Branding Redacted

Halloween Night Ghost Avatar

This has been on my mind, so you get a second post today. So, recently I’ve been concerned about my brand in the sense that a) I am not a diva b) I really do have a “hostess” personality and c) I have different concerns now than I did a few years ago.

I’ve been in eCommerce a long, long time and I can tell you that, as time passes, brands evolve. The shoulda/woulda/couldas are always going to be easier to point out when you look at something in hindsight or from a more critical viewpoint. This is even more true on the internet where you can watch someone go from unknown fanfic writer to literary star.

Now, the differences of course are varied because, as I’ve mentioned before, just because people follow you on Facebook or Twitter doesn’t mean they read your stories or novels. (I’ve since made it a point to read all the authors I follow because I felt guilty when I wasn’t doing that. Still ashamed to admit I’ve a ways to go to get caught up.) Controlling how someone emotionally connects with you is ridiculously challenging — this is why there are publicists out there who concentrate on helping those that are in that highly-visible/celebrity-type situation.

Most of us are NOT celebrities. Most of us? Can’t afford a publicist, personal trainer, stylist, blah, blah, blah. Quite a few of us either a) fly by the seat of our pants or b) deal with the time/knowledge we have to do our best — but it’s not going to be perfect. People who are a household name have limitations, too, in that they can’t screw up as much like the rest of us. Or, at least, not without having some side effect via trolls or what have you.

I worry about that sometimes, but I also believe it’s a non-issue because it’s not something that can be controlled — branding has to be managed and right now it does not make financial sense for me to spend all my time on publicity. I have to create content. Not to mention? I’m not just online for freelancing or writing, I’m also a person. And the more people online? Well, the more people there are. Not brands.

Which is why I feel branding freak-outs are really best left to marketers — myself included when I get to that point in my own career. Sure, I can be a partner with whomever ends up being my agent/publicist/etc., but I’d gladly welcome the opportunity to collaborate. Beats having to do everything yourself — especially when I’ve got so many stories to tell. Hee.

    Mood: Dragging
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: You’re kidding me, right?
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: So I went to the gym, and now I’m sore.
    In My Ears: A computer fan.
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Awakenings
    Movie Last Viewed: Spiderman the new one.
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “The Dig” The Lovecraft eZine Issue No. 19

On The Need To Assess Self-Promotional Time

You're An Idiot, Starscream

Originally, this was going to be a sarcastic, writer meta-fiction post, but I found that it was a little more snarky/mean than I wanted it to be — so instead a short cautionary word of caution on self-promotion. Namely, how can you tell if it’s worth it? If you’re doing too much? Not enough?

Self-promotion stops being effective when it cuts into your ability to earn money.

Note that I did not say “write” or “deliver projects on time.” I said “money” — and for a reason. Self-promotion has a cost benefit to it that only YOU can assess. If you think about writing as a career and not just as a hobby you pick up on every second Saturday of the month — the money you make is the reason why you write. Only you can assess what your satisfactory write/get paid balance is, but I can tell you that self-promotion can be a huge time sink — especially if you’re replacing the time you spend on writing with administrivia and publicity. That, my dear Readers, is what a publicist/agent/business manager does.

People work in full-time careers as publicists and marketers earning money to promote a person, company, or product. You, on the other hand, aren’t getting paid directly to self-promote.

Yes, I know that you could Tweet about your book and get a sale off of it. I’m saying “direct pay” as in a “salary” for marketing full-time here. This last statement was also meant as a reality check. The hours you’re devoting to this means you’re effectively working as your own unpaid publicity intern in addition to everything else you’re doing.

Self-promotion won’t replace words on a blank page.

While I feel the modern-era (e.g. slogs like me whose career hasn’t yet taken off) writer now has to wear more hats, self-promotion should complement your work and not supplant it. Remember, there’s really no limit on what you can do for self-promotion.

I feel (strongly so) that everything you’re doing must come back to planning and what you want to get out of your efforts. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to a bookstore to do a reading or sit online on Reddit waiting for people to ask you questions: whatever you do has to bolster your bottom line, so don’t be afraid to be analytic about it.

Because at the end of the day, you need something to promote: novella, short story, game, novel, etc. Otherwise, why sell yourself as a writer if you don’t plan on writing?

    Mood: Focused
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Max, Max Pepsi MAX to the MAX!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Ask me again when I’m not feeling guilty.
    In My Ears: My Whiny UK-ish Boy Band itunes playlist
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: Spiderman the new one.
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “The Dig” The Lovecraft eZine Issue No. 19

Gushing Over Muse

I’m listening to Muse’s new album The 2nd Law, and I am thoroughly satisfied. This is a collection of songs where I hear the influence of bands/artists like Queen, Noisia, and Michael Jackson — and each tune is different in its own right.

I’m wildly appreciative of any artist who takes risks, which is part of the reason why I really dig Muse and would kill sacrifice my left arm give up caffeine love to see them live. (Incidentally, here’s a Muse 2013 tour schedule.)

Linked below is the music video for a song titled The 2nd Law: Unsustainable. Honestly, though, there is a wide array of music styles in this collection that go beyond the boundaries of rock opera, so if you’re mildly curious I’d check out each song as its own single.

My introduction to Muse was by way of the song Sing for Absolution. This is a very important song in my fiction for reasons which may (or may not) be disclosed at some point. :-p

Also? YAY, SCIENCE!

    Mood: Hazy with a chance of sunbeam positivity.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: *tap, tap* Is this thing on?
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Not enough.
    In My Ears: Panic Station by Muse
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: Spiderman the new one.
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “The Dig” The Lovecraft eZine Issue No. 19

Gotta Love The Ancient Greeks

Galactic Starry Space

A few years ago, the Antikythera mechanism was discovered. Billed as an “ancient computer,” they’ve now learned that it was able to track the phases of the moon and the planetary cycles over two thousand years ago — and it did that with gears. (Hat tip to Mike Stackpole for the link on Twitter.) You can also visit The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project online, too.

Mind not blown yet? Consider that the ancient Greeks were more advanced than those who lived in Europe at the same time. This invention occurred centuries before clocks would be perfected on the European continent. (What’s more, the Greeks also employed mechanical engineering to the worship of their gods. They understood the magnetic properties of stone, how steam could move objects, etc. to bring Aphrodite and Ares together in their temple, for one example.)

Pretty stunning all around.

    Mood: Is it time to wake up yet?
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: There isn’t enough caffeine in the world.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Yoga. Ow.
    In My Ears: Tap, tappity, tap.
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: Spiderman the new one.
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “The Dig” The Lovecraft eZine Issue No. 19

New Short Story Release: The Dig at Lovecraft eZine

Lovecraft eZine Issue 19 November’s issue of The Lovecraft eZine features a sordid tale of madness and persistence penned by yours truly. Titled “The Dig,” this is a gender-neutral story about a person and something (or someone) known only as “It.”

You can read and listen to The Dig for free online.

If you have an eReader, there is an Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook version you can download straight to your device. That format is not free, however, and requires payment of the monetary sort.

I do hope you’ll drop by and experience this particular tale, for sometimes. . . Well, it’s not always a good idea to listen to the voices you hear inside your head — is it?

Happy Reading!

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