Category Archives: Marketing yourself

Avoiding Negative Responses To Your Book Pitch: Part 2

Today we continue our seven-part series on pitching your book with Diane Holmes, where she helps talk you through some of the potential pitfalls you may encounter when trying to bring your work to print.

Part 2 is:

#2 “Son, I think you brought a knife to a gun fight.”

Translation: “There’s a basic understanding about what we’re going to do today, but  you didn’t get the gunfighter’s memo.  Whew, kinda embarrassing.  Next time you need to bring the big (mental) guns and put away that butter knife.”

Reality: When agents and editors take pitches, they’re expecting to meet at a peer level.  They’re the industry pro; you’re the writing pro.  This means you’ve done your homework on book writing, pitching, and how this whole publishing industry-thing works.

When you haven’t become an expert on your part of the equation or don’t have a solid idea about what the other side does, it shows.

Of course, even when you’ve done this, you’re likely to feel nervous during a pitch.   That’s actually not a problem.  But not taking the time to thoroughly understand your genre, publishers’ needs, how agents work, what goes into a pitch….  That’s on you. Continue reading Avoiding Negative Responses To Your Book Pitch: Part 2

Avoiding Negative Responses To Your Book Pitch: Part 1

I’m excited to announce that we are going to have a seven-part series here on about how to pitch your book. Diane Holmes, founder of Pitch University, has signed on to share some great tips on avoiding the negative response to your book pitch. Today we have a short intro to what she will be sharing with us, along with the first tip–enjoy!    – Catherine

Listen up.  I’m gonna tell you How the Cows Ate the Cabbage….

As founder of Pitch University (and Texan, which explains colorful expressions), my goal is to help writers (and I am including myself in this!) become excellent at answering the hardest question people ask us: “What’s your book about?”

“Heck, if we could sum it up,” we writers want to snap, “we would’ve written a Post-It Note, not a book!”   (We’re just witty that way.)

What we don’t say is that, after we’ve written hundreds of pages, and poured our heart and soul into the complexities of our stories and topics, there simply are no easy answers.

Yet, without the ability to answer this basic question, we can’t sell our books.

This is called pitching our books.  And it’s the same skill we use when we answer the question for anyone, including agents, editors, readers, friends, family, the media, librarians, booksellers, truly anyone at all.

So it’s important to our careers.  Knowing this, we feel the stress of getting it right.   Frankly, most writers don’t, and they really don’t know what went wrong.

When you look closely, there are really two hurdles when pitching:  ourselves and others (let’s call them agents and editors).  Today, I’m taking a humorous look at the firsts of 7 possible responses that agents and editors can give us when our pitching misses the mark.  There are other tell-tale signs your pitch isn’t working, but understanding these 7 will give you a leg up on your next pitch..

Read on to see if you recognize yourself. Continue reading Avoiding Negative Responses To Your Book Pitch: Part 1

Increase response rates by customizing your query

By Jake Poinier

Coming into the final week of gathering participants for the annual Freelance Forecast, I emailed a few creative agencies specializing in freelancers to see if they’d be willing to send the surveys to clients and/or freelancers. In all honesty, the response was underwhelming. But there was one person (from Hire-Profile in Atlanta) who responded to my query brimming with enthusiasm about sharing the survey and the results within her network.

As we spoke on the phone and traded business histories, I asked her what had made her call me back. Her answer was instructive: Basically, she gets a lot of emails from people soliciting contact names and such, but she could tell that I’d put time into reading her website and making my email personal.

It was a reminder, above all, that you can’t let expedience get in the way of tailoring your message if you have a specific objective. In my case, I wasn’t trying to solicit a freelance job from her, but rather trying to get her to take some time to spread my survey around. As you can imagine, it’s even more critical if you’re actually trying to convince someone that you’re worthy of being hired and paid to do something.

Bottom line, customizing a query isn’t just about changing the name and publication or business category. It takes an investment in understanding what the prospect values — not just what you want to tell them. There’s a place in every freelancer’s arsenal for bigger, broadcast email campaigns, but you need to know when the surgical strike is the correct approach. It requires effort to have your message stand out…and if you don’t, you might be in danger of “Garbage out, garbage in.”

