Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Unforgivable

Becoming acquainted with some seriously cool people has been a perk of establishing an online presence. However, for as many cool people as I've found, there have been a number of creeps, trolls, and truly clueless individuals. I get requests from them all the time. But there are people I can't, won't, and/or have no interest in following online and/or befriending in real life. For your entertainment and edification, I've described them below:
Look at me! Look at ME! LOOK AT ME! Did you miss the SOCIAL part of social media? When all you talk about is yourself, how do you expect anyone else to engage in the conversation? Maybe you just wanted a one-side conversation anyway. If so, then carry on, my dear! (By the way, If you haven't learned, let me spell it out for you: You are NOT the center of the universe.)
Buy my stuff! That's right, we're all on the internet with the express purpose of buying your book, acquiring your useless crap, and/or learning about your life-changing philosophy. Oh wait...that's the purpose of Google, Amazon, and Etsy. I must have confused social media with one of those online merchants. My bad. 
Celebs (or those that think they're celebs) Here's a hint my darlings: If you think you're too good for me, I have no problem agreeing with you. Moving along! Personally, I follow few celebrities online. Those I do follow have something to offer, usually in fabulous fan interaction. There are plenty of individuals on social media who act like celebrities and would love the hero worship dealt to celebrities. Good luck with that.
Ms. Cranky Pants (Also Mr. Whiny Pants) Did you just flip out, throw a hissy fit, and/or climb up on your high horse? Well, you just made yourself look like an idiot now, didn't you? (I might add that all of this judgment is coming from the girl who wears Doctor Who socks. So that should make you feel worse.) It's a public forum, sweetie. If you thought small towns were gossipy, just you wait.

We all have our moments when we act like divas and peddle our wares like a big-mouthed car salesman. It happens. But when our wits are about us, we ought to realize that all of life, including our online life is about CONNECTING. Meet, greet, chat, and be polite. When you begin to feel offended, take a deep breath. There's no reason to fly off the handle. If someone else is acting like a moron, there's no need to join the party. It's not as if you're face to face. After you've chewed on your words for a good while, consider sending them in a private message instead of a public post. Or unfollow, block, mute, or report the other party as inappropriate. Any of those actions mark you as a professional.

Need more online or etiquette tips? Try Socially Approved Stalking: The Ins & Outs of Followers, Ms. Etiquette Makes an Appearance, Marketing for One, Please, or Hiyeee! Buy My Stuff.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Business as Usual (More or Less)

Summer is over. Business as usual will commence.

However, only if you address any of the following concerns on a weekly basis will you understand what usual means in my life:

  • I want my mommmmmyyyyyy!
  • I have to go to the bathroom!
  • I can't get my pants [please select one or more: on/off, up/down, buttoned/unbuttoned].
  • I had an accident. (A wet/messy accident.)
  • I want the [please select one: green, blue, purple, yellow, pink, polka dotted] one!
  • It's MY turn!
  • He/she took my [please select one: toy, book, pencil, marker, will to live].
  • Is it time to go home yet?
Those of you who work in an office setting are probably unfamiliar with the above situations. (I hope anyway.) But they're a part of business as usual in kindergarten land. Once again I'm jumping into the land of kids who look too small, only sort of know about being in school, and who yes, miss their mommies. (It's okay kids, sometimes I miss my mommy too.)

All of us deal with a myriad of issues in the work world. Even work-at-home folks have to preserve their sanity. So, let's make a deal. I'm going to list several Work Survival Techniques, and we'll all do our best to comply in our own way. What do you say?

Laugh daily. This won't be hard in my line of work. The kids ALWAYS learn what tickles my funny bone and they produce it regularly. It's a talent of little people. If you need a laugh, message me. I'll be saving up funnies for you.

Find time for yourself. I'm still trying to find time for that pedicure. One week to move into the classroom and set everything up makes the timeline really tight. But mark my words, I'll make time for pampering and M&M moments.

Enjoy what you do. Or find something else to do. This is probably the MOST important one. We've all worked grunt jobs. They take a toll on your well-being as well as your ego. Here's what I have to say about that: Get out. Move on and move up in the world. There is always something else you can do. (And yes, I did play Weekend Manager at Arby's myself for a year. But only for one!)

Keep making friends. Friends are what makes the grunt jobs and bad days in your chosen career bearable. I'm still missing my kindergarten team from my previous school. They made all the crazy liveable. But missing them won't stop me from connecting with the amazing people I'm rubbing elbows with now. I know that soon we will be each others' lifelines. I love that.

Carry on, my dears. And hey, if all else fails, leave me a comment and tell me about your horrible business as usual and how you cope. I promise to commiserate!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hiyeeee! Buy my Stuff.

