Tag Archives: diane holmes

10 Unique Christmas Gifts for Writers

by Diane Holmes, (a) Chief Alchemist of Pitch University, (b) lover of learning, and (c) writer of fiction, non-fiction, and the occasional manifesto.

Ho-Ho-Ho

This week, Catherine embraced the Christmas Spirit of Marketing (yes, Virginia, apparently holiday goodwill can be harnessed to help you market your writing!), and I, too, must get my ho-ho-ho on.

(Yeah, I’ll wait while you realize that didn’t sound right….  )

Today, I bring you 10 gifties for you and your writer friends.  May the delight of giving lead to milk, cookies, and a  Grinch-y ”heart that grows three sizes that day.” 

#10  Punctuation Saves Lives

I think we know this deserves a t-shirt.  Why, look at that!  A t-shirt perfect for gift giving.

punctuation saves lives

This shirt is yours for $15.99 over at Cafe Press.

#9  Going Straight to Hell

Some clients, some projects—they’re hell.  Just sayin’.  Why not get a passport to make your trip easier, something that doubles as a journal for these trying times? 

Yes?  Hells, yes!

Hell Passport

Travel instructions included.  Just $2.95 at The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild.  Wild site.  Fabulous gifts.

#8  Everything is Better if It Looks Like a Book

I sob at the practical nostalgia of BookBook, a case/wallet for your iPhone.

Book Book for Iphone

I found it at that gift-giving-extravaganza that is Amazon, just $59.95 for iPhone 4 & 4 S, same for the new Iphone 5.  Suddenly you’re not working, you’re spending quality time with books.  Totally different.

#7  Old Book Smell

Many of us fell in love with writing as a child, in a dark musty library (one of the 2,509grand structures built by the Carnegies, no doubt, where the motto “let there be light” made every reader feel heroic).

If you miss that good ol’ musty book smell, good news, you can buy it and successfully make the transition to electronic books smell intact.

Smell of Books

Smell of Books offer Classic Musty and New Book Smell for $9.99 each.

But be careful.

Please use in well ventilated area.

May cause dizziness and hallucinations. May cause itching and runny nose.

If symptoms persist for longer than eight weeks please consult your physician.

Not for use on “real” books.

Do not use while riding public transportation.

Discard empty container with hazardous waste.

Not for use as a room deodorizer.

Not for use on burning books.

Do not use on a Zune.

Keep away from the Kindle Fire!

(Plus, it’s not a real product. But the hilarity of this site alone should inspire you to pen your own faux site as a Christmas gift to those you love.  Or even customers and readers.  Everyone needs a good laugh for Christmas.)

#6  Paint a White Board on Your Wall

IdeaPaint is proof science makes the world a better place. Proof, I say!

IdeaPaint

It comes in clear, white, and black.  Enough to cover 50 sq. ft. is $225.00; 100 sq. ft. is on sale for $315.00 (for clear).

I found this goodness at an equally awesome site called Idearella: Creating Glass Slipper Ideas in a Wicked Stepsister World. Their 2010 list of Christmas Gifts is super-awesome-sauce.

TO BE CONTINUED.

clip_image001[4]Diane writes two columns for Freelance-Zone: (1) Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery and (2) Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Writing.

3 Massive Goals for Writers (Move Over NaNoWriMo): Part 3

by Diane Holmes, (a) Chief Alchemist of Pitch University, (b) lover of learning, and (c) writer of fiction, non-fiction, and the occasional manifesto.

Insanity of Epic Achievement

Writing a book in a month (NaNoWriMo, the World-Wide National Novel Writing Month of November) isn’t the only insanity of epic achievement in the house. I’m giving you 3 other massive goals that you can take on, mano a mano, if novel writing isn’t your thang.

So far, we talked about…

1. Create your own Writer’s Manifesto.

2. Put together your Leonardo de Vinci-style “mastery” resume.

And today, I’m going to bring the real pain.

