The Joys of Housekeeping

I have a terrible secret to share.

Are you ready to hear it?

Brace yourselves. It’s ugly.

I work in digital marketing.

“But Suz,” I hear you saying, “what’s ugly about that?”

It’s not that I work in digital marketing. It’s that I’ve worked in digital marketing for years and have never bothered applying anything I do at my job to my books. Keyword research? Feh. Snappier back cover copy? Whatever. Tests? I can’t be bothered.

It was partially self-defense. I do all this stuff for my day job. I don’t necessarily want to bring it home with me. But during the last few weeks, when I finally dove into stuff like series maintenance, I started to see exactly the sort of problems we usually point out to our clients. No SEO keywords (!). Back cover copy, which I thought was kind of kitschy and entertaining at the time, was. not. working.

So that’s been my project over the last couple days. I dug out the old copywritin’ skillz and redid the back cover copy on the GNW series. Did some SEO research and selected some keywords for various search engines. And now, for my next trick, I’m going to try to get some wider distribution going.

Brace yourselves. New platforms are coming.

…provided I can figure them out.

May I Live in Interesting Times

Mom had Leo The Tech Guy on the radio on Saturday while I was getting my second cup of coffee. He had a young, self-published author who had gone through Amazon’s program. I think she was asking about marketing (I admit I was inhaling my coffee and missed the first couple of minutes), as the conversation mostly talked about websites, Twitter, and the like.

I thought it was pretty serendipitous — I hope I’m using that word correctly — and wrote down her name. I will check out her book once I’m finished rereading GoT, which will be in the next couple of days.

Looking at the gal’s website and blog made me think about what I should do with my own site, when the time comes. I’m not planning on doing anything at the moment — the Great Experiment is still, erm, stalling on my hard drive while I mess with Leir, Cordeilla and their wacky friends — but once I do finish my zombie tale…what next? Website with a blog on it? Pen name? I have one, I guess I should use it. Link to it through here?

Dammit, I worked in Internet marketing for two years. I know how to do a lot of this stuff, in practice if not in application. Aside from the friends I made, it’s the only decent thing I got out of that job. It’s just the theory of applying it to myself, rather than a client. I was reading an old friend’s blog, and she was struggling with much of the same stuff, and she actually put a name to why I’m finding this difficult — it feels pretentious.

Which, I understand, is something I need to get over one of these days…

The Self-Pub Stigma

My uncle and brother were in town on Friday, and we got to talking about self-publishing. We particularly discussed putting together a volume of short stories just to test the waters, and see what happens.

I admit the thought has crossed my mind before, particularly with the success of those publishing to the Kindle/Nook formats. I almost feel odd going about it without at least trying the traditional route — I guess it feels like cheating? — and the backlash you see from published authors and the like.

With that said, I have two projects I’m seriously considering self-pubbing through Smashwords & Kindle, just to see what happens.

The first is an old zombie story I’m currently in the process of revising. I quite like the story, but it might be a little too weird to ever really pitch to any houses — I could see myself maybe trying Permuted Press with it, but that’s about it. That’s the project I’ve had in mind all along for self-pubbing, anyway. The process is free. I’ll probably hire an editor pal to give it a once-over, get the thing uploaded, and see what happens.

The other project is a non-fiction one. It’s only conceptual at the moment; something about online dating and the expectations we have. I started out intending to pitch something to one of the big magazines, but then realized the project was bigger. I might still chop it up into an article to pitch it, but right now I’m thinking of compiling my 2011 efforts into a sort of chronicle of online dating. Not a how-to guide, but maybe just “This is what I did; your mileage may vary.”

I’m exhausted. Better blogging tomorrow, I promise.

The Art of Marketing

I would make a lousy prostitute.

This is good news to my parents, of course. I’m sure they’re glad my streetwalking skills aren’t up to snuff.

Hooker analogy aside, I need to figure out how to market myself. Shaking a leg at a passing Porsche doesn’t produce many writing gigs. Unless the cops catch me soliciting myself, and I spend a few years in jail and then write a tell-all…hmm.

I’m not particularly good at tooting my own horn. My cover letters probably aren’t that bad; they’ve netted me three traditional, full-time jobs, and I’ve picked up a couple of freelance clients. But I’ve got two finished novels that I won’t even sub because I hate writing query letters (stupid, I know). “I’m so awesome, hire me because of this, this and this, see links here” is just…ugh.

However, if I’m to manage this self-employment thing, I need to find clients. And that, more often than not, involves cover letters. I have a couple of templates that I tweak as necessary, and I try to find new clients a couple times a week. But I need more eggs for my baskets (or baskets for eggs? Or maybe I need chickens first?) and I really need to get over this aversion to promoting myself.

To that end, Mom ordered The Well-Fed Writer for me off Amazon, which I will peek at. I have a few other “make a living as a freelance [whatever]” on my shelf — can’t say I didn’t start researching this gig — should I be taking notes? Hmm.

In the interest of throwing my name all over the Internet expanding my horizons, I’m contemplating a Twitter account. I’m presently looking at the main page with some trepidation. It doesn’t help that just about every variation of “Suz” is taken, including “thesuz,” “the realsuz” (which means there’s a fake Suz out there, somewhere) and even “suztastic,” which I thought was a made-up word.

Granted, I don’t need to be “Suz” in my tweets. I’m just going for consistency here. Building an identity or something. I should probably look into a website, too, if only to promote my writing better. I threw together a tiny site for my editing service when I first set out, but I think I’m drifting away from editing, aiming myself at more writing-related projects.

Long story short: I need to learn to market myself effectively. I am putting off doing this by blogging. I shall now cease this procrastination activity.