Is it just me, or is this approach some people have? Because pretended friendliness paired with the cold sell is super effective...
So you know those crazy kids that churches send out to proselyte? Well, I was one of those nametag-wearing, scripture-toting darlings in the late 90s. Imagine approaching a stranger about something as personal as religion. Are you hyperventilating yet? Well, we did it. And I'm going to tell you how. Please don't tell the Mormons. (Just teasing, they won't mind.)

BRT = Build Relationships of Trust When you approach someone to sell something or propose a change in lifestyle, you need them to trust you. Why? Because no one cares about what you have to say until they care about you and know you care about them. 

Build on Common Interests Find something that you both enjoy, appreciate, share, or believe in. Once you've got them chatting, eventually you will find your in. “Oh, yes, I can totally relate with that! I feel the same way when I'm writing!” You're a writer? What are you working on? Have you published anything? (It probably won't be that easy. But be patient. It'll work out.)

Build Up, Don't Tear Down Ranting, hopping on your soap box, and jumping on the offensive is the quickest way to turn potential friends (i.e. tomorrow's buyers) off. Take a deep breath and walk away rather than engaging in a negative interchange. Silence is the best way to encourage others to reconsider what they've said. And if they don't, move on. But please, do not be the reason someone hates authors, writers, or artists of any kind. At the end of the day, Ms. Etiquette reminds us to be respectful.

Personal Referrals Practically all of the people who embraced my message back in my Hermana Boucher days had friends, family and associates who were members of the LDS church. Before I entered the picture, they had positive experiences with the religion itself. If you have devoted followers and friends who will share YOU or your product with the people they know, the message is that much more powerful because it comes from someone they already trust. I've heard, “My friend [daughter, mom, neighbor] would LOVE that!” so many times. And it never fails to make me happy!

There you have it, my dears! Tips on salesmanship from an ex-missionary. And why the “Hello! Buy my stuff!” approach is destined for failure. Here's the bottom line: Focus on the Person, Not the Message. Stop sending out messages that ask strangers to buy your stuff. Don't hide who you are or what you do, but be a lovely, engaging, interesting person they will want to hang out with, chat with, and share with their friends. Because then guess what. You just did your job twice. And you have a new friend!

Thanks for stopping by, my friends! Like to read more? I'm the Queen of Advice. And I'm not shy about it...
Socially Approved Stalking: The Ins & Outs of Followers
Marketing for One, Please
Ms. Etiquette Makes an Appearance

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dead. Dead. Deaded.

Deadlines. Have we ever discussed the fact that the word itself features the word dead? It's like diet, whose root word is obviously die. Die! Die! Die!

Uh, sorry. Where was I? Oh, yes. We were going to discuss the fact that meeting some deadlines might make you question your purpose in life. Or at least your sanity. Sometimes the worst deadlines are the ones we set ourselves. Today marks the close of the summer when I tried to kill myself off with the Mother of all Deadlines.

For me, summers are sacred to writing and playing. Last summer I not only edited Becoming Beauty for publishing, but I also wrote the bulk of Twelve (except it's now retitled...uh, I'm not telling yet) and took a number of vacations. This summer the plan was to submit Twelve and jump into writing the next book (which is a retelling of Rumplestiltskin). But I never could have guessed what would happen instead.

Allergies and severe carpal tunnel syndrome curtailed most of my summer writing activities. Exactly half a chapter of Book Three has been set down, which was disappointing. But luckily, my ducks were in a row to submit Twelve to the publisher. I knew that as soon as I went into surgery I wouldn't be allowed near my laptop for weeks. (What I didn't know was that during recovery I wouldn't even have the desire to write.) So, after getting all the comments back from beta readers, I pushed through my story. Twice. The dreadful surgery week arrived and a few more personal tragedies and family dramas took my attention away from writing. Finally, I shut myself in my room, ignored my lovely parents, and started finalizing the submission process for Twelve. I think a little angel must have been watching over me because the process was more upscale the second time around. Luckily, I had most of the elements ready or nearly ready. It took a about 90 minutes to prepare everything, an extra five minutes to stare at the forbidding SUBMIT button, four seconds to take a deep breath, and a millisecond to tap that silly red button and bid farewell to my baby.

Then, the Waiting Game begins. It's different going into it the second time because I know what to expect and I have a back-up plan. Also, I know the editors, marketing directors, and cover artists and I've already spoken to a number of them about this project. And I'm VERY excited and hopeful!

Let the waiting game begin!

Meanwhile, summer is pulling to a close and I'm heading back into kindergarten teacher mode. (No worries, it just means LOTS of amazing stories, my dears!) And since we're on the subject of school, in 100 words or less, turn in an essay on the subject: My Summer Vacation. Due immediately! Drop it in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!