3. Create a Big Hairy Audacious (Marketing) Goal.

First, a word about big, hairy audacious goals and what they mean. BHAGs is a term created by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 book entitled Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

This is not just a big goal or an important goal.

This goal is about being the visionary of something that doesn’t exist. It’s about being ambitious on a big playa scale and finding those long-term goals (not just a month long, you NaNo people!) that, as Jim says in an INC interview, “galvanize successful companies.”

Galvanize.

Not motivate. Not lead to success. Not “make logical sense.” But galvanize, as in skewer the hearts and mind of people and echo in their heads as they march off into battle for a war that will last years.

That’s the kind of goal we’re talking about.

As John Corcoran says of his BHAG, “I didn’t know how it would go – and I don’t know how it will end.” He’s saying he might fail.

I point this out because most of us don’t set goals we won’t meet. We’re taught not to fail.

Time to take a risk.

But BHAGs are about taking on the “worthwhile but potentially impossible” even though you might fail. Why? Uh, because it’s worthwhile. Because as we search for meaning in our lives and careers, those choice of “good enough” versus great is up to us.

A Handy Example of BHAG:

In this short interview, Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, talks about why he has an 100 year goal.

Now, let’s talk about you.

One of the columns I write here at Freelance-Zone is called Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Writing. And here’s what I know:

1. You hate marketing.

2. You’ll do as little as possible.

3. You’ll fumble around doing what other writers or business owners do.

4. You’ll never blow anyone away with your skill, your strategy, or your innovation.

So change that.

Set a BHAG.

Become a marketing superstar who masters the skills and invents a campaign so successful, so original, it’s copied for decades to come by other writers.

Now that’s worthwhile.

Find your galvanizing, marketing goal. Be a visionary. Inspire. Infuse your writing and your marketing with passion. Reach your readers in a way that makes them gasp with delight. Become known on an international scale.

And decide right now to create something magnificent and full of meaning to replace everything you dread about marketing.

And then do it.

clip_image001[4]Diane writes two columns for Freelance-Zone: (1) Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery and (2) Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Writing.

3 Massive Goals for Writers (Move Over NaNoWriMo): Part 2

by Diane Holmes, (a) Chief Alchemist of Pitch University, (b) lover of learning, and (c) writer of fiction, non-fiction, and the occasional manifesto.

Thousands of writers around the world are taking on National Novel Writing Month (November), where you write an entire novel in a month.

It’s one massive goal.  It’ll shake you up and jumpstart your creativity and your career. 

Well, I’ve got 3 other massive goals that could be just as epic. If NaNo isn’t your thang, check out one of these.

Last week I encouraged you to Create a Writer’s Manifesto.  This week? Your massive goal is to go head-to-head with Leonardo De Vinci, the Big Guy.

Leonardo-da-Vinci

.Josh Mings, over at SolidSmack, wrote about the awesomeness that is Leonardo De Vinci’s resume.  Apparently the Big Guy actually had to write up his skills and sell his ideas and abilities to his royal patrons.

In other words, he had to first get hired.

da-vinci-resume

So, here’s this week’s Big Massive Goal.  Write a resume as if you are the Leo De Vinci of your field.  Feature the skills, ideas, and abilities you WILL have once you reach that status.

Leo didn’t start off a

  • painter,
  • sculptor,
  • architect,
  • musician,
  • scientist,
  • mathematician,
  • engineer,
  • inventor,
  • anatomist,
  • geologist,
  • cartographer,
  • botanist, and
  • writer.

He had to gain those skills and master them first.  So project yourself into your own future. 

What does your resume look like AFTER you’ve mastered all the skills you need to be a living legend?

What are your skills, traits, abilities, ideas, influences, moments of genius, hidden accomplishments, strokes of brilliance, and shining moments?

What would your writing life look like if it were so “out there,” so stratospheric, that it was studied by students of writing for the next 500 years?

Write that.

And then make it true.

