NaNoWriMo Winner (I Was Wrong About Everything)

I have often started and failed the “competition” that is National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I have failed at it at least three times that I remember. Probably closer to five or six.

In the past I have come up with endless excuses for dropping out that included: this is a silly endeavor that will result in a poor product; this is a waste of time; this isn’t going anywhere so why bother?; I have real work to do!; I hate this story and the characters and myself for writing it; I am really too busy to do this in November!

Needless to say I was wrong about all of those things. And what I was really wrong about was that the lesson (for me) was the journey itself. It was the discipline (which I guess I thought I lacked). It was the journey I forced myself to go with characters (and myself) even when I disliked them (and me). I learned about my creative process. I learned about sticking with something I created even when it was going horribly off the rails. I learned I need to have a better road map for long-form fiction. I can’t keep everything in my head at once, it’s just not who I am.

More than anything? I learned that I really can do what I set out to do with the proper tools and mind-set. And that’s the most important lesson of all.

This has inspired me to tackle some further challenges. I am thinking of editing the entire thing–it needs A LOT of work to put it kindly. So the editing itself will be another journey.

Recently I’ve worked with and known a few people looking to self-publish their own manuscripts and I’m considering going through that process–not because I’m looking to be the next Jamie McGuire or Jessica Park (both self-published and had huge hits with their books that caught on like fire). What I’d like to do is understand the process so I’m of more help to my author clients.

Big Presentation Tomorrow on Social Media Strategies

I’m giving a presentation providing an overview of my social media strategy and challenges to my biggest client tomorrow!

Very exciting. I was pretty nervous about it but I sent my notes and slides over for review and got very positive feedback so I’m feeling good about it.

Basically, I’m giving them a rundown of what I do and why.

I truly believe your social media efforts should serve your core business–whatever that is–and should be thought of as a tool for exposure, customer service, and branding.

However, it’s important not to chase whatever is hot right now because chasing technology only makes sense if that is what your business is/does. For content creators, it can be challenging not to chase technology–if you get in early it can make a huge difference–but it can also eat resources and waste time.

Everything in balance, I always say (when it comes to anything but chocolate).

Quote of the Week

“Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed. I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book’s autograph.” –Kanye West

Quote of the Week

From my favorite review response:

“…you fail at criticism. … It’s OK to dislike a book. It’s NOT OK, however, to dislike a book because things didn’t happen the way you wanted them to and then come up with unfounded flaws to disguise the real reason of your dissatisfaction: entitlement.”

I don’t know who this person is but s/he’s dreamy. “You fail at criticism”! Incidentally? Is there anything better than reading Amazon reviews?

New Adult Fiction a Real Thing!

If you’ve been following my blog (you haven’t) I have been talking about New Adult Fiction and how the market for it was created by self-publishing for awhile now.

NYT headline: Self-Published Author Signs a Three-Book Deal, Heralding New Adult Fiction.

So weirdly excited by that. But also all the tidbits in the article make it clear to me that Cora Carmack doesn’t need traditional publishing–they need her. Hope she made a ridiculous amount of money from it.

Quote of the Week

“You see, Stan, as you get older, things that you used to like start looking and sounding like shit. And things that seemed shitty as a child don’t seem as shitty. With you, somehow, the wires have gotten crossed, and everything looks and sounds like shit to you. It’s a condition called Being a Cynical Asshole.” – Doctor to Stan on South Park

On Utilizing Social Media for Businesses

A client of mine sent me a new social media site and wondered what I thought of it, if it was a right fit for them. I’d never heard of it. That doesn’t mean it’s not valid or is not going to become wildly popular in the future. But the fact that I’ve never heard of it is part of the reason I told her that it probably wasn’t a great fit at this time.

Social media sites are starting up all the time, and while you may be lauded for your vision in jumping on the bandwagon early on–yes, my friend Tara knew Facebook was going to be a thing before I did–I think it’s better to see which ones are actually popular and utilized before investing your business in them.

I haven’t even created a Google Plus page for this particular client because I don’t think the site is utilized enough to be worth it at this time. For now the dominate social media platforms for this client’s use continues to be Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

That may change, of course, but the broad buy-in to those platforms is what makes them effective, so brands and even individuals will be reluctant to abandon their audiences (friends, followers) unless the audience abandons them first (which certainly could happen).

The effectiveness of social media is often hard to quantify, particularly when you’re not a retailer. Coupons, sales, etc. can be gauged much more easily than it can when your product is content. I think it’s important for content producers to have a strong social media presence–it drives traffic and builds brand awareness–but I don’t think it’s prudent to chase technology and new platforms so much as harness them to enrich your own business vision.

Ultimately, social media platforms are a tool. They shouldn’t drive your business (unless they are your business). They should enrich your relationship to your customers, which will end up driving your business. There’s no need to chase it or be an early adopter if there is no compelling evidence that it will enhance your bottom line.

Quote of the Week

“Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.” –Cory Booker


On the Docket

On the docket today: a 25-page brochure for an association conference–rush job for a regular client; e-newsletter for primary client–takes up a good chunk of my afternoon; and dig in on a friend’s pre-teen-targeted novel to give feedback/notes.

And I gotta find time to vote and stare at the TV for several hours tonight!

What I’m Working On

This weekend I’m editing a planning guide for a trade show. It includes a section on dining out in Orlando and it’s making me want to go there and eat.

It also reminds me of the time I went to Disney with my friend Doug and he wanted to eat a huge meal roughly every three hours.

I learn something from my projects almost every day. Today? I discovered that it’s Brussels Sprout. The Brussels part is plural! I’m embarrassed I didn’t know that.