Category Archives: Marketing yourself

Add Value with Video

CelesteHeiterFZBioIn case you haven’t noticed…video is everywhere! With the abundance of affordable recording devices, from smartphones to digital cameras and mini-camcorders, there’s no end to the possibilities. And these days, nearly every OS includes basic video editing software.

If you want to go pro…there are dozens of options, including Adobe Creative Suite, which now includes Adobe Premiere, a full-scale digital video editing program with all the bells and whistles to enhance your raw footage and even create some amazing special effects. Best of all, the web is loaded with tutorials to help minimize the learning curve.

And when it comes to venues for your video creations, they run the gamut, from the free-for-all known as YouTube…to the news reels embedded in the lead stories of nearly every media website. So if you want to up the ante on your web-based freelance assignments, think video and start offering clips to sweeten the pot…and your paycheck!

Celeste Heiter is the author of Turn Your PC into a Lean Mean Freelancing Machine, the creator of the LoveBites Cookbook Series for Kindle Fire, and the author of Potty Pals , a potty-training book for children. She has also written ten books published by ThingsAsian Press; and spent eight years posting her recipes, food photographs, and film reviews on ChopstickCinema .

Visit her website, and her Amazon Author Page.

She was a pushy dame with an appetite for the limelight…

SpillaneAs a freelancer, I wear two hats: one as a writer, the other as a publication layout artist. The season for my publication layout work runs from August through February, which leaves about five months of unscheduled time to pursue my own projects. Some years I get assigned to write a book, others I go scrounging for piece-work. Last year, I had neither to fill the gap, so I set several of my own ideas in motion: a series of Kindle cookbooks, a line of spice blends, an apron design, a collection of short stories, and a self-published children’s book that had been shelved and forgotten for nearly twenty years.

In the spring and summer of 2012, I managed to lay the foundations, to begin production on all of these projects, and to design a website for each one. But that’s as far as I was able to progress before it was time for the publication layout season to begin again. And now that I’m finished with this year’s edition, I’m once again presented with another five months of unscheduled time to pick up where I left off last August.

The first thing I realized is that I now have to find the most effective way to market what I’ve created. And I know I’m not alone when I say that marketing has never been my forte. I’m sure there are lots of ‘creatives’ out there who would much rather spend their time writing a novel, creating a work of art, composing a song, or in my case…developing a new recipe and photographing the finished dish!

But market I must.

On my very first day of freelancing freedom, while pondering the possibilities for introducing my creations to the world, as if manna from heaven, I happened upon a quote from steamy, noir detective novelist Mickey Spillane, who said: “Wherever I go everybody knows me, but here’s why … I’m a merchandiser, I’m not just a writer. I stay in every avenue you can think of.”

His career spanned more than sixty years, from his early stories in DC Comics and the publication of his first novel, I, the Jury, in 1947, to his death in 2006. He appeared in every medium, from comic books, magazines, and pulp fiction, to movies and television. Several of his novels have been published posthumously, and he now has a presence on the Internet that yields more than 700,000 search results.

Mickey Spillane’s words lit a fuse that sparked fireworks in my imagination, and over the course of a single week, I have explored the promotion of my products via Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Vimeo, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay, Goodreads, Twitter, Google, and Groupon, not to mention the thousands of bloggers who write about the very things that I’ve created. Suddenly there aren’t enough hours in a day, a week, or even five months to pursue them all…but I’m gonna give it my best shot.

 

CelesteHeiterFZBioCeleste Heiter is the author of Turn Your PC into a Lean Mean Freelancing Machine, the creator of the LoveBites Cookbook Series for Kindle Fire, and the author of Potty Pals , a potty-training book for children. She has also written ten books published by ThingsAsian Press; and spent eight years posting her recipes, food photographs, and film reviews on ChopstickCinema .

Visit her website, and her Amazon Author Page.

 

Manifesting My Freelancing Destiny

creationYears ago, at a time when I was at a crossroads in my career, I came upon a quote by San Francisco Bay Area psychologist Geri Weitzman, PhD. She said, “Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be a part of.” I was so inspired by this jewel of wisdom that I taped it to my refrigerator door, where it stayed for several years as a reminder of the creative potential that lives within us all.

Having had only minimal success submitting stories and articles to a small, local publication for seniors, I first applied Dr. Weitzman’s approach when I decided to try my hand at publishing my own magazine. Home PC’s and the Internet had become household commodities, and as a result, the desktop publishing industry was burgeoning as well.