TO BE CONTINUED,

clip_image004Diane writes two alternating columns for Freelance-Zone:Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery and Marketing-Zone:Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Book.

3 Massive Goals for Writers (Move Over NaNoWriMo)

by Diane Holmes, (a) Chief Alchemist of Pitch University, (b) lover of learning, and (c) writer of fiction, non-fiction, and the occasional manifesto.

Sometimes you need a massive goal, the kind that requires heroics and gives your life meaning. The kind that kickstarts your efforts and launches you to victory with immediate results.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where you write a 50,000-word book in one month.

Nanowrimo2012

Polished?  Er, no. 

A messy first draft?  Hells yes.

In honor of this prime example of Massive Goal-ness, I bring you 3 equally massive goals you might not have considered… but you should!

1. Create a Writer’s Manifesto

Why?  It’s a rallying cry for your career, your passion, and your intent to succeed.

I first became aware of the awesomeness of modern manifestos when I read Chris Guillebeau’s Art of Non Conformity website

This, I thought, is what life can be like.  This is the power of words.

He’s added a second manifesto, and you can read them both here:

Want to read more about creating a manifesto?  Read these articles:

And check out Jeff Goin’s e-book: The Writers Manifesto.

TO BE CONTINUED,

clip_image004Diane writes two alternating columns for Freelance-Zone:Fiction-Zone: Leaps in Fiction Mastery and Marketing-Zone:Marketing-Zone: Marketing Yourself and Your Book.

7 Marketing Secrets for Writers: When the Message Takes a Lot of Words (part 3)

We freelance writers (including fiction writers) are largely in charge of our own marketing.  It’s up to us to answer all those “why hire us, why buy our work” questions.

This series explores winning strategies by using Free Our City as an example of awesome.

FOC Front Start Here:

  1. Be Bold.
  2. Use Structural Shorthand.
  3. Marry The Message With Skim-able Design.

FOC Page 2 FOC Page 3

4. Be Real.

No fake hype.

Nothing needs to be hyped as more wonderful (or more evil) than it actually is. We won’t believe you. We know better.  And we’ll hold it against you if you do this.

Seriously, is there such a thing as a “Universal Premier” for a TV show?  It’s a US show.  It’s probably just a “US Premier.” (And if it hasn’t aired yet, can it be “America’s Favorite Show This Season?”

On the other hand, being real will… Continue reading

7 Marketing Secrets for Writers: When the Message Takes a Lot of Words (part 2)

by Diane Holmes, (a) Chief Alchemist of Pitch University, (b) lover of learning, and (c) writer of fiction, non-fiction, and the occasional manifesto.

How Do You Get Your Reader or Client to Take Action?

You have a website, a brochure, a newsletter… but does it work?  Does it sell books?  Does it bring you clients?

Simply put, do your “longer” marketing materials make a difference?

“Free Our City” Does It Right

(And they have a much harder message than you do.)

Free Our City.  Non-profit.  Horrific topic (sex slavery).

foc banner

They need everyday people (who cringe at their topic) to take action.  And to do that, they have to get across a lot of information.  They must take a reader from 0 to 100 (not just 0 to 10).

Tough job.

Their mission?

As their back cover quote says: No, we are not satisfied and we will  not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water.” –Dr. Martin Luther King.

FOC BackThey use a 4-page, postcard-sized “booklet” to get this mission across and turn the reader into an activist, a bringer of justice.

This is marketing at its best, most useful, most hopeful.

It’s about the power of words to communicate.  And as freelance writers and fiction writers, you, too, need to harness this same power to communicate for your own business.

This isn’t about tag lines or jingles. This is about how to take a complicated message and share it with the world in a way that doesn’t disappear into the static.

If they can do it, so can you.

Last week, we looked at how they chose to (#1) own their message and( #2) use a tried and true structure to make it easy to digest.

There are 5 more things you can learn from Free Our City.

FOC Front

3. Marry The Message With Skim-able Design.

Continue reading