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I was recently talking to a friend of mine about self-marketing.

self-marketing does not require gloves

self-marketing does not require gloves

She readily admitted that she was not strong at self-marketing her book, in fact, when she said the word “self-marketing” a visible shiver went down her body. Too many people see “self-marketing” as being boastful, as something that is icky and not to be touched unless wearing rubber gloves.

Oh not true. So not true.

Self-marketing is a chance for you to share the enthusiasm you have for your work. You don’t have to say that you are the greatest thing that has set foot on the planet earth, but you do have to say that your *idea* is a worthy one, deserving of being looked at.

I love to self-market.

It’s how I got my first egg noticed (I put it up on ebay at a starting price of $729.93 because that’s how much it cost us to get to that first, golden egg.)

It’s how a story about our chicken painting a picture with her feet which was then auctioned off to help a local playground fund got picked up and shared around the world.

It’s how I’ve been interviewed on TV for things I write about.

Basically, I see self-marketing as a way to spread my word to others, in short – it’s a way to teach.

So what can you do to promote your work?

Make it timely
If there is a current event that ties in your subject then use it. Have blackberries just been discovered to contain the elixir to longevity? Then write a press release about that finding and provide a link to your blackberry cookbook published last year and then send it out to every news agency you can.

Figure out how to connect what you’ve done with what’s going on.

Create anniversaries
It’s been six months since your book was published. Have a ½ birthday party and create some buzz by having a give-away or contest. Has your book just come out in paperback – why, have another party! Give people a reason to notice your accomplishments.

Invite others to participate
I recently met Ridley Pearson who was on tour promoting his Kingdom Keepers series. For his last book, he invited fans to submit paragraphs they thought should be in the book. Out of the 55K entries, he and his team chose 60 paragraphs to use in the final book.

Did you see that first number? 55 – thousand, that’s a lot of attention for something that hasn’t even been published yet. Smart guy, that Ridley.

Promote fan fiction on your site or hold a photo contest – just be sure to reward people for their involvement.

Contact any and all publication editors you know and offer to write an article
Editors need content, if you can write about a topic, your work will be considered. Sure, you might not get paid, but you can keep it short and in your bio make sure that you point to your blog, website, and recently published book.

Be sure to include good quality photos with the articles and those editors will become your new best friends.

Get involved in the community
Donate copies of your book for local auctions. Consider teaching a writing workshop. Create a basket of items in your genre (chickens, anyone) for a raffle. Get your work involved in a fund-raiser.

Don’t just stop at donating *things* – join local groups or civic organizations. Word of mouth is an important way to get people interested in what you do. You wouldn’t want to talk only about yourself but, if in my case, the topic of chickens came up, you can bet that I would have something to say on the matter.

Talk, talk, share, and talk some more about your topic and your work, people’s natural interest will do the rest.

 

***

Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com)

'25351092815_0_ALB' photo (c) 2008, Rappaport Center - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ I’ve landed a few marketing and content development clients.  I’m enjoying the work and the income is nice. I’m fortunate to have found enough work to fill many of the hours I have available to work. For now, it’s a case of having my eggs in only two baskets. That works short term, but is not a good strategy long term. It would make sense to expand my business marketing efforts to attract more of the same kind of work but, I don’t want to lose site of my love of creative writing.

It’s easy to get fixated on the income and stay in a certain track one where you know what to do and how to do it. I’ve done that in the past, but it hasn’t really worked out. I get bored and start to feel stuck. I’m a curious person and I love to stretch my creative muscles and learn new things. I do better when I’m working on project in difference spaces (not necessarily at the same time). One of my long term goals is to write and sell romantic fiction I’m also interested in exploring personal essays, creative non-fiction and articles, three very diverse markets. I’ve done some research and taken some courses so I feel like I have a basic understanding of what needs to be done, but I’m considering working with a coach to achieve my goals. I recognize the value in investing in my professional development and I think working with a coach could streamline my learning process and possibly expedite the time to publication.

Prior to starting my search for a coach, I’ve spent some time mulling some questions. My hope is that clarifying what I want upfront will simply the search, help me find a good match and insure a good return on my investment.

