A Hearty Thanks

Fire She-Ra Avatar

Just wanted to pop in and say “Thank You!” today. I told you either late last year (or earlier this one) that my intent for this website was to focus on my publishing endeavors while highlighting some day-to-day aspects of my employment and life here in the Mad, Mad City.

My goal, while not I didn’t express this overtly, was to emphasize my work as a creator by spotlighting new publications and minimize the draw to my marketing or business-related content. I rearranged my website which allowed me to blog about life, the universe, and everything in a varied, haphazard fashion to share with you who I am as opposed to focusing on articles that educate or demand that you listen. You’ve responded to the change. Now, my publication announcements are the most-read on this site and you’ve also been following my blog more readily than you have in the past. For that? I say “THANK YOU!”

I know a few of you are disappointed that I’m not blogging about business-related activities very frequently anymore. I feel there’s enough free commentary and other ephemera here to give you a sample of what I’ve done (and the teeniest taste of what I can do). I’m always open to writing paid articles on a variety of non-fiction subject, but now that I have a repertoire of sample business-related articles/posts out in the wilds, I feel if anyone wants more hands-on consulting from me, you can always contact me and ask for my rates.

For those of you who joined me later this year, part of the reason why I used to blog about more nuts and bolts business-related topics (whether they be job-related or not) is because most writers cannot afford to live off of their works. I’m a strong believer in “pay it forward.” Remember, a lot of Creative Writing programs don’t talk about the fiscal realities of writing. I hope that what I’ve posted on the site will help you determine your own path in a sensible, pragmatic fashion (while still reaching for the stars!).

2013 is going to be a VERY exciting year in a lot of ways. I can’t wait! Yay!

    Mood: Inspired
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: If I said less than the day before, that would be a lie.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: The Gym.
    In My Ears: Winter Rhapsody by Nox Arcana
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Awakenings
    Movie Last Viewed: The Lord of the Rings trilogy
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “The Dig” The Lovecraft eZine Issue No. 19

The Gods Help Me, I’ve Joined Tumblr

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A few weeks ago, I joined Tumblr and also updated my LiveJournal account/migrated some over to Dreamwidth.

I’m not very happy with LiveJournal’s McSpam problems, for they make it difficult to interact with people and also know what to pay attention to. I’d like too figure out another place where you’d like to read my blog; after all, it’s not always easy remembering to visit somebody’s website or checking the RSS feed, such as it is. Facebook is becoming more challenging to use because it’s moving toward a pay-to-play environment and Twitter? Well, Twitter is great for bar conversations or passing somebody on the street. I rather enjoy blogging, you see, and I feel it’s a way to give you some content that’s not as ephemeral, provided my time constraints allow me to do that.

So, I’m trying Tumblr, which you can find at mlvwrites.tumblr.com. I’ve still got a touch of work to do on it, namely adding relevant pages and whatnot, but this will do for now. (I find the interface VERY gooey. . . HTML brain broken!) Right now, Tumblr’s the format that is winning out; I’m very new to this, so if you have a Tumblr join me in my insanity.

If there are other platforms you’re on, or would recommend, please comment below!

    Mood: Emerging from a fog.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: You mean, those exist? *red face*
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: The Airport Shuffle
    In My Ears: Around The World by Red Chili Peppers
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: MirrorMask
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press

100 Days Social Media Black-Out: A Post-Mortem

Although my experiment has ended, the experience continues to ripple through my work habits, personal life and discussions with other authors. If you’re not familiar with the experiment, be sure to peer into my 100 Days: Social Media Black-Out Archives.

Several authors have come forward and told me that they were having the discussion about what social media was worth to them. A few of them, who are highly-visible, talked about the negative side effects of being too accessible, too.

Why am I telling you this? Because these conversations brought up a few, interesting points. The accessibility issue may be causing normally “sane” authors to act insecure with knee-jerk reactions or worse…sneaking doubts into the work itself. The sheer bombardment of information — both positive and negative — can be overwhelming, which is what happened when I wrote on the subject of insecurity and writing. Add opinions and snarky comments on top of that? It’s clear to me that information overload has its effects.

