What have I learned about marketing myself?
So I participated in the monthlong #NaNaPromo May marketing Blitz. There was a lot of really good information over the course of the month. I have a lot of pages favorited, and I go back and re-read them. At this point, my marketing is in it’s infancy. I am still testing out what I learned and seeing what works and what does not.
What is one of the first things I did?
I set up a Twitter account in the spirit of growing my social media presence. Something that I once swore I would never do. Mostly because I try to not get sucked into social media if I can help it. I read an article by an entrepreneur that advised (basically) you need to consider whether you are spending your time or using your time. If you are “spending” it, someone is making money off you. If you are using it, you are bettering yourself. Kind of harsh and possibly overly simplistic, but at some core level, there’s a lot of truth to this.
But the more I read about marketing yourself, whether as a writer, or an entrepreneur, used wisely; social media can be a big help. I started my Twitter account and watched as I had very few followers. I really didn’t understand hashtags or following others or re-tweeting…so I learned.
My followers have gone from zero to roughly 90. I realize compared to some who have thousands this may not sound like a lot, but over the course of two months, not too shabby. Also, I feel I am engaged with the people following me. I enjoy what they post, and I hope they enjoy what I post. I learn a lot from them. Which leads me to…
I started my own website. Being an electrical engineer, and having somewhat of a computer science background, this wasn’t too much of a stretch. The difficult part is now attracting people to my grand creation.
I have started a blog, mostly about my exploits living in Alaska, my adventures as a female electrical engineer and a former Navy Veteran, and my silent battle with MS, migraines and depression. I just write about these things. From my logistics, not many people are reading them yet, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s kind of liberating. I have the freedom to just express myself as I shake off the rust, work out the kinks in my writing and find out what works. I learned a lot during the month of May about guest blogging and tagging other articles to your blog. This has helped increase traffic. I am going to now be a regular guest blogger on a website about chronic illness and depression. After 18 years dealing with MS and battling the VA, yes I can claim to be an expert. I am also doing technical writing about my electrical engineering work.
Lesson learned: don’t rush it! While reading one of the articles about building your network, I got the brilliant idea to try to install a newsletter plugin. Here’s my advice to you. When messing around with your website. Take your time. Don’t do it at 11pm after three glasses of wine right after getting back from Massachusetts and you have to get on another plane and fly to Prudhoe Bay, AK the next morning for work. It will only spell disaster. It took me almost a month and a half to figure out how I had managed to screw up my blog. I didn’t realize it until the morning after when I had no blog AND no newsletter.
My next step is to get some professional pictures taken. Gulp! If you know me, you know that I pretty much hate pictures of myself. Not that I’m ugly or anti-social or anything, I just don’t like my own pictures. Don’t know why. So, I found a photographer whose work I really like, and we are going to do a photoshoot together to come up with something good. My husband is really excited about this.
My husband and I do a lot of design work, so we have software programs for manipulating pictures. I am going to mess around with creating fictitious book covers, but if I can’t come up with anything I like, I have a friend who is a really talented artist and photographer who is willing to work with me in exchange for getting her name out there.
I did the classic newbie-writer mistake. I wrote stuff (it was actually the 4th novel I wrote) edited it myself, sent it out for query, got rejected multiple times. I had an editor look over the first few pages for feedback. It came back drenched in red. And it was amazing. Like a magic spell. How could I not see it? I had read it a hundred times! How did I miss all the telling/not showing, POV shifts, etc? So I am not having my manuscript professionally edited as my birthday present to myself. Even if it is never published, my hope is that I can use what I learn to improve my other work.
In a Nutshell…
It’s been a fun process so far. I definitely have a long way to go. For now, I’m off to Seattle and then back to Prudhoe Bay to chase electrons.