Thursday, March 26, 2015

Marketing for One, Please

On the joys, stresses, and annoyances of marketing your own book while working full-time!
You can only do as well as you know how. I was a little better than clueless when this whole process started. However, I've been at this marketing fiasco for over a year and I'm more than happy to share what I know with you, my dears. Good luck!

Establish an online presence: Develop your message and establish a website that clearly expresses it. Then, share it. You don't need to be everywhere all the time, but commit time to sharing your message via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, or however you are comfortable on a weekly basis. (Insider tip: you can set up an account on Networked Blogs that will automatically post to chosen targets whenever you publish new content on your blog or website. It's free!) 

Connect, connect, connect: Talk with people online (and not just about yourself or your books/product). Chat about things that are important. Share things that resonate with you or might inspire, instruct, or entertain others. Above all, share things that others post that are interesting to you. I scratch your back, you scratch mine absolutely applies in marketing. (Insider tip: my favorite days to interact on Twitter are during #MondayBlogs and Saturday #ArchiveDay. These folks are there to share and be shared! And they are very generous. I've also heard great things about Wednesday #wwwblogs and #SundayBlogShare, but I did mention that I have a day job, right? Check them out and find out what works for you.)

Meet Your Public: Plan authory events where you can interact with your fans and the general public. The main purpose will be to sell your product, but if you don't take the opportunity to spread on the charm and win them over, what's the point? In all your interactions (online and in person) be positive and genuine. People will be drawn to that. (Insider tip: Like mama always said, it never hurts to ask. And it really doesn't hurt to ask in a courteous way. You can ask friends, acquaintances, church-going pals, library connections, and work colleagues if they're interested in hosting a book signing, demo, presentation, or book club. You'd be surprised how many will say yes when you ask with a smile.)

Devote time and resources: It's not necessary to spend all of your time and money sharing your message. The goal is to make a profit while still holding down a day job, going out with friends, and keeping in contact with loved ones. Be wise. Budget your time as carefully as you do your money. (Insider tip: I prefer spending my money on pretty  shoes instead of marketing. I just thought you should know that.)

There you go! Nothing deep or complicated, just a little of what my marketing guru friend Raylynn Sleight calls common sense. (Actually she calls it something involving No and Sherlock, but you get the picture.) Here's her take on marketing: Marketing Made SimpleGood luck! Feel free to leave a comment and pass along your secrets of marketing success. Thanks, my dears!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Miranual for Life

Is It Just Me? The title along with that fabulous cover tells most of the story.
Have you ever felt like you were the only idiot in a sea of posh people who have it all together? That's the premise behind Miranda Hart's self-help book. I'm a huge fan of Miranda, a British show full of prat falls, running gags, and a colorful characters. So, when I discovered that Miranda Hart had written a book, I needed to take a peek. 

It's what she calls a Miran-ual for life, and covers everything from being non-musical to the horrors of weddings. Yes, that's right, horrible, try-to-behave-yourself-when-you're-on-display-for-everyone-to-see weddings. Miranda, whose own past (and present) are speckled with crazy foot-in-mouth moments, spends the bulk of the pages reassuring her readers that everyone has their issues, and the rest of them making you laugh out loud. It turns out no one is the poshy person they put forward. Isn't it time we embrace our uniqueness?
And coming from Miranda Hart, that advice is indeed reassuring. There's something unbelievably relatable about someone who accepts their own quirkiness and makes a career of it. That's “what I call” admirable.

So yes, if you need an ego boost or just a good laugh, pick up a copy of Is It Just Me? written in Miranda Hart's one-of-a kind comedienne style. You'll realize that no, it's not just you. We're all officially crazy. Isn't it such fun?

Check out Is It Just Me? on Goodreads or pick up a copy on Amazon. (And if you're reading this Miss Miranda, yes I'd love to be besties! Drop me a tweet, eh?)

Need something else to read? Check out some of my other recommendations: Love Triangle, Shmove TriangleLetters To My Future Husband, Anne-with-an-E, Where Life Takes You, Persuaded, Pass the Pepper, or Geek Chic. Carry on, reader chums!

