Color Me Purple: Help Others Take an Interest in Your Work

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, tips, writing Leave a Comment

by Debra Koontz Roberson

Remember this children’s nursery rhyme?

I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you this right now
I’d rather see than be one.

Being different may be a horrible thought when you are a child or teenager, but it’s essential when you’re a grownup marketing yourself and your books. God made you a creative sort, so why not let it shine?

My mantra: Be a purple cow.

Really, Debra, a purple cow? Isn’t that a silly notion best left with children? Perhaps, but the visual it creates is sure an easy one to carry with you, and the attendees at the most recent Dale Carnegie course I assisted with left the session all vowing to become purple cows.

But, Debra, that’s so boastful and egotistical! No, I’m not talking about strutting and prancing and grandstanding. A purple cow still swishes at flies and sleeps in the meadow amidst cow patties and grazes with her docile brown friends. She just radiates a different color.

Being different (drawing on that creative side) helps others to take an interest in you. It can distinguish you from the crowd, give readers a hook to rest their memory on, and provide a visual for better recall.

And, Because We Love Show Instead of Tell:

Picture it: You’re driving down a country road with your family in a white SUV, not a cloud in the sky.

From the back seat your child yells, “Mommy! Daddy! Look at the cows.”

You screech on the breaks. Every head in the car turns to see a beautiful field filled with brown cows.

You say: “Awe, aren’t they pretty?”

Your spouse adds: “Look at that, they’re all brown. All the same.”

Eureka! You realize that if one of those cows was, say, purple….now that cow would get attention! That cow would stand out.”

Bring the Cows Home

Are you a brown or a purple cow? A brown or a purple author? Or marketer? Or conversationalist?
Crossing into the Mystic
We (or our work) must be purple cows to reach our audiences.

I bet you started your book with your purple side. Your penchant to write certainly comes from your purpleness…after all, you probably know more non-writers than writers, yes? Perhaps an agent gave you the nod because you revealed some purple.

Your purpleness is what you can offer to others to make it easier for them to ask you questions and to get to know you and your work.

Try this, instead:

I am a purple cow
I always plan to be one
And I can tell you this right now
I’d rather be than see one!

Think of it as applying a color to the uniqueness God gave you.

Debra Koontz RobersonHaving grown up on a dairy farm, Debra Koontz Roberson (D.L.Koontz) confesses to finding it easier to milk cows than become one-no matter the color. She was taught to be humble and not draw attention to herself, so her first novel, Crossing into the Mystic-with its plot wrapped around ghosts, demons and romance-is inherently more purple than she is. But, she turns a stunning vibrant purple when she’s alone in her writing nook in southern Georgia working on the third installment to her trilogy. Find her at

Comments 0

  1. Love this! But I will say purpleness in conversation sometimes earns me some odd looks, and a little voice in my head says “hmmmm. Well that fell flat like a plop in the field.” At least I entertain myself. 😛

  2. Great post! Being different isn’t a curse. In fact, if I couldn’t write something that I felt was unpredictable and different, I’d stop writing. Here’s looking at those purple cows! All the best w/your book, Debra. Sounds interesting!

  3. I love purple. You’ve hit the nailhead with this post. When it comes to marketing, authors often bunch in a herd of sameness. Rather than trying to match what others are doing, we have to stand apart to succeed, and showing our true colors is the best way to do that.

  4. Carol, Heather and Janalyn: Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. So glad my words “spoke” to you. I know Heather, and she’s a lovely shade of purple. I’d love to meet you, Carol and Janalyn, one day and we can help one another polish that purple passion!

  5. My senior English teacher in high school quoted that poem so often and with such dramatic flair that I’ve never been able to forget it, or him. Your point has been made. He was an unforgettable purple cow — even 35 years later! I’ve quoted that poem every year since then, but I’m going to start quoting your version now. I love it! Thanks!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *