Tag Archives: self-promotion

When In Doubt, Promote Yourself

when in doubt promote yourselfby Joe Wallace

I’m not a big believer in writer’s block. I personally have found that I can always write about SOMETHING…maybe I’m just a loudmouth. But there are times when you feel at a loose end, like you don’t really know what to do next. You’re paralyzed by indecision, worry or some other trouble nagging at you. You know you need to do SOMETHING. Send a query, do a follow up, look for some new ways to earn money from your writing…but you can’t shake that feeling of not being able to start.

Sound familiar?

When I get into that sort of rut, I fall back on one of my oldest rules. “When in doubt, promote yourself.”

That could be as simple as posting a comment on someone else’s blog with a link back to your own (in a non-spammy way, naturally) or as elaborate as dropping a fellow blogger a line to ask about doing a guest blog post. My motivation for this is to spend as much time moving forward as possible, and no time standing still even in times of doubt, worry or indecision.

If you get stuck, just drop what you’re trying to do for a bit and work on some shameless self-promotion. You can always think of a new way to push your personal brand a bit further out into the marketplace, even if it’s just a quick update and tweak of your resume page or an e-mail to a potential client to say “I’m here.”

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Freelancers Using YouTube

Usually when I find resources like this, I comment on them and discuss their pros and cons. In this case, I am more curious about the larger impression it makes. How does the community react to this kind of cross-pollenization? I know how it strikes ME, but I am dying of curiosity to know what others are thinking when they see this come across their radar. I discovered this clip at YouTube–it was posted in January 2008 and has only been seen 200-ish times. I’d love to know what kind of feedback the author of this clip has gotten or if the clip had driven significant traffic to the site mentioned. Freelancers, if you ran a business like this, do you think this clip best represents what is on offer? Is this the best use of the resources available? Does this clip do the job and make you want to check out the website? What would you do differently? I invite you to discuss:

The “Just Say No” Thread Continues…

mar-dugan-ganesh1.jpgMark Dugas wrote an interesting post at FreelanceSwitch.com on saying no to low-paying freelance work you don’t feel is worthy of your skill and experience. This makes me think of a post I recently raved about at WritingHermit which touches on the same notion.

I had some painful choices to make in 2007, and the agony of cutting loose dependable, but ultimately time-wasting gigs is very real. You wind up accumulating some serious time-waster projects if you aren’t careful. My dilemma was that I was earning just barely enough to justify the work, but the time investment was actually costing me money. The strange thing about freelancing–at least in my world–is that it usually pays off when you go out on a limb, treat yourself right and say no to money that isn’t worth the effort. I found much better projects to replace the ones I ditched, and fairly quickly!

You’re probably wondering what the relevance of the above photo is–it’s a still from Mark Dugas’s documentary, Ganesh. Something I’d be interested in seeing as I’ve always loved the Ganesh imagery. Being a fellow documentary filmmaker doesn’t hurt either, so in the spirit of cross promotion, please take a second to have a look at Dugas’s site. Doc films don’t get enough love at film festivals in my opinion–though it’s been several years since I submitted one, so maybe the tide has changed. But I digress…

Stuntdubl Speaks Up On LinkBait

Internet marketing consultant Todd Malicoat, better known in the SEO community as Stuntdubl, had quite a lot to say about the ins and outs of linkbait in a recent interview at VKI Studios. Stuntdubl is a site dedicated to helping SEO writers and marketers find jobs, learn the trade and discover a few secrets about search engine optimization. I find this site quite useful for writers–even fiction and trade mag writers who have little to do with SEO on a daily basis.

What? You don’t know what SEO or “linkbait” is and you’re pissed off that I didn’t spell it out for you? Shame on you, writer. You need to know how your career can be affected by Google, search engine optimization, and building traffic through linkbait. A writing blog or resume site needs to be optimized with these things in mind or risk being left in the dust by more savvy writers.

Any technique you can learn as a writer to increase traffic to your own site is an important tool of your trade. If you aren’t a restless self-promoter, you are behind your game. For every one of us who doesn’t bother to seek the cutting edge for their resume sites, blogs and other promotional tools, there are five writers who ARE hip to these things and they will beat you to the next gig. No writer should ever be caught saying “I don’t understand the Internet.”

I know I’ve got much to catch up on with regard to SEO, linkbait and other tools–Todd Malicoat’s blog is one way I try to keep up with the times. I just wish I’d found this one sooner.

Listen to the interview here.

Secrets of a Freelance Writer by Robert Bly

secrets-of-a-freelance-writer-book.jpgIn the early days of my career I cut my teeth reading Robert Bly’s books on freelance writing, and while I daresay that most of the people who read this great book will NOT make $100,000 a year, they CAN earn more than enough to keep the beer and chicken wings flowing freely thank you very much.

For my money, the real value for books like these is as much about showing you that other people can and do earn a living doing nothing but freelancing as it is giving you the advice on queries, research, taxes and all the other stuff. One day somebody will write the definitive book on how to avoid writing, blow off deadlines and ignore your creditors, and we can all learn some lessons in reverse. For now, I highly suggest books like Bly’s, but please take that dollar amount with a grain of salt until you can look back on your career from the time you first cracked this book open and laugh about whether that figure applies to you or not.

Maybe I am a bit biased against dollar amounts on the cover–if only because I keep finding used books with titles like “How to earn $25,000 a Year as a Photographer”. HAH! How dated is THAT one? Why not just call it “How To Take Pictures While Starving.”

Buy for $11.56 

Five Ways To Use MySpace to Advance Your Writing

Bloggers use social networking sites like MySpace for self-promotion all the time. But how can a struggling freelance writer take advantage of the same type of strategies bloggers use? It’s easy. Here’s the breakdown in five easy steps:

1.  Cultivate lots of “friends”. The law of averages says the more MySpace friends you have, the higher the response rate will be when you post a link to your material or send a bulletin saying “Hey, look at this!” The extra eyeballs on your work means the greater likelihood that your article will get comments and feedback. The more activity on a given article, the better you look in the eyes of an editor who has to decide whether to use you again.

 2. Add “targeted” friends. Got somebody else in the biz you want to make friends with? Maybe an editor or a publication you want to get published has a MySpace site. Add them as friends and start up a casual “relationship” with them by sending the occasional message or posting a nice comment. This is standard MySpace behavior, but when it comes time to strike up a conversation with someone at that publication you won’t be such an unknown quantity at a medium-sized or smaller operation. The key here is to be a semi-regular MySpacer, posting and commenting without mentioning your own work–until you need to.

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