Tag Archives: writers

Should Authors Have to “Market Themselves”?

14 Mar

This has been a crazy day. I had a meeting two towns over, cooking, cleaning, errands… basically life happened today.
So, I offer a blog post that will fit just about everyone. If you are in any type of business where you need a personal brand this is a great blog post for that.

If you couldn’t care less what a personal brand is, just cruise through until you find the YouTube box and watch the funny video. (It made me laugh, anyway.)

Hopefully my brain will be unscrambled by Friday evening and I can come up with a poem for you. If not, then I’ll just have to come up with a helpful and entertaining substitute… again.

Enjoy! 😀




Kristen Lamb's Blog

"Crap. Revisions tore my hose. But I need to sell more books and 'market myself'…" “Crap. Revisions tore my hose. But I need to sell more books and get out and ‘market myself’…”
Image via Darwin Bell, Flickr Creative Commons.

All right, don’t stone me, but I feel some of the marketing “buzz words” range from terrifying to annoying to outright offensive. For instance, every time I read “target your demographic” or “target your readers” I wonder if this comes with a Predator Drone or at least a laser sight.

I don’t know about you guys, but I get creeped out being “targeted.” It makes it seem we (seller and consumer) are opponents—one the cunning victor and the other the hapless dupe who landed in the marketing crosshairs.

But the one that’s gotten my hackles up over the past week or so is when writers are beating themselves up. They write things in my comments like, “I know need to try harder to market myself”…

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Sometimes It Sucks Being A Writer

18 Jan

I’m stumped this week.  For the past several hours I have been trying to come up with something to write, anything.

I got nothin’.

Not a single idea has stuck around for the second line. I can’t tell if I’m uninspired, my mojo is off, or what, but nothing is coming to me. Sorry.

All that is spinning through my mind is the refrain from a poem I wrote a few months back, over and over. It’s so sad, but thankfully has a happy ending. The poem, has potential to become a song. I can hear the tune in my head as the imagery, the fear and sadness gang up on me and make me want to cry.

This might be an ice cream and cuddles night.  😦 

Nights like this are when being a writer sucks. We bringing out our fears and play with them. We put words to them, keep them in safe places. Unfortunately, sometimes they come back to make us feel all that again. The fear. The sadness. The pain.

Years ago I was under the impression I was an emotionally tough person.

I’m not.





Knick-Knack Overlords – A Guest Post By ReGi McClain

11 Oct

    A few weeks ago I asked ReGi McClain to write a guest post about writing, marketing, social media, or something. Yeah, I was pretty much that vague.  With that jumbled request, she came back with this lovely post (she even chose the video. Nice!).

So, without further jabbering from me, here’s ReGi.  😀

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    It was my favorite housekeeping guru who pointed it out. We like to think of ourselves as gods. In his book, Clutter’s Last Stand, Don Aslett viciously confronts the human tendency to create and control little worlds by collecting knick-knacks and arranging them just so. My grandmother is a prime example of this phenomenon. By the time she and my grandfather moved out of the home they owned for 30 years, she collected hundreds (dare I say thousands?) of trinkets from around the world. Nothing interesting there, right? Millions of people do that.

So why do I bring up my grandmother? Because, unlike most people who amass armies of gewgaws, my grandmother remembers the stories behind each and every one of her treasures in vivid detail. Not only can she tell you where, when, and why she got them, she can usually tell you what materials and methods were used in making them, the cultural significance of those materials and methods, and possibly even the name of the artisan and his aunt’s husband’s cousin’s new boyfriend. Okay, okay, so maybe not the new boyfriend. I assume the girl in question would have married the fella or moved on by now.

Writers are a lot like collectors. We take our little baubles, our characters and conflicts, and arrange them until we like what we see. But do we, like my grandmother, take the time to get the story behind each? If you don’t write speculative fiction, as I do, perhaps you don’t think you need so much backstory. Not so. Maybe you don’t need to decide whether the dragon likes his maidens medium-rare or well done, but at least know why your story needs to happen in London instead of any other major metropolis. Perhaps the anatomical location of the alien’s nose is of no importance to you, but do you know why that character is mind-bogglingly shallow?