  • Here are some of the questions I’m thinking on:
  • Why do I want to work with a writing coach?
  • What do I expect to gain from employing a writing coach?
  • What specific expertise am I looking for in a coach?
  • Which skills am I looking to develop and which are my priority?
  • How much time per week/month can I realistically dedicate to working with a coach?
  • How much money am I willing to invest in working with a coach?
  • What kind of relationship am I looking for? Short term? Long term?
  • Do I want in person meetings? Phone Coaching? Email? A combination?
  • Do I want one on one coaching (more personalized, but more expensive) or will a group coaching situation work (less expensive, and less personalized, but with the added benefit of building more contacts).

Have you worked with a coach to develop or expand your skill set?  Is there anything I else I should be asking myself?

Lee Laughlin is a writer, wife, and mom, frequently all of those things at once. She blogs at Livefearlesslee.com. She is currently a member of the Concord Monitor Board of Contributors.  Her words have also appeared in a broad range of publications from community newspapers to the Boston Globe. She is a member of the New Hampshire Chapter of Romance Writers of America and is currently at work on her first novel.

There is still room in the Deb Dixon “Book-In-A-Day Workshop”being held May 10th in Nashua, NH Sign up today!

libraryGrowing up, our local library was almost a second home to me. Both my parents worked, so in the afternoons my sister and I would often walk the short distance from school to the library and spend a couple of hours tucked away in what was then a modest children’s room. Though the library has undergone several major renovations, including the children’s room, I can still see that room in my mind’s eye.

The circulation desk was in the center of the room and was flanked on two sides by tall, metal bookshelves that never seemed quite firmly rooted to the floor. On the third side was a bank of lower shelves whose configuration created a small nook in one corner of the room. The tiled floor of that nook was made slightly cozier by the addition of several rather worn vinyl recliner cushions. I loved that little corner and those dilapidated cushions.

Though I likely read hundreds of books while curled up in that spot, for some reason I have particular memories of The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series, and Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Pyrdain. (I really must read those again.) I also wistfully recall a book whose author and title have long escaped me, but whose heroine I still remember – Kira, the girl who could talk to the animals of an enchanted forest. I wanted to be Kira.

Across the hall from the children’s room was “the stacks”, an eerie, dimly lit place full of old books that smelled of dust and mildew. Ours is an old New England town and many of our books are quite venerable. Back in the day, the stacks was where you went to kiss boys before your mother picked you up to go home for dinner. Today, the stacks have been replaced by The Archives Room, a sealed chamber which can only be visited by adults and only in the company of library personnel who can ensure the safe handling of the records and volumes stored there.

Above the basement abode of children’s room and stacks is the library proper. Broken into several rooms, the space is reminiscent of a grand house from a bygone era. Beyond the modest foyer is what would be the great room, the largest space in the building crowned by a balcony that runs around all four walls. Upon the balcony is where some of the oldest books reside, ones not quite old or rare enough to warrant climate controlled storage in the archives, but still quite interesting. I recently found a charming late nineteenth century book all about the origins of different meanings. And somewhere on those shelves is (I hope) a tiny volume on unicorn lore. It used to live downstairs, on the main floor of the library, just to the right of the circulation desk and quite near to the Tolkien books. It has been decades since I’ve seen that book, but it has never left my memory. I can still see the etchings that illustrated what appeared to be a field guide. I wish I could find it again.

Anyway, years passed. I outgrew the children’s room and once I was in high school, I visited the town library less and less frequently. Not only was the school library nearer to hand, I was also working at my parents’ print shop after school. After graduation, the library and I experienced a long dry spell. Life got busy. I was rarely home. I went to Boston College for a year. I worked in Boston, then Gloucester, then Wenham. Years passed. I got married and, eventually, had a little girl of my own. Finally, it was time to come home to the library.

My daughter is ten years-old now. We have made weekly trips to the library since she was about two. Though she thoroughly enjoys the books we bring home for bedtime, she has never liked choosing them. She prefers to wander around the upstairs library where our friend, Laura, works. So, while they visit, I peruse the shelves in the larger, modernized children’s room. The ambiance is not quite the same, but I swear that the vinyl cushions are the ones I sat in as a child. I will happily spend an hour running my fingers along the spines of the books, all lined up and waiting. Many are new, but just as many are clearly relics of an older age – clothbound with yellowed pages and filled with quaintly outdated stories. I wonder what the characters from those books would think of today’s heroes and villains.

