Month: July 2014

Twitter

So tweeting.

Honestly, I never thought it was particularly valuable. The internet is inundated with witty, clever little one liners and I never really thought attempting to compete with that would help my career. But my friend Ann told me something rather interesting – Twitter doesn’t work well to connect to fans in every industry, but that’s not precisely what its designed for – what its great at is networking Within your field.

So…all those people I just met at my conference – I could follow them on Twitter and see what events they’re going to and what they’re doing within my field? Now, that I can understand.

So far, I’ve liked it quite well. As I am mostly following authors, publishers, promoters, and editors, I go on twitter and get a long list of interesting links to articles. The articles are mostly about how to promote better, how to edit better, how to use twitter better, and so forth. In other words, a long list of suggestions on where to find the information that I need. Now that is very, very nice. And I’ll retweet the ones I like, and so add to the cacophony. 

So, long story short – I have a twitter page now. Follow me @GwendolynTweets.

RWA Conference

The RWA Conference just ended and my information is all in.

Conference Registration: $435
Flights To/From: $500
Snacks in Airport: $21.13
Meals During Conference: 31.52

Total: 987.65

Worth it? Totally, absolutely worth it.

I’d been searching for months for information on Traditional vs. Self Publishing options, and I got it all laid out for me over the course of an hour, and bonus: I made a new friend!

I’d been annoying all my friends with my longwinded diatribes on the direction of book sales, and now I met a bunch of people who actually cared! (Or pretended they did with significantly more skill) Who did fancy things like give me their cards so that we can keep in touch. So, project for today: send a bunch of emails out to some spectacular women! Yes, please.

I signed up to pitch to an agent and they requested a partial manuscript, so that’s Awesome and clearly career advancement whether or not it works out.

And I got some seriously useful advice. Anecdotal do’s and don’ts for pitching, warnings and recommendations about publishers, and some fabulous conversations about how the heck to do what I’m trying to do.

The bonus? A giant kick in the ass to write more, network more, and work harder. I couldn’t ask for a more inspiring group of people!

Sales Pitch

So I spent yesterday practicing my pitch with my glorious saleswoman friend Ann, and I learned something new:

Practice with people.

Oh lord, but I had the whole thing all planned out and smooth and perfect and then when I tried to talk to her I could barely even tell her my name I was so nervous. So, hopefully, with all my practice behind me, I’ll arrive at the conference able to speak.

Or at least blubber intelligibly, which would be better than now.

Business Cards

Today I’m working on putting my business cards together. It’s taking way more time than I thought it would.

Why: I decided I needed to attend a conference in order to learn more about how to do what I’m trying to do, and so I looked up advice on networking and career building. Almost every single post about conference going was about how to make connections, but it seems to me that an exchange is only really successful if the person actually has a way to connect with you again. Hence the invention of business cards in the first place (or ‘calling’ or ‘trade’ cards, as they were known in the 17th century). So, clearly, I need them. 

How: Well.. I googled this and my screen was instantly filled with advertisements from suppliers. So, that part is simple. Except I clearly left this project too late because I need stuff to put On the business cards. So, a website and a phone number and some reason for them to actually care to follow up with me. Well, the website would take way too long, but I can buy the domain and make a little Coming Soon page, so that’s done but not particularly useful or professional. The phone number will have to be my cellphone (d’oh!) and now we get down to the ‘reason to follow up with me’. Something online that I have that will interest them? That’s the time consuming complication.  

My idea: 

I don’t know how to make a business connection wherein I cannot provide anything to anyone. People are amazingly generous, and I’m sure I’ll find people who are willing to help me, but I’d love to have something to offer them as well. That’d probably be my fanfiction; not the fiction itself but my ideas on how to use it for marketing. I’ll post about those soon, so I can connect people to this blog. So that’s cool.  

The Complication:

 I’m concerned that I might be shooting myself in the foot with my fanfiction marketing idea. I’m not concerned that it’s illegal – if you use original works within the public domain you don’t even have to worry – but that it’s viewed quite negatively in the professional writing world. I wouldn’t know; I’ve never been in the professional writing world before. But I could understand how that connotation would exist – at base fanfiction is assuming a different author’s beloved characters/world/plotlines and using them without permission. That’s why I’ve only ever worked within fandoms that have been expressly supported by their creators, like JK Rowling. George R. R. Martin has expressed his views against fanfiction and so I’ll never work within his world. I could understand why authors would be against fanfiction in general, and so I worry that putting my fanfiction name on my business cards will be viewed quite negatively. 

So, a choice: do I risk being gauche in order to have something to offer or do I go to a conference with nothing but contact information on my business cards and nothing to offer? Neither is a particularly awesome position to be in but which is worse?

I found out something neat – as long as you’re not picky about style, you can get business cards printed to arrive with next-day shipping. So, at least I can procrastinate on this for the rest of time. Well, until the 20th.