Archive for September 2011
To Write or To Promote….That is The New Question!
By Liz Crowe
I don’t know about you but picking books to read these days is overwhelming. As writers we are lucky to be in groups of fellow authors who are all doing their Promoting Thing and telling us about their upcoming releases and/or backlists and/or amazing reviews and/or readers choice awards. I’m just as guilty.
What it does for me is force me to create a To Be Read list that grows daily.
It also reminds me what a huge job it is to promote oneself in a crowded market.
There are a lot of Us Out Here.
I’ve been privy to several discussions amongst writers about how much the promo side of the job takes away from actual writing. One of the BEST bits of advice I heard was from a woman who is fairly new to the scene, like myself, but is extraordinarily prolific and professional. “Writing and getting a new book published is the best promo you can possibly do!”
Yes, that is true But….
So what to do? I try to draw a line down the middle of my day. One side is for beer. Since I own a microbrewery and am responsible for promoting all aspects of it plus sales I gotta give that some time. Then, I take the other half of my day and divide IT in half: writing/editing on one side depending on where I am in the process (heavy on editing right now so I’m getting a little antsy to write something new) and promotions/networking on the other.
I post. I review. I guest post. I host guests. I Six Sentence Sunday myself into a frenzy. I comment. I facebook and try not to wince at all the whining going on there (and then try not to whine there). I tweet. Then I do some more. Oh and ADVICE FOR BLOGGING NEWBS: Pick one day where in you write 3-4 posts (or get a few fellow writers to write guest spots for you) and pre –post them to release through the week. Then your “blogging” is done.
But beware of over-commitment…it can ruin you!
But then I stop. That’s the key. Sort of like “portion control dieting”. It’s hard. But you gotta call a halt to it at some point, usually for me it’s around midnight.
Then I get up and start over.
I want to thank Breathless Press, Justyn, Honoria, Clarissa, Victoria, and Dara for allowing me to bring The Brewing Passion series to light. We’ve had some fun with it, some fights over it, and all hope it will sell well based on all the work that’s gone into it.
Congrats on the new website!
What are you wearing?
As you do your daily required 1.5-5 hours of blog trolling, commenting and promotion….
No, I’m not a creepy Anthony Weiner style sexter.
I really wanna know.
If you are a proper, loyal follower of my weekly expelitive-filled and sometimes over-the-top Friday rants you know about my life. I sell beer that a guy brews that I pay in a building I rented and renovated. I hang out in my Tap Room (like I did last night for a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitle too long hence the lateness of this post) talking, telling, schmoozing, washing up when the bar staff gets in the weeds, you get the idea. I also write. And edit.
For each of these activities there is a dress code. While selling I wear the Killer Suit and shoes, make up, actually do something other than pull it back with my hair and might swipe lipstick across my lips. In the bar I always wear something with my company’s name on it, and many times wear my very own caricature tee shirt (available for YOU for just $15!)
But the mornings where I’m blog trolling, commenting, writing posts as a way to avoid editing (ducks as Editor chucks a full coffee cup at my virtual head) are the best. Flannel jammie pants (it’s cold and rainy here), huge sweatshirt that I swiped from the Hubsters suitcase so it smells like him (I’m hopelessly romantic or just lazy with laundry one or the other) and my University of Louisville fuzzy slippers.
I bring this up because there has been a positive furor in the craft beer world over “dress code.” In this biz we are known as casually cool. Brewers dress appropriately for their daily work that includes rubber boots so you don’t slip on the constantly wet brew room floor. Tap Room staff wear properly branded company tees. And I dress up. Garrett Oliver, one of the founders of Brooklyn Brewing Co. and one of the snazziest dressers I know has slapped the industry on the wrist by saying no one will take us seriously unless we dress the part. Well, this is a biz made up of anarchists, college drop outs and people generally giving the finger to the establishment with their “F$#@ you I will brew beer for a living”. The thing is many of them are Big Time now. And must give sales presentations, “how I did it” seminars and what not and are being forced out of their comfy clothes into suits, ties and other things that get me hot.
What’s your dress code today?
Back to the Tap Room: Pre order a copy today! A ground breaking “choose your romance” novel full of fun, sexy romps, angst, hot guys, major life choices, beer and a Choice–that the reader gets to make.
Short for : WeB Log.
Long for: the center of the social-media universe. At least according to Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin who created the BlogWorld & New Media Expo. A “twice-annual must-attend event for people seeking to navigate that world.”
These guys claim:
The blog is the hub and all those other things–Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, Flickr, You Tube–are spokes that lead back to the center. Do you want your company (read: publishing career) to be at the center of the conversation, or do you want to be out in the rest of the galaxy?
If you want to be a leader, you still need a blog. You want anyone to pay attention to you, you need to post on it.
Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media says: ”You are not too old to learn social media; you’re just too lazy.”
Social media is a job. Promotion is part of your job. It can suck or it can be a way for you to learn how to manipulate the tools at your disposal.
If I see one more “blog post” notification on my many writer loops and groups that says: ”Oh I don’t know what to say so I’m rambling” I WILL scream. Not that you shouldn’t ramble (it’s what I do here at this very spot every F$#@ing Friday after all) but DON’T CALL IT THAT. Give it a name/ some weight/ some perceived importance to your readers and followers. Read magazines like “Inc.” or “Fast Company” to get smart about how to use social media AND how to meta-communicate like the hot shot communicator that you are.
Oh, and edit it a little before you hit “publish.” Please?
Blogging CAN be the bane of your writerly existence OR it can be an excuse to learn, research and find ways to show how much you’ve found, researched or communicated.
I started a “Across the Beer Bar” interview series on www.brewingpassion.com this week. It allows me to use my twin passions for craft beer and writing to chat about both with other editors, publishers and writers. What else are YOU passionate about? Cooking? Knitting? Gardening? Shopping? Sports? Geopolitical Economics? Your Golden Doodle? WHATEVER–use it, find ways to be creative.
And promote your posts. (remember “spokes to the center?”)
Finally: When you write a “post” it is THAT. A “post.” The “blog” is the page upon which the “post” resides. I.e. “I must write a post for my blog today.” NOT “I must blog.” This is my personal preference of course because while THIS (breathlessblog.org) is NOT “MY BLOG” it is “MY POST”. Semantics. Meta communications. It’s a Friday.
That’s all the damn advice you’re getting from me today. I manage posting on 5 different blogs, have nearly 55k eyeballs on one, nearly 25k on another. I make a point to post 3-4 times a week. Plus all my guest posting and blah blather blah about writing craft and what not and BEER. You can do it.
Oh—feel free to DISTRACT from your actual ramblings with eye candy…that works too!
Now go make some posts
Ok, just because the world NEEDS nay REQUIRES yet another blog post….here ya go. My randomness on a F$#@ing Friday…Things Liz Loves.
I love Vampire Eric, scruffy. Which is saying something because I really am NOT a huge fan of vamp stories. They are overdone, over wrought, over thought (unless you really think they sparkle), and in many cases under researched. But that is the beauty of fantasy/paranormal I suppose. Making sh*t up is totally making sh*t up.
Eye Candy moment (hey do vamps need baths…discuss):
I love soccer players, specifically the ones who defy the yellow card and yank their shirts off after they score a goal.
I love caffeine in all its forms. It balances out my Love for IPAs.
I love Sam Calagione. He is the founder/owner/guru of Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware. He is a God among brewing men, even IF he sounds like he’s channeling Keanu Reaves when he talks (“DUDE! Lagers! That’s AWESOME!).
(yes this is “us”)
I love books. Duh.
and finally, I love Ann Arbor on football home game Saturdays. The energy is unbelievable. And it smells like money to me.
When I woke up this morning a couple of things registered with me:
1. It was hot (I live in SE Michigan and haven’t had to use central AC for about three weeks now it’s been so pleasant here so everyone in my house woke up sweaty and grumpy)
2. It was already September 2nd
So let’s do a little exercise shall we? I will call it What the F$#@ Did I do This Summer.
I wrote. A sh*t ton actually. More than I thought I would.
(this is meant to represent The Writing Cave—for those who don’t get it.)
I edited…and did a major revision on The Tap Room as we prep this unique format novel for release. And then I edited some more.
And when I write I go into such a Zone there is really no tearing me out of it. Just ask the people who co-habit my home.
*snaps fingers* MOM! mom…MOM! Is there any FOOD in the house?
I managed my way through the first summer owning a craft microbrewery and Tap Room (bar). Hired, trained, poured beer, planned fall activities, made predictions, met fellow brewery owners, sold beer (a lot–so much I am sitting here in a cold sweat over my Just In Time delivery program due to popularity)
I got involved in some more writer “loops.” Some are useful. Some are annoying.
Oh, I gained some weight. This is bad. Must get back to yoga someday.
I did not go on any vacation. Maybe that’s why my head hurts now that summer is actually over, calendar-wise.
And now, it’s fall. well, football season slash back to school slash tuition bill due slash soccer driving recommences.
And I’m still writing!
Happy F$#@ing Labor Day Weekend