One of my favorite things about the old children’s room was the entrance. Though you could get there from the main library, it was much more fun to enter by the side door which was tucked down behind a cast iron fence on the corner of the building. I always got a little thrill descending those stairs. There used to be a roof which gave you the feeling of being in a tunnel. It felt like I was entering a subterranean hideaway.

But time marches on and things change. Though I miss the charm of the old place, I’m grateful almost beyond words that we not only still have a library, but our town and citizens have seen fit to invest in it. Our library is one of the lucky ones, and it’s lovely to be back.

Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.

Chunking Time

It’s the start to another new week, and a new time to (possibly) be challenged with accomplishing all you want (or need) to accomplish.

Having a To Do list is important so you know what needs to be done — but sometimes the list seems a bit overwhelming and you may try to multitask and end up starting many items while finishing few.

Chunking your time can help you be productive and get tasks done — especially if one of the tasks is writing. Isn’t it difficult to find the time to write when it’s one of a list of things to do?

I have two approaches to chunking: individual tasks and similar tasks.

Basically, you decide on the top 2, 3, or 4 ‘must-get-dones’ for the day and choose an amount of time to dedicate to each. Chunk that time in your schedule

Since I’m still using a paper planner, I use a highlighter to mark off time periods – a different color for each task/project. If you’re using an online planner, say, Google Calendar, it’s very easy to select different colors for different chunks of time.

What’s the benefit of chunking time? You can be fully focused on the task/project at hand knowing that you’ve dedicated the time to it. Other items will be done later, but for the chunked period, shiny object syndrome and procrastination gremlins should remain at bay.

Chunking time helps you relax – you know you’re attending to a priority and won’t have to hope to make up the time later. Sure a task may take multiple days, but chunk what you need and take some pressure off your shoulders.

I don’t think there’s anything worse than hoping to get to an item or saying “I’ll start that as soon as I finish this, this, and this.” Chunking is setting an appointment for yourself to be focused on one and only one task (or a set of similar tasks, such as making phone calls, setting appointments, replying to emails, and so on).

Writing can often fall off the plate for the day if paying work is present, but having a 1-hour chunk of time to solely focus on writing is encouraging. I know everything else will get done, but for this 1 hour (or however much time), I have the singular focus — it’s quite freeing.

Have you tried chunking your time before? Do you see the possibility with it?

Lisa J. Jackson Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She’s always trying new things in order to use her time most effectively. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Welcome to the Weekend Edition. Grab a cuppa and settle in for a meander. Glad to have you here.

fairytale cottageA Place to Write:

We’re moving in a couple of weeks. I have spent the last year trying to find a house to buy (an “adventure” partially chronicled in a piece by fellow L2W-W2L blogger Lee, How to Buy a Home in a Seller’s Market), but – alas! – we were unable to find a suitable home. Part of me is disappointed. Part of me feels like I dodged a bullet.

I will be keeping a close eye on the market, but I’ve begun to question whether or not I want to buy a house. Though my nester’s heart loves the idea of having a little corner of the world to call my own, the physical and financial responsibility of home ownership is enormous. Life is short and we have limited resources. Am I sure I want to invest so much of my time, money, and attention in the procurement and upkeep of a physical space?

As a writer, my priority is to be able to write. But, what does that mean? It isn’t so much about having a room of my own as it is about having a different kind of space. Owning my home is less important than owning my time. To own my time, I need to create space in my life. I need to have the freedom to spend my minutes and hours and days doing the thing I love. While owning a home is a lovely ideal, it comes with a price. Am I willing to trade not only my existing financial assets, but also my future time assets in exchange for being able to say, “This is mine?” As my dad likes to say, “You can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything you want.”

Or, would I be happier if I created a life that left more room for the creative work I love? Would I be more fulfilled if I had a wealth of time to spend as I pleased instead of having to sell all my hours for dollars in order to ensure the security of four walls and a roof?

