Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The 20 Words I Hate Related to Internet Sales

Marketing. Ugh. Am I the only one? I can’t be. I mean, if you’re a person in an online environment with a product or service to sell then you pretty much have to eat, sleep, and breath internet marketing these days. Right?

Well yippie-freaking-skippy.

It’s all just words. Shiny things strung together to entice a person into spending their hard earned dollars. And, you know I’m a person in an online world with a product to sell, but, come on.

I write books. Books that fall into pretty specific categories, genres.

Why does that matter? Because keeping someone on the line with a hook is good to get them in the boat but a minnow gets tossed back even though it was still technically considered catching a fish.

Let me put it like this, I tell people I’m an author. Every time a man asks for a business card or my information I say the following line:

“Here you go, but you should probably know you’re not my target audience.”

I’m not a person who will try to snake-oil anyone into buying something they don’t want or need because what good does that do me in the long run?

None. The answer is none.

Those people won’t be my repeat readers. They won’t promote me. They will toss that card in the trash and continue on with their lives not giving a crap that card cost me $0.09. Minnow.

But anyway, I thought I’d share some of the words and phrases related to the new age of selling that kind of make me want to hurl.

1. Strategy (Good luck getting one in a world that changes by the hour.)
2. Content (Usually of the “quality” or “fresh” variety. You mean, words?)
3. Marketing (If you can read it then it’s probably marketing.)
4. Authentic (Having to tell people you are something makes me question how true the statement really is.)
5. Tribe (No, just, no. You aren’t related, descendants. You are on the internet. You are a group or community.)
6. Sell without selling (Yeah, I’ll get right on that. See #2 & 3, right?)
7. Social networking (Essentially redundant.)
8. Quality work (See #4.)
9. Drive traffic (It’s an oxymoron and I hate it.)
10. Authority (How are you supposed to get this if you can’t tell people things without it?)
11. Monetize (This literally means to turn into money. Which literally means a website can’t perform this task.)
12. Avoid self-promotion (Screw rules. Here's some now - shameless self-promotion!)
13. Insert website here (And gasp at people who aren’t using it. Fucking hipsters. It’s already obsolete.)
14. Capture your audience (Uh, I think that’s illegal…)
15. Industry trends (You mean, like, every word/phrase written in this list?)
16. Engage (The definition of this word is: to attract. It has nothing to do with continuous back-and-forth, like people who tout their abilities in #3 want you to believe.)
17. Consistency (Density. Uniformity. Constant and unwavering adherence to a principal or action. AKA: zero flexibility.)
18. Click-bait (The marketing industry can’t make up its mind. Do you want me to click or tell people not to?)
19. Above-the-fold (This phrase has no business outside the newspaper industry. Your mouse has a scroll wheel for a reason. The internet has no fold. Except the folds of time, ever reduced every time you get onto the internet.)
20. Thoughtful posts (So subjective. Who are you to tell me if I’m being thoughtful?)

Sadly, I have to admit to using some or all of the above tactics to get my work in front of readers. 'Tis the way of the internet and the online purveyor of goods.

I would do anything for page rank.

Wait, that's still a thing, right?

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Some People have Cats…


I think I might have a teensy little problem. Apparently I’m a calendar and charts kind of girl.

Some people have cats, I have a white board. Or four. And a day planner. Plus a handmade paper chart. But that’s only because I ran out of room on the whiteboards!

Okay, I get it. That doesn’t exactly help my case against being a crazy cat, er, whiteboard, lady.

But, in my defense, they’re all crucial to my process.

A process that is quickly evolving into something bigger.

In other words, I’m gonna need a bigger whiteboard.

See, when I freaked out on that other post, it prompted a long, hard look at my current state of things. Then Matt and I sat down and talked about all things career. Mine. His. Where we’re both heading and what it will likely take to get us there.

He wants to see me succeed as much as I want to see me succeed so we talked about increasing my advertising/marketing/publicity budget. Okay, to be fair, we actually talked about me having a budget to begin with.

As someone who doesn’t pull in a big income every month, and someone who feels like I’m bleeding money every time I start setting up a new book for sale, I always feel weird about spending more.

But, this market of authors is quite saturated and I need to remember that every day I go to my job. I need to get my name out there. Especially as a sole proprietor trying to build a business in a creative industry. The truth is, we have to spend money to make money in this world.

Even an office worker doesn’t get paid to go to and from their job. Car repairs, gas, food during the day, all of that comes out of the money they make for the job they do. Money they spend to get to work to make money.

So I tore apart my old marketing plan and developed a new plan. A good plan, I think. Again, still green to all this promotional stuff but the plan I developed for the next six months or so should help to keep a buzz going.

Hey, even one Africanized bee buzzes, it might be quieter than a swarm but swat at it and see how long it takes for that swarm to arrive. Am I right?

I’m using that mentality to approach my revived interest in marketing.

But with all new projects comes brainstorming, scheduling, a great need for organization. Hence, the corner full of erasable marker.

Okay, I’m not ashamed to admit it - I love whiteboards!

Because anything and everything can easily wipe away in an instant. In fact, as soon as I’m done with a task for the month, week, day, I take my eraser and clean the task off my calendar.

Whoosh!

See ya!