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Don't stop believing
Hold on to that feeling...
The words fade. (As does the first season of Glee that brought this fabulous Journey song back into the limelight. Wasn't that a different world.) However, my journey has been on my mind a lot lately. Especially the long boring years where nothing happened. Work. Home. Sleep. Repeat. Words percolated in my mind, blossoming into themes, stories, fairytales. Even when I was doing something else, like sleeping, they'd wake me up with their insistence. Write me down, they seem to demand. My bedside table has been and always will be the receptacle of forgotten images and once grand ideas. 

Don't stop believing...

In my thirties, my best friend forced me to joining a Writing Group. (Really, I think there was arm-twisting involved, maybe the pulling of teeth.) But sitting down with those women, I knew I would be a part of something good.

Short stories, theme writing, and whatever-caught-my-fancy writing filled the months. Until, “Well, what about Beauty and the Beast?” The idea had been at the back of my mind for years, so long that I'd forgotten it somewhere along the way.

Hold on to that feeling...

A beastly Beauty, so wretched only I could love her. I poured the lonely days of my girlhood, my hopes for tomorrow, my humor, and my frustration with my purposeful but romance-free reality into Bella and her story. The process was cathartic. But when I held a copy of Becoming Beauty in my hands, I had no idea how it would change my self-perception. 
Not only was I a writer, I was an author. And other people knew it. (Not the whole universe, but at least some people were aware of it. And they were happy for me.) It took a while for reality to sink in, but when it did, I saw myself differently. I wasn't just The Best Kindergarten Teacher Ever (really, I do have my days!), I was something more. After having one set of dreams for so long, it was nice that the heavens saw fit to gift me with another.

Just like Bella. 

You never know where a journey will lead until you set your feet on the path. Be brave, try something new and scary (like writing and publishing a book) and see what new avenues open up for you.

For more about my journey, try out: Expect the Unexpected, Ready or Not, My First..., Author Envy, or Meet Your Adoring Public. Happy reading! And as always, thanks for dropping in!

For more about Bella's journey, find her and Becoming Beauty on: 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Ms. Etiquette Makes an Appearance

It's a legitimate business practice. Also, it's just plain common sense and good manners. We take care of each other. It's what we do.

My mom has always been Little Miss Thank You. (Okay, well, there were times when she was Little Miss Stop Yelling or So Help Me, but that's irrelevant.) She taught me to say thank you at any and every opportunity. If I forget everything else (like saying Bless You when someone sneezes because I think it's ridiculous, what are we blessing them for exactly?) I will always remember the importance of showing gratitude. 

And here's a little bit of a tip, showing gratitude opens doors for you. Asking for help in a respectful way and then being oh-so-grateful when it arrives ensures that people will want to help you the next time. However, when someone does the best they can to come to our aid (however well they accomplish the task) and we don't respond, it can be construed as ungrateful or worse, entitled. That's not the impression we want to make in our personal or professional lives. 
So, as a budding author, seasoned educator, and well-established resident of the planet, let me pass along a few tips. From Ms. Etiquette to you, in the realms of business (i.e. writing, marketing, etc.) and life:

Say Please: it may not be a magic word, but it is genteel. It's all right if we don't have all the answers. We can ask for help. And we must do it in a kindly way.

Say Thank You: do it a lot! Make sure those in your corner of the universe know they are appreciated. Especially when someone goes above and beyond the call of duty, just share the love! Fake effusions are of no use, but heartfelt thanks are always in order. (And maybe chocolate.)

Learn to Apologize Appropriately: this is isn't a grumbled Sorry, this is an admission of guilt or at least of ownership over the mistake. Again, flowery isn't helpful. True sincerity can be conveyed simply and eloquently.

Learn to Forgive and Move on: gracious acceptance of an apology, as well as speedy forgiveness, is always attractive. Sometimes we won't have the luxury receiving an appropriate apology. This is when we pull on the big girl panties and move on. Clinging to old offenses only damages us, our prospects, and ultimately our professional and personal life. (While we're at it, we'll forgive ourselves for our mistakes and shortcomings as well.)

We're All In This Together: develop the mindset of personal responsibility within the group. I am responsible for who is around me and what happens around me. I will do my best to act and respond in a respectful way.
Manners matter. And being kindly is never a bad choice. Carry on, my lovelies. 
Would you like to learn a bit more about writerly etiquette? Try The Good, The Bad, & The Meh, There Are Weirdos For Everyone, Author Envy, or My First... Happy reading!