Mind you, I don’t think you should start any collections. I’d have to spend weeks with my grandmother to get every story. Sadly, with all those ornaments competing for space with each other, all of them lost value. When I visited to pick out the things I wanted to keep, I passed up many costly, beautiful things because they held no importance to me. Instead, I kept an ugly metal pig. Why? Because my grandmother told me its story. I know it’s real value.

Don Aslett believes in ruthlessly giving away everything that doesn’t hold true significance for you. Not just marginal  sentimental value or potential usefulness someday. No. We’re talkin’ actively-contributing-to-your-current-well-being importance. The same principle can be applied to writing. When you look at your literary knick-knacks, do you  remember why you kept them? Are they truly important? Then put them out where we can see them! Toss the rest. You don’t have to give us your reasons for keeping each treasure unless it’s important to the story, but if you’ve done it right, we, like any fascinated guest, will ask you for more details.




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Thank you, ReGi!  I’ll have to ask you back again.  😀

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If you’re curious about today’s guest blogger, you can go over to her blog: www.regimcclain.wordpress.com

Chat with her on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/regimcclain

And find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RegiMcclain

I would recommend all three, really. She’s a lot of fun.  😀

And she just informed me that she has a Pinterest page as well: http://www.pinterest.com/ReGiMcClain

She’s practically everywhere!  lol


Have a Great Weekend!



A Writer’s What-Ifs: The Positive Side

12 Sep

Today I am following up on an idea I had about yesterday’s post.

Here’s the bit that got me thinking.

Then there are the what-ifs.

What if it doesn’t sell well?

What if it isn’t good enough?

What if I’m not good enough?

What if all that time and effort was for nothing?


This list of what-ifs left me feeling…unhappy.

So I have come up with a list of positive what-ifs.


My list of positive what-ifs for writers:

What if some of this fear goes away after my first book is published?

What if that first book is a hit?

What if the next book is the start of a great series?

What if I can quit my job by the end of next year?

What if I become an Amazon best seller?

What if I make it onto the New York Times Best Seller List?

What if someone wants to turn one of my books into a movie?

What if I’m the next J. K. Rowling?!


Hmmm, if I’m not careful I’m going to set off another attack of the day dreams and not get anything done today.

A little dreaming is fun. A lot of dreaming can get in the way of being productive.

So have fun with your happy what-if list, but don’t forget to get your tush in that chair and add more words to the book.


Now, to practice what I preach.





When’s the Last Time You Did Something Silly?

28 Aug

On purpose.

When’s the last time you didn’t allow yourself to step on a crack on the sidewalk. Or tip-toed along on alternating floor tiles in the grocery store?

Has it been years since you blew soap bubbles in the back yard? I bet your dog would love it. Toddlers and cats go crazy for those strange floating orbs, too. I can guarantee you will end up laughing at their antics if you blow some bubbles for them.

How often do you stargaze, cloud watch, and stare at the moon?

When’s the last time you danced in the rain?

As long as we’re talking about dancing, have you danced around to your favorite song yet this month? In fact, when’s the last time you did any kind of dancing?

Do you make time to watch the birds at your feeder, or in the hedge around your back yard?


All writers, artists, and ‘normal’ people should make time for such endeavors. 

I know I should more often.

They are good for the soul.


Here’s a little something to get you started.




Have You Fired The Sales Department Before Even Getting Started?

13 Aug

Here’s where I got the idea for today’s post:



I am referring of course to the first of the two short animations. (although the second is funny)

(I love Dilbert. lol!)

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This got me to wondering how many writers (or any other profession which involves selling of wares on the internet) think that sales and advertising is beneath them, or not worth their time.

Being really honest, if you had a couple books for sale, but no one knew they existed, how could you expect people to drive to the warehouse (i.e. Amazon, B&N, Smashwords) and beg for your product?

That is where your Author’s Platform comes in.

You’re looking at me with a blank stare…

All that an Author’s Platform consists of is what you have set up to help advertise, and in general, inform potential readers about what you have written.

That’s it. In a nutshell.

I’ll use myself as an example.

Last November I had finally reached my goal of enough bathroom poems written that I could now put them out to friends and family for second opinions.

So Excited!

Then I really started looking into what it would take to publish them…

(I’m gonna be honest here)


This is a steep learning curve. Especially for a girl who is borderline computer illiterate, and can’t seem to make either photo editing program on her darling husband’s computer work the way she wants. *pout*

I must say, though, that formatting the poems wasn’t nearly the chore I thought it was going to be.  🙂

But I digress.

Last November I decided that the procrastination was over. The blog needed to start. So in I dove. Head first, no prep, barely any research. Loved (almost) every moment of the process.

Next came the Facebook page and Twitter (if memory serves I created them almost the same day).

Twitter seems to be more my speed than Facebook. I really thought it would be the other way around. The discovery still baffles me. But what is even more confusing, is that I get more blog hits from Facebook than Twitter. Go figure.

For a recap: At this point I have a blog, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. All building friends and followers for when I eventually publish my little book of poetry (and of course all the other stuff I’m creating).

Then I found out about something called Goodreads. All I can say is that I have an account. It still is a little intimidating to me for some odd reason. When I get this book out I’ll have to pull on my big girl pants and figure out how to make an Author’s Page. *squeals and hides under the bed*

It was something of a stroke of luck when I temporarily learned how to make my blog posts automatically appear on my LinkedIn, erm, wall…I think it’s called? Yeah, another one that eludes my braincells.

That’s another point!

If you absolutely hate working with a certain social media site…

Don’t Worry About It!

Sure all those people say that you Must be on all the sites.

But really, I think just being consistent with a few will get you better results than just occasionally showing up at 12 different places.

That’s why I’m don’t sweat not being able to figure out LinkedIn and Goodreads. Facebook is doing…ok for me. Twitter, well being truthful, Twitter is borderline on an addiction for me. I just have to know what is happening!

Seriously, though, I love my Twitter writer friends. They are the best!

The biggest piece of advice I can give you?

Have Fun With It!

If you don’t keep it interesting for yourself a) You’re going to burn out real quick, and b) You’re probably boring your hard won friends and followers (and yourself, to tears).

So post those kitten photos. Tell the world how you broke the wide screen with your contact lens. Brag about your kid’s burping ability. They like to know that you’re a real human.

Writers have good days and bad days like everyone else. We just learn how to turn the experiences into words for others to read. (But that’s another post, I think.)

Just don’t be afraid to be the real you out there in cyber world. A fake you wouldn’t be the same.

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Want more on how to actually build and maintain an Author’s Platform?

Check out these other bloggers!:

Bad Redhead Media

Rachel has a wealth of information on her site for everything from setting up a Sales Platform to internet etiquette. The above link will take you to her list of 10 helpful tips for authors. If you are interested in more just click on the tab for her blog (located at the top of the page, toward the left).


Catherine, Caffeinated

Catherine is a lot of fun (at least I find her to be). She writes about the entire process of self-publishing, from first edits to the empty feeling afterward when you learn it’s not a get rich quick scheme. She also has many people guest post to share their experience and knowledge.

She has a handy search box at the top right hand corner of her blog. If you don’t want to spend an hour wandering through her writings (I’ve done it…many times. lol) go ahead and type in a key word for something you’re curious about and see what it brings you.


Savvy Writers & e-Books online

While I do not agree with everything this blog suggests, there is a lot of useful information here. There is a long list of subjects down the right side of the site. I have it cued up for you on Author Platform/Brand. If you want to explore something else go ahead and choose your topic, there are plenty of posts in each. Don’t worry, we’ll come looking if we don’t hear from you in a few days. 😉


This is just a small example of the many helpful blogs and bloggers out there.

Most writers are very friendly, helpful people. It surprised me when I found this out, but most of us work on the Pay It Forward strategy. We all help each other, so in return, we all get help.

Now go put on your Researcher’s hat so you can eventually learn enough to reach for that Promoter’s hat. Don’t worry, you’ll get there soon enough.


Release Your Imaginative Inner Child

1 Jun
It may look like an old flatbed trailer, but to a child's imagination it could be anything.

It may look like an old flatbed trailer, but to a child’s imagination it could be anything.

When I was young we stayed with some family for a year. It was an interesting time in my childhood.

You see, my great-grandfather (on my mother’s side) had been a farmer. So on that piece of property were all kinds of old junked out equipment for us to turn into cool toys.

There was a huge piece of galvanize steel pipe. Tall enough that we could walk through, and just long enough to shelter the four of us when it rained. Because heaven forbid we should go inside for something as piddly as a spring shower.

There were old abandoned kitchen chairs which could be fixed up just enough for us to use in our little hide-out on a tiny island in the center of the small swamp. We were all light enough at the time that we could walk along carefully flattened trails of grass and cattail reeds. Anyone weighing more than about 90 pounds would have sunk nearly to their knees in insidiously sticky swamp water.

One of the more versatile ‘toys’ was a large, wooden flat bed off an old trailer. Long gone were the tires, and the frame sat pathetically on the ground, but to us it had limitless potential.

This old trailer became anything we imagined, and because it was old and friendly it did it happily. Through an average week it was the bridge of a pirate ship and a star ship, the stage for a sappy opera, a raft adrift in storm tossed waters, and a hospital ward.

We got good use out of that old thing. And if I’m not adding too much anthropomorphic flare on it, I do believe that old trailer enjoyed being a part of our play.

Today I am boggled by the average child’s lack of imagination. Where is the old game of “The floor is Lava!!!”? Do they even play cartoon freeze tag anymore? Are they even allowed to play pirate anymore? I’m pretty sure Cowboys and Indians has been ruled Politically Incorrect.

What will our future books and movies consist of? How would our young fare if a sun flare knocked out their game consoles?

Enough with that rabbit trail. My main point is…

Writers need an active imagination. So it is important to exercise it on a regular basis. No, I am not suggesting you get up a game of tag with local eight year olds. (they would likely label you as something which could get you in a lot of hot water)

I am suggesting that you find animals in clouds. Think through strange What If situations. Read as often as your busy adult schedule will allow. Anything that gets your mind thinking of something besides normal, every day…stuff.

Give it a try. What can you lose? A few moments of your time? At least they might be happy moments.

Or not.


Here’s to the boundless imagination and creativity of childhood, and may we never let it go.

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What were some crazy things You got up to as a child?

Have those memories or skills helped you in your adult life?


Author Success: A Well “Business Planned” Future, part 4

13 May

Hmm…this reminds me. I still have to put together a website for this book of poetry. Maybe getting to do that will be my little reward for getting the cover together. Yeah, that could work!
I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Deborah Riley-Magnus, Writeaholic

PART FOUR: Author Platform and Book Platform

I recently talked with several authors and writers about their Author Platforms and their Book Platforms. I was pretty shocked to realize that most either didn’t realize they needed both platforms … and the remainder were under the mistaken idea that these two vital elements of a well designed Book Business Plan were somehow interchangeable.

Um … not. Let’s get a little clarity.


Look in the mirror. It’s YOU. It’s all the elements that make you an author worth reading … no matter what you write. It’s the promotion of the author you are and the author you want to be. It promotes YOU as the BRAND.

I had an interesting question the other day. The writer asked about writing several genres and if this is not only possible, but functional and profitable.

The answer is a big…

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