When I first heard the idea that being connected all the time allowed feelings of insecurity to flourish, it made all kinds of sense to me. I could even see how that played into my misplaced belief that I needed to be online for my audience, which was taking the focus off of my work. Being hyper-connected doesn’t work for me, so I’ve since figured out a better way to manage my time to focus on what’s important.

Since I first talked about my experiment, a few other authors have hopped offline to see how the lack of connection would affect them, too. Check out The Juggling Writer for Christopher Gronlund’s experiences. The kick-off post is entitled: The 50 Day Social Media Break.

That’s the key, isn’t it? When it comes down to it: there are no hard and fast rules about social media. You have to engage on a level you’re comfortable with. Community pressure, more so than what you’re doing right or wrong, is what drives social media gurus, experts and articles. The tools themselves aren’t all that important, except for the level of interaction. It’s your role within those interactions that creates a flurry of opinions and would-be facts.

Unfortunately, I feel this is something businesses, publishers and other professionals are still learning. The dollar signs people see when they talk about social media are starting to fade, as older, more relevant and direct forms of online marketing come back into style. The attitude is shifting from: Must be online twenty-four seven to monitor branding. To: Who cares if people are talking about your business? Guess what? People don’t necessarily want you listening. Sometimes? They just want to talk without fear that someone else is snooping in.

‘Course, the irony of that is that social media tools are still public, which is something even users haven’t quite figured out yet.

Another thing I feel a lot of us are missing, is that there is no such thing as one, grand online community anymore. Think “micro-communities” and “suburbs.” No doubt, one online community differs from one author to the next. An audience may be perfectly fine with the occasional “buy my book.” Another? May be pissed off the author even brought it up. This, moreso than any Tweet or message update, is why the people that are hyper-connected (myself included at one time) talk about the rules in an authoritative fashion. Some of those observations could be pulled out on a higher level because there are some good insights to be gleaned from them. Some of those comments are complete b.s., like when people say “You have to…” When that happens, replace the “you” with “I have to…” and you’ll better understand where that speaker is coming from.

Social media is a sociologist’s dream, really, because this is an example of peer pressure at its best and worst. We’re talking about tribalism here, not online marketing, which deeply affects creative individuals in different ways. (See: Tribes and Our Role as Writer for my take on the subject.)

I, for one, am happy with the rules I’ve established for myself, because I’m no longer a slave to the tools. That, to me, is more important than the “right” or “wrong” way to Tweet. To do that, I had to remove myself from the tools completely in order to figure out my “role” in the tribe and what I’m comfortable with. That may not be the case for you, but for me that’s part of what has been so incredibly fascinating about watching social media to begin with. Hmmm… Though I’m beginning to think my childhood aspirations of becoming Indiana Jones-esque are really shining through.

🙂

[Recommended] List Jobs to Help Ex-Borders Employees

With the demise of Borders, there are thousands of people out of work. Colleen Lindsay, who works for the Penguin Group and is also the community manager for Book Country, Tweeted about a site that’ll offer ex-Borders employees opportunities in their area. (You’ll have to forgive me, I’m not certain if she created the site with the other contributor, Chris Kubica, or not.) You can, however, read: It Takes a Village to Support Out-of-Work Booksellers.

Instructions are on the Help Ex-Borders Employees website.

[My Guest Post] More Insight on Social Media Blackout at SFWA.org

Wanted to pop in today to mention that, for my July article at SFWA.org, I opted to provide the results of my 100 day social media blackout and give readers additional insights I didn’t write about here.

Remember, too, that online marketing and e-commerce both have high learning curves. What you see/read online is often the free version of advice marketers provide to open the door to paying clients. The web changes often and dramatically — social media moreso. One, little change and that entire community you’ve built on Facebook could disappear. This? This is yet another reason why your website is more important than any other tool in your promotional arsenal. — SOURCE: The Results of My 100 Day Social Media Blackout at SFWA.org

I feel that this experiment achieved my goal of opening up the door “to” talk about these sorts of things and understand its value. Since I have a professional background in online marketing, I knew what to look for, which definitely helped shape my insights.

With the debut of new social media tools like Google+, an author’s relationship with social media will not only evolve, but shift and fracture depending upon how many audiences — personal and professional — we have. In terms of priority, though, while I like the tools and missed a few of my online pen pals, I know what benefit it has in terms of reaching new readers.

After all, the best way “of” reaching new readers is to write another story… 🙂

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