Though I’m not ready to make the leap, living in a tiny house is a fantasy I share with fellow L2W-W2L blogger, Wendy. I read stories about people, like Tammy Strobel (aka “@RowdyKittens“) who are changing the way we think about the American Dream. They are passing on the white picket fence and instead choosing freedom. Imagine if your monthly expenses were half what they are now, or a third, or a tenth. How would you spend all your reclaimed time?

For now, my daughter and I are very fortunate to have found a beautiful little apartment on the second and third floors of a darling house overlooking the river. It’s not ours and it’s not grand, but I have a feeling it will be the perfect place for us at this particular moment. And – who knows? – maybe one of these days I’ll be telling you about our tiny house. You never know …

What I’m Writing:

I am dying to share some of my latest columns with you, but I’m sticking to my guns and will no longer post my essays on my business blog. I clearly had a bit of an identity crisis there for a minute. Mixing my marketing blog posts with my lyrical writing was confusing even to me. In case you missed it, last week I shared a great post by Ann Handley on a related topic, How Do You Balance Your Personal and Professional Social Media Presence? This is a conundrum I’m still sorting out. It will likely involve the launch of another site/blog in the not-too-distant future. If it does, it’ll be the first time I’ve made my creative writing a central focus instead of a sideshow to my marketing writing. Yikes!

art is messy

Art is messy.

I’m happy to report that my use of the  Way of Life app is helping me to be more consistent about my fiction writing practice. Though I’ve only been able to carve out a few minutes here and a few minutes there, those are a few minutes more than I was spending before the app. Works for me! Even better, I’ve found that even though I may spend only a few minutes actually writing, the practice is helping me keep my creative juices flowing “in the background,” so to speak. It feels good.

Affiliate Link

What I’m Reading:

I read another Kindle Single this week. I think I may be developing a minor addiction these bite-sized reads. This week’s selection was another piece by Robin Sloan, Annabel Scheme (affiliate link). After reading Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra stories, the story of Annabel Scheme was quite a switch, but I enjoyed the SciFi/ghost story romp through a world not unlike our own where a massively powerful search engine called Grail has all but taken over the world … except for the demons, they seem to do what they like.

I really enjoyed the way Sloan combined these futuristic concepts with the traditional private eye/gumshoe genre. It took what could have been standard fare and gave it a quirky flavor that was really fun.


On the other side of the literary continuum, I’m also reading Susan Orlean’s latest creative nonfiction novel, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend (affiliate link). I acquired my copy back in (hangs head in shame) October 2012 when I saw her speak up in Portsmouth, NH. I wrote about the event in my post, Susan Orlean on Curiosity and Courage. I can’t believe it’s taken me all this time to pick it up and start reading it!

This is my current “dining” book – the book I keep handy so that I can read a bit while I have my morning toast or lunchtime sandwich. I’ve also been known to pick it up while I’m cooking (never a good idea since cooking isn’t my strong suit to begin with).

Anyway – lots more of this one to enjoy, but I’m really liking it so far. Orlean is a wonderful storyteller and this story is one that can’t help but fascinate.

 

And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

SPECIAL NOTICE: There’s been a nasty virus wending its way around the web. There are MANY passwords you should be updating – Facebook, Google. Instagram, etc. Please check out The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now via @mashable for details.

Finally, a quote for the week:

home books

Wishing you that feeling of home no matter where you are. Have a wonderful weekend! 
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: A recent post on Writer Unboxed asked the question, “Should You Read About Writing?” It’s an interesting topic for discussion, so we thought we’d pose the question here. Do you read books about the craft of writing? What kinds? How many? What sorts of things do you hope to learn? Do you think reading these books has helped or hindered your development as a writer?

P.S. – If you’re interested to know which writing books we’ve previously touted as our faves, visit this Friday Fun post from the archives on writing books that make a difference.

 

headshot_jw_thumbnailwriting booksJamie Wallace: Guilty. I think. Here’s the thing, I definitly BUY books about writing, but I don’t always actually READ them. Apart from the favorites I mentioned in the post noted above, most of my Writing Books Collection consists of partially-read or never-read books that seemed like a good idea/lifesaver/font of wisdom … at the time. I don’t have any particular prejudice against these books, nor do I believe they contain the secret formula for success. As the author of the Writer Unboxed post pointed out, if reading books about writing was all it took to be a great writer … well, you get the idea.

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: I love reading books about writing. I love reading magazines about writing (wasn’t that last week’s question?) My favorites are the ones like Bird by Bird and Writing Down the Bones, the ones that just say, “get your butt in the chair and write!” But I also enjoy books on craft and process, and even grammar books. I love grammar books: Sin and Syntax and everyone’s old favorite, The Elements of Style. Also, I love a gem I found in the UConn bookstore when my stepson was there: A Troubleshooting Guide for Writers: Strategies and Process. I don’t read writing books but I usually take one or two of them when I go on vacation.

dll2013Deborah Lee Luskin: First of all, I don’t think it’s helpful to “should all over yourself.” I do, however, read writing books when I need the inspiration such books offer. I’ve reviewed a few on this blog: Bird by Bird, Writing to Change the World, Unless it Moves the Human Heart. I’ve also enjoyed Stephen King’s On Writing, John McPhee’s essays about craft that have been running in The New Yorker lately, and Michel de Montaigne’s Essays (not strictly about writing, but inspirational). My caveat: the books on writing have to be well written themselves.

hennrikus-web2Julie Hennrikus: Stephen King’s On Writing and Annie Lamont’s Bird by Bird are both favorites of mine. For mystery writing, The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery, Hallie Ephron’s Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel, and Chris Roerdon’s Don’t Murder Your Mystery are all great. I don’t read them as much now (though I will be looking at the editing chapters again soon), but I found them very, very helpful. Just remember that there isn’t a right way to write. There’s your way.

wendy-shotWendy Thomas: This one is easy, the answer is YES. Absolutely. And not only should you be reading books (and magazines) on the craft of writing but you should also be applying what you learn to what you read (which will eventually allow you to apply it to what you write.) Honestly, because of my craft reading, I can no longer read a book without seeing how it was constructed. I can’t unsee what I’ve seen.

Not only should you read books about writing, but you should find a co-writer confidant with whom you can discuss what you’ve discovered. My writing has gotten so much stronger because I have a friend who loves to dissect writing as much as I do and we share ideas and articles with each other.

Some of my favorite resources? Anything Larry Brooks writes (Storyfix.com) He’s currently offering a free ebook that breaks down his last published novel. Invaluable information on the mechanics of story construction. He also write Story Engineering and Story Physics which are two of my writing bibles.

I also like Blueprint your Best Seller – it’s a very mechanical book that describes exactly how to design a story and the technical writer in me loves the approach.

And of course the monthly  writing magazines, I still pick up a tip or two from each issue.


Susan Nye:
At this point, I’m so busy writing, reading fiction and memoir and living that I don’t have time to read about writing. Or at least, I don’t make time to read about writing. Perhaps it’s the rebel in me, if it’s a should – it’s not for me.

talk to the handAs you probably know, my favorite genre is memoir. I’ve noticed that many titles these days come with subtitles:

  • I Thought I Wouldn’t Tell It: A Memoir of Hard Life and Hope
  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
  • Leave me alone: Memoirs of an Exmormon
  • Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales: A Story of Addiction

Some of these subtitles are used to simply identify the book as a memoir in the hopes that if you like genre, the added word will eliminate any confusion on the matter and draw you in to the story.

Other subtitles try to give you an idea of the author’s voice like:

  • My Foot is Too Big For the Glass Slipper – A Guide to the Less than Perfect Life.

When it’s used like this, it’s an opportunity for the author to inject a personal comment  in an effort to let you know up front what tone is being used.

And still other subtitles are added as a last chance to get keywords into the title in the event that someone wants to search, oh I don’t know, for LOVE stories:

  • What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love

If done well, a subtitle can be incredibly effective. It can give you an extra opportunity to lure your potential reader into your book and it sets the tone.

Got nothing against that, in fact, I’ve even written several subtitles titles for my works.

But still, there’s a tiny part of me that used to think of the perfect title to a project *before* I even thought of the story – you know what I’m talking about, it’s when you hear a phrase and you think *that* would be a great book title and then you start creating a story in order to justify the title.

I understand the marking importance of subtitles, trust me, I do.

But I also hope that the art of crafting the perfect title for your work doesn’t get lost in the marketing process.

***

Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com)

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