Contributing blogger Jake Poinier is the owner of Boomvang Creative Group, and blogs regularly at his Dr. Freelance blog.

Google Me, Baby: Managing Your Online Identity

By Amanda Smyth Connor1260785_laptop_work

Last week, I wrote a blog post about a gentleman from a popular television show. Within one hour of my making the post live, he emailed me directly to thank me for my kind compliment of his abilities.

Blew. My. Mind.

First of all, my blog has only been live for a few months and doesn’t exactly have the huge number of page views yet (it will get there. I have hope and some decent SEO skills.) But I am fully aware of my humble blog stats.

Secondly, I can only now refer to him as “He Who Shall Not Be Named” because he obviously does a fantastic job of tracking his online identity. My mention of his name online brought his attention to my blog post immediately. That’s commendable.

What are you doing to track your online identity? Online identity management, or brand management, is one area that most businesses, large or small, are willing to spend millions of dollars on each year. I may not have millions of dollars to spend on my own brand management, but all I need is a little time and a good search engine.

My name is Amanda Connor and once a week, I Google myself. There. I said it. I Google my name and close variations. I read the Yelp reviews regarding my business. I update my LinkedIn connections and I have a VERY strict filter up on my Facebook account. I read up on all of my Twitter followers and I check the status of all old press releases that contain my name from every former company I’ve worked for. I don’t like surprises and I like to know every detail of my life and my business that is available online.

Whether you do it to manage your private life, or you do it to manage your business or professional presence, there is no excuse for not being diligent in managing your online identity. Even if you don’t know what’s online, it is likely that your potential employers and clients do.

Amanda Smyth Connor is a SEMPO-certified SEO specialist, has managed online communities and nationwide marketing campaigns for several start-up and  Fortune 500 companies, and has been an editor for more years than she can remember. She also runs her own wedding planning company, Hummingbird Bridal and Events, throughout the northeast.

My Top Five Freelance Resources

by Joe Wallace

Top Five Freelance ResourcesIn my daily freelance work, I write on a variety of topics–everything from finance to music. To get all this done, I need a range of information, images, and research material, and I thought I’d share my top five resources here.

It’s not that I think these specific resources will help all freelancers, far from it, but I am hoping the sheer diversity of them will inspire other to share their own resources and consider looking in places they had not thought of using in their daily work before. I’ve learned that the most unlikely sources can often be of great value.

That’s why Portland, Oregon PR agency North is in my top five list. The insights about digital culture are thought-provoking and inform my work in social media for my clients. I don’t get a ton of writing ideas from reading this site, but it does inform how I market those ideas.

For royalty-free digital images, I’m a huge fan of Stock Xchng, which is where the image you see in my post today comes from. I use them every day.

HootSuite is a major time-saver for me. I run social media accounts for six different websites, plus posts on my personal accounts about my auctions on eBay and my Etsy store, so Hootsuite is a real lifesaver for me. I manage all my social media via HootSuite, and it sure beats running back and forth between accounts, with one big exception; Continue reading My Top Five Freelance Resources

Battle of the Freelance Advice Videos

By Joe Wallace

Normally, I’m the one bringing the snark or praise on a particular issue related to freelancing. But I think YOUR feedback is an important part of staying on top of the issues, how relevant they are, and whether a particular freelance topic is worth pursuing, discussing, etc. And I am definitely interested in your opinions on today’s topic–freelance advice videos.

I did some searching to see if there’s anything of actual use to freelancers on video in terms of advice or practical information. Here are a few things I found–you can click on them and watch right here.

My question is–which video do you think has the most credibility, and why? Is video a good way to communicate freelance advice? How do the creators of these vids succeed or fail? They are all short, and have different aesthetics and production values.

What do you think of their work?

Video one:

Compare the efforts of that video with THIS one…what do you think?

Here’s our third and final example:

Continue reading Battle of the Freelance Advice Videos