At that time, I had been recently diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, and having found no relief for my condition through practitioners of mainstream medicine, I began seeking alternative treatment with great success. So…using a desktop PC set up on my kitchen table, I created and published a little magazine called Pathways to Health, aimed at opening a dialogue between doctors of mainstream surgical and pharmaceutical medicine, and practitioners of alternative health care therapies such as acupuncture, massage, and reflexology. Pathways to Health was a modest success that lasted a little over two years, but never reaped a sustainable profit. Nevertheless, for me it was a crash course in the nuts and bolts of the publishing industry, and it opened doors to business relationships that still fuel my freelancing career to this day.

Fast-forward five years, to the day I sold my first travel tale, The Fox and the Foreigner, to ThingsAsian.com. Upon its publication, the site owner asked me to write a series of four articles about my experience teaching English in Japan; and it was those four articles that later became the core of my first published book, Ganbatte Means Go for It. I went on to write several more Japan-related books for ThingsAsian Press, but what I really wanted was to explore Asian culture through food and film.

So, when the site owner of ThingsAsian offered me my own weblog, there was no need to deliberate over what the theme would be: I created a daily blog called Chopstick Cinema; and for eight years, I had the pleasure of experimenting with hundreds of dishes from every cuisine throughout Asia, while enjoying the best that Asian cinema has to offer (with the added bonus that I have become a competent food photographer in the process).

With the current global economy, I am once again at a crossroads in my career. I’ve developed a skill set that qualifies me for an array of options in the publishing industry, but I’ve been freelancing for so long that I’m practically feral. So the idea of a punch-the-clock job is out of the question. Meanwhile, the food-blogging industry has reached critical mass, and print publishing is rapidly yielding to digital media. So once again, I find myself invoking the wisdom of Dr. Geri Weitzman: Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be a part of.

CelesteHeiterFZBioCeleste Heiter is the author of Turn Your PC into a Lean Mean Freelancing Machine, the creator of the LoveBites Cookbook Series for Kindle Fire, and the author of Potty Pals , a potty-training book for children. She has also written ten books published by ThingsAsian Press; and spent eight years posting her recipes, food photographs, and film reviews on ChopstickCinema .

Visit her website, and her Amazon Author Page.

5 Strategies to Up Your Marketing Expertise (FREE classes, webinars, eBooks, and other goodies)

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

Change Your Marketing Mindset for 2013

How?  So glad you asked.  Take a look at these expertise-building options.

#1:  Enchanting Your Prospects by Guy Kawasaki + 17 other FREE Marketing classes

Inbound Marketing University (IMU) is HubSpot’s free marketing training and certification program. IMU offers an online curriculum of 18 Internet marketing webinars taught by a faculty of top marketing experts.

#2: Derek Sivers: How to start a movement

People often feel assaulted by messages of selling.  But people join movements and become part of the message.  In 3 minutes, this TED Talk shows you how it’s done.

#3: The AMA’s Executive Guide to Social Media Success in 2012

You can choose this report plus any of the other 5 free ebooks/magazines by the American Marketing Association.

#4: Free Downloadable Webinar: The Power of Consumer to Consumer Recommendations

Womma (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) is a pretty awesome group. Their WOMMFest is coming up February 19th. And Womm-U is May 20-22, 2013. 

These day’s there’s nothing more powerful than word-of-mouth (also called… consumer-to-consumer recommendations!)

#5: Help-A-Reporter Out (HARO) email list

Help educate others!  This is a blast. Reporters need expert quotes. You could be that expert. Being seen as an expert is an rockin’ marketing strategy.

BONUS #1: CFC: Marketing Resources for Freelancers
BONUS #2: 101 Freelance Resources you can use today!

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.

34 Ways to Tell If Your Writing Goals for 2013 Have a Chance in Hell – 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

Failure is an option.

Trust me.

And who knew you could fail in so many spectacular ways?

Well, as your fearless, Freelance-Zone correspondent, I’ve tried them all in an effort to bring this travesty to light.  (Oh, noes, the brightness of “travesty light” is too much!  I must be carried offstage on soft bedding, surrounded by the cliché of cabana boys!  Quick, quick, boys!  Pamper me….)

Take the Failure Quiz:  #19 – #34

Do you answer YES to any of these? If so, your goal may not have a chance in hell.

(Just joining the fun?  #1 – #18 are HERE.)