I do that because I don’t like mental clutter and there’s plenty of that going on just having the boards up in the first place. I mean, you saw the picture in this post, right? When I can declutter my brain of looking at something I already finished, it frees me up to concentrate on the next task.

In any given day at work I rarely complete the same task two days in a row. True, I write almost every day but it isn’t even the same writing every day. Nor at the same time of day every day.

Thus, a room full of erasable surfaces.

So, the first whiteboard breaks down the current month by days and weeks.

The next is my advertising schedule and budget broken out into the next six months by week.

Below that is my big, blue, paper chart for tracking characters in my California Dreamin’ Series.

Next whiteboard is current book(s) in process (timeline, character development, general story notes) and a bunch of magnets I don’t know what to do with (plus the list of all sites where I need to update info on a new release and my list of beta readers).

Finally, I’ve got an eight month projection board where I list out all the stuff I need to do in a given month on books themselves (AKA: write it, send to betas, edit, etc.), giveaway schedules, free/other promotion schedules, and the rare days I will allow myself to completely disconnect from my job and take a damn vacation.

The day planner? That’s for personal stuff like actually making sure we leave the house occasionally (hockey, concerts), paying bills, seeing family, scheduling time with friends.

I’m ready. I’m organized. I’m maybe a bit over the top with my calendars and charts but, damn it, no scattered business owner ever made it very long. And after working out a realistic marketing and advertising budget for the next year, I fully intend to do everything I can to stick around as long as I can with my business.

Resolve renewed.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lighten it up with some Girlie Things

So, after my last post, I kind of got the feeling like people were concerned. For my safety, specifically.

Sorry to everyone who got scared, freaked out, etc. by the things I wrote. That wasn’t my intention and I just want to say the fact you reached out means a lot. Writing is my therapy, always has been, and perhaps that’s the first time you read something in that vein over here.

I want to clear the air and reboot a little bit because the concern actually shocked me. But then I went back and re-read the post and, yeah, I can see how some folks might have been wondering about my mental state.

I’m not, however, sorry for sharing the post because it was something (is something) I felt needed off my chest and in a very publicly shared way.

You should probably know that my mental state is basically fucked all the time.

No exaggeration, I pretty much think like that most days at some point or another. A common occurrence since I was ten or eleven years old. I call it the curse of the creative.

I need to feel things. Everything. Enhanced emotions are what keep me working. When’s the last time you read a book where the characters never experienced anything? Never cried, screamed, flung their arms around the one they love to tackle them to the floor?

Exactly.

I tap into my highs and lows on a daily basis in order to craft my worlds.

Last week’s blog post was a reflection of that deep seeded personality trait bubbling up into my world. That’s all. I swear, if you pulled out my journals from any year of my life since age 14 you would be amazed at how much of that super dark shit comes out.

I don’t often share that kind of raw emotion over here but on that particular day it was something I felt I needed to do.

I’m not defending it, don’t feel I owe anyone an explanation per se but I at least wanted everyone to know that I am a-okay.

But you should also know that I still feel the same. Still frustrated, still a bit lost. But I will find my way and appreciate all the hands I have to hold on the way. Love you all!

Now, in an effort to flip-flop right over to the other side of my self-diagnosed bipolarity, I thought it would be fun to share something here that I haven’t done in a long time.

Nail art! (See ya dudes…)

I’ve been getting back into it lately, watching (read: binging like a zombie) YouTube videos about anything and everything under the sun. So last week while I was working on this manicure:


I decided to give a bunch of different styles a little practice. Since I have a silicone nail art mat I decided all of the designs would be something I could lay down to save until I did my mani this week. And it worked to create a skittle manicure (meaning all fingers are different).

I’m calling it Cohesive Color Chaos.

None of them came out perfect, far from it, but I had a lot of fun creating each of the designs, keeping an eye on the color theory of the full manicure, making sure the two hands were balanced (for example, if I did a white/teal/iridescent on one hand I did the same on the other in a different design), and learning which are my favorite techniques.

So far, I’m not a big fan of water marbling, am only a partial fan of freehand, and love stamping.

Without further ado, here’s the mani in full detail by finger then a mashup of the two hands so you can see what it looks like all together.

First, here’s the mat with most of the self-created decals laid down.


The two on my pinky fingers were supposed to be those pink and white ones but they crumbled a bit and I had to use some backups.

Now here are the nails as I see them, from left to right, starting with the pinky on my left hand.

Drag marble

Blobicure

Stamped flamingoes

Water marble with glow in the dark

Freehand sunglasses and letters

Stamped sunglasses

More attempts at water marble

Freehand flamingo with acrylic paints

Drag marble

Smoosh marble

And here are both hands side-by-side. What do you think?


Personally? I love the mani, not as thrilled with my application. Some of them are already starting to peel up in the corners (applied Saturday) and I’m sure it’s because my nails are so C curved that the decal just didn’t bond with the base coat of polish I laid down.

No biggie, I’ll keep practicing and get better at some of these techniques.

Bottom line, this fun, upbeat girl is who I am today (and every day). It’s just that some days she has to let the darkness surface.

Just like nail polish, I have to let something sucky take the lead every once in a while and share that fail with the world. Because that lets me remove the layers and get back to my natural starting point. The clean slate of my nails and my brain.

xoxo

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.