want the whole historical perspective? Because the original volume really goes into the history- like I’ll have a chapter on bondage and then we look back to ancient practices, and what people have written about BDSM, what they had written about it in the seventeenth century, and the nineteenth century, and so forth. The new book is definitely rooted and based in the 21st century.
Jenn T Grace: Wow.
Gloria Brame: And it’s a look back at where we were and where we are.
Jenn T Grace: It sounds really interesting just from the historical standpoint of it, just to get a lesson.
Gloria Brame: Yeah it’s really cool to me because I feel it’s- I mean the next best thing to a real longitudinal study, which has never been done. You know I mean it’s just never been done that you look at this particular sexual population and then you come back to them twenty years later, and interview many of the same people, and find out how massively their lives have changed without their sexual orientation changing.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah, wow that’s so interesting.
Gloria Brame: Yeah I mean a lot of them are just doing all new things, things they weren’t doing, and many of them have partners they never expected to have.
Jenn T Grace: Yourself included, right?
Gloria Brame: I can’t tell you- like a lot of people have become poly, something that would have been really out of the box twenty years ago.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah this is really interesting. I have a client who does a lot of work in terms of education around the poly community, so I think that she would love this book, so I’m certainly going to send her to your website. She probably already knows about you for all I know.
Gloria Brame: Yeah one of my favorite interviews was a woman who had been married like two or three times, and they’d all failed, and she was really depressed, but she also had this secret life as a spanking fetishist. She had done movies as a spanking fetishist. Well- and that was her interview, was based on she’s this star of spanking fetish movies back in the 1990’s. But now when I meet her in 2015 I guess was when I spoke with her, you know she couldn’t find anyone, she couldn’t find anyone, she finally said, “That’s it, I’m done with straight marriages.” And then she met a man and his female partner and she fell in love with both of them.
Jenn T Grace: That’s awesome.
Gloria Brame: And now they’re a three way marriage. They found a place to get married as a three, as a triad. And she said, “I never would have imagined I could be this happy. Who knew?”
Jenn T Grace: That’s so nice to hear, right?
Gloria Brame: I mean she vaguely knew she was bisexual, or so she thought until she fell in love with a woman. So you know, people’s lives- I think that once you allow yourself to be sexually free, that you know, the potentials for your life are just genuinely transformed.
Jenn T Grace: I think it’s just trying to not put yourself in a box or feel the need to label yourself, which is something the LGBT community certainly struggles with in a lot of ways.
Gloria Brame: Correct. You know?
Jenn T Grace: Wow so for folks-
Gloria Brame: It’s funny because the blog piece I’m writing today is about I’m tired of people defining BDSM as bondage and discipline, dominance and sub- you know because actually most people, I don’t even know how many people still even do bondage and discipline. People have moved on, they’ve evolved, you know? And the reality was, is while it was a very politically effective acronym to use, you know because it seemed to unite us, you know millions of us don’t do any of the stuff in that thing, and being defined- as the gay rights movement knows, being defined by the things you do in bed sends a really creepy message.
Jenn T Grace: Absolutely.
Gloria Brame: As opposed to who you really are as people. You know or your right to have dignity and equal rights in society.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah labels do us a disservice.
Gloria Brame: So I think even there, I mean we’re still growing.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like this interview has been so good because I feel like just having such a historical context for even social media, you’re bringing so many very perspectives to us, and also just knowing about your book. So for people who- I know that you had given your website, is there a different place to send people to get your books, or still just straight to your website directly?
Gloria Brame: I have a shop on my site but of course the cheapest option is Amazon, and you can just type Gloria Brame into Amazon and hopefully my author’s page will come up with- oh that’s another place every writer should be of course, is have your own author’s page on Amazon, have your own author’s page on Goodreads.
Jenn T Grace: Yes absolutely.
Gloria Brame: So I have an author’s page with a bio and a picture of me with a flower I believe, looking very mature and professional.
Jenn T Grace: That’s awesome.
Gloria Brame: And there it is. I would appreciate and love if your listeners would support my work because I’m out there.
Jenn T Grace: Absolutely. Been putting yourself out there for a while. Well I sincerely appreciate your time today, this has been great and I’m sure my listeners are going to love this.
Gloria Brame: Thanks so much Jenn, it was a great interview.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah thank you so much.
Gloria Brame: Alrighty.
Jenn T Grace: Thank you for listening to today’s podcast. If there are any links from today’s show that you are interested in finding, save yourself a step and head on over to www.JennTGrace.com/thepodcast. And there you will find a backlog of all of the past podcast episodes including transcripts, links to articles, reviews, books, you name it. It is all there on the website for your convenience. Additionally if you would like to get in touch with me for any reason, you can head on over to the website and click the contact form, send me a message, you can find me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all at JennTGrace. And as always I really appreciate you as a listener, and I highly encourage you to reach out to me whenever you can. Have a great one, and I will talk to you in the next episode.