#19 You think if you get behind today, you can make it up tomorrow.

Goals fail one day at a time. The first day of failure is your only chance to catch the problem and create a solution (which is never the word ‘tomorrow.’)

HINT #1:  The solution is to re-plan, not to work extra hours.  For you to stay on target you’ll already have to work extra hours, because everyone –even you—underestimates the time needed to achieve a goal.

HINT #2: Re-planning involves changing something!  The deliverables, the goal, the date, the people involved, the success criteria, or something else substantial.

And yet, what do people do?  Everyone decides the human resource (you) should just work harder and faster.  If that were a solution, you’d already be doing it and not be behind.

#20 You don’t track meaningful metrics.

Met-what? Units of meaning.  For example,

  • Hours spent writing are only useful and meaningful if you’re paid by the hour.
  • Words or pages per day are only meaningful metrics when combined with project milestones (what needs to be accomplished by the end of those words or pages).
  • Marketing effort and investment only makes sense compared to results (unless your goal was to spend a lot of time and money with no results).

So what does make sense?

  • Progress through a story by Act and Scene/Event.
  • Forward movement through a script based on the steps in the Hero’s Journey.
  • Effectiveness of hours spent writing. (3 hours writing =  completed 1 article, plus Act II, Scene 37)
  • Success of marketing efforts. Called 5 business to partner in January marketing event, got 1 yes. Time: 45 minutes.
#21 You don’t use your metrics as a reality check.

If it consistently takes you about 15 hours to write a scene, you might not like that fact, but it is all yours to own, for better or worse.

Soooooo tempting to want it to take only 2 hours.   Yes, my preciousssss.  Other people… they can do it in 2…..

Stop that.  Magical thinking is not your friend.

#22   Tangents R  Us.  You don’t know your critical path.

You’re focusing on the wrong things.  Doing the wrong things.

(Sometimes it’s even your focus/obsession on the planning down to the tiniest detail, color-coding it, and putting it all in Excel.)

Know your critical path.  Track the critical path.  Everything else is just pretty and shiny.

What is your critical path? It’s the core doing-ness that actually puts you one step closer to your goal, in a real way.

It’s not just a task that is linked to your topic or would be nice to do.

This is the task that if you don’t do it, the next piece of work can’t be done. Making it (ahem) critical.

Want a little test? It’s the work that (a) if you don’t do it today, the project can not move forward tomorrow, and (b) you won’t reach your goal ever.

It’s easy to spend time on tasks that aren’t on the critical path.  Frankly, when something matters less, it’s less stressful and easier to approach.

But it doesn’t really help no matter how you justify it, even if you need it eventually.  Eventually isn’t your critical path.  Eventually is la-la land. Continue reading

34 Ways to Tell If Your Writing Goals for 2013 Have a Chance in Hell

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

Are Your Goals Doomed to Fail?

As you know, I’m a fan of Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

But big hairy goals don’t mean much without thousands of small wins.

Bob Sutton, Work Matters

Yes, thousands of small wins. And that’s why most New Year’s goals are doomed to fail.  It takes a lot to pull them off.

How many goals (another word for projects) fail? A whopping 78% according to Ian Sample, science correspondent at The Guardian.

But you’re going to succeed, right?

Take the Failure Quiz

Do you answer YES to any of these?  If so, your goal may not have a chance in hell.

#1 Your goal is fuzzy-general and way too rah-rah.

(Unbridled optimism is the language of a thousand small failures.)

#2 This is a goal or project you don’t really want.

(You think you have a good reason for making this your goal. You don’t.  It’s like you brainwashed yourself to not notice this.

Perhaps it’s someone else’s goal or maybe just a would-be-nice goal.  Or you got caught up in the goal-setting moment, but the moment is pretty much over.)

#3 Your goal hinges on something or someone you have no control over.

(Get published by a New York publisher, anyone?  Unless you buy the company, you can’t actually control these folks.  You can control writing a fabulous book, however.)

#4 You’re not using any of your best, most unique skills, attributes, or gifts in this goal.

(There’s no chance for you to bring your A game or outshine your competition, because they are using their uniqueness every day. )

#5 Strategy and logistics are missing.

(What you have is a dream not a goal.  Dreams magically happen in a bubble over your head.  Goals require that stuff called doing, insight, management, and accountability.)

#6 You haven’t gathered all the needed tools (tangible, like a computer, and intangible, like time and focus).

(Again with the magic.) Continue reading