Event: Master Your Marketing w/ Christina Farley

I discovered the Writer’s Atelier through NanOrlando, when they hosted a series of NaNoWriMo prep sessions. (I didn’t use NaNo for its strict purpose of writing this year, but as a motivator to continue with my Horatio edits.) I was struck with how useful and supportive their community is. Without knowing me, they welcomed my then 2 month-old into a write-in, and everyone there truly enjoyed his presence and helped me feel comfortable.

So of course I looked at their other activities, and the online class Master Your Marketing with Christina Farley caught my eye. Last fall, three of my editing/social media clients asked my advice on building a platform for their nonfiction works, and that raised new questions for me. Farley looks to address a lot of these questions along with some basics of social media.

I asked Farley the questions that my clients asked me, to see what I might learn from her course. Below are her master your marketing with Christina Farleyanswers.

CMJ: What does a writer’s brand mean to you?

CF: I like to think that a writer’s brand symbolizes who you are as a writer. It not only ties in with your books and writing style, but it draws from who you are as a person. Also a well-developed author brand is more than just the cover of the book or a Twitter header. It delves deeper into all the aspects of the persona of you as a writer. A true test of this is a reader/editor/agent/ should be able to in one glance at any aspect of your writer’s persona grasp a clear concept of who you are as a writer.

CMJ: What does “platform” mean to you? As in, when a publisher says they’ll read a proposal or manuscript if a writer builds their platform?

CF: An author’s platform is essentially like the ‘auditorium’ (if you will) where your voice as an author is heard. Imagine you standing on the stage (scary for some of us introverted writers!) and those sitting in the audience are all of the people excited and eager to hear what you have to say. What you are displaying on the stage and how many people sitting in your audience is what the publishers are interested. An author’s platform is a key component for the nonfiction writer, and though not as important for the fiction writer, it can still be a valuable resource if utilized effectively.

CMJ: How do you divide writing and marketing time?

CF: Writing must always come first. Every time. But there are hours in your day that your brain needs a creative reprieve. That’s when you can spend time on your marketing. The key is to prioritize what is most important and essential to your marketing needs. From there, you can break down a plan and schedule yourself so you aren’t overwhelmed and your writing doesn’t goes by the wayside.

C FarleyCHRISTINA FARLEY is the author of the bestselling Gilded series, a YA contemporary fantasy series set in Korea and upcoming middle grade, THE PRINCESS & THE PAGE, set in France. GILDED was nominated for Korea’s Morning Calm, Ohio’s Buckeye award, and the Tome’s It List. It also was hailed in Epic Read’s anticipated reads, PriceStyle’s recommended summer reads, Book Riot’s favorite myth inspired reads, and BuzzFeed’s 21 amazing series they’ll miss. She is a certified teacher holding a master’s degree in education and has taught writing workshops worldwide.

 

Christina’s Books:

Gilded-FarleyChristinaFarley-Silvern-high-resBRAZEN-coverpp-farley


I will always jump on learning a new way of social marketing, and will report back here on each of her courses*. You can register for the entire series or a’la carte, and also include one-on-one mentoring.

*DISCLOSURE: I arranged a discount to the courses in exchange for reporting on each one.

The Difference Between Goal Mapping and a To Do List

I have a Passion/Any Planner meeting with friends on Sunday, and I offered to help some people ahead of time who I thought could use it.

One person walked me through her 3-month Gamechanger, which involved cleaning her house and getting it ready for a big move. She calmly proceeded to review all the piles she had: beads and jewelry making supplies she’ll never use again, art to hang on the walls of their new house that can’t be hung at their current place, bags and boxes to donate (that have been there for months), etc.

She was calm and I started having a mild panic attack. Now, I am well aware that when you help people with their mental or physical clutter, you take some of their stress onto yourself. Yet she had no stress in her voice; I did.

I took a moment to review the image of her Goal mapping that she had sent, and then it clicked:

She had fallen into the typical trap of treating her Goal Map like a To Do List.

Here’s what I said to her:

Your Goal Map to clean/clear your house doesn’t end at “Donate old clothes to Goodwill.” You have to add the time it takes to fully get rid of every single bag, such as:

  • Load the bags into car – 15 minutes
  • Drive to Goodwill then to work – 1 hour
  • Calendar the time into a specific day (this is perhaps the last step to every Goal Map) -10 minutes

Then we got to her beads and jewelry supplies. These are more than just things; these are lost hopes of an etsy store, fun times with her best friend, a creative outlet through bad times — I think we all have this sort of collection somewhere.

She is donating them to her friend in Texas who makes jewelry to benefit a dog shelter:

  • Send to Texas
  • Pick up boxes from _____ – 30 minutes
  • Package and box all supplies – 2 hours (I always overestimate how long this will take because emotions tend to slow down the process).
  • Load car with boxes – 20 minutes
  • Drive to post office and send – 30 minutes
  • Calendar this time into a specific day – 15 minutes

Until you go into this much detail and calendar it into your planner, the goals are still just wishes. A map doesn’t just say you go from Home to Work; it tells you every turn and how long it will take.

That’s how detailed you have to get, how deep you have to go.

Then calendar it.

Passion Planner 2017 Prep

I’m the first to admit that I didn’t use the Passion Planner exactly how it’s meant to be

IMG_20161209_125715.jpg

Out of my Goals from 2016, I did the best with my one year goals. There is one on there that will be achieved before the year is over. Overall, not bad. You can read more details here.

used. I didn’t always follow my Goal Mapping or have the correct focus detailed at the top of each day.

 

I was able to track my time better, and specifically how I spend my time – not just the reality but also to see plainly where I actually spent my time vs where I want to spend my time.

While I have three weeks left to 2016, I’ll use this time to really detail my Gamechangers, and follow through on giving each task an amount of time needed to complete, then a spot in my calendar. Already this has shown me where my focus needs to go in terms of hustling for specific kinds of work and not just work in general (ah, the freelance life).

I also was inconsistent with the monthly reflections, which is partly because I had an undated planner but also because the time to do that needs to be calendared, and I just didn’t. However, I’m taking the advice that Passion Planner gives and expanding upon it. They suggest finding a PP buddy to keep each other accountable. I found some of my friends on Facebook who have or want to use a Passion Planner (or another system that’s close), and we’ll have monthly check-ins to help one another. We’re starting next week and I honestly can’t wait (except I can, because I have so much Goal Mapping to do before then).

That is our first task before we meet:

  1.  Finish the Wish List as detailed in the Passion Planner’s first pages.
  2. Detailed Gamechanger Goal Mapping for at least 3 months, 1 year, 3 years and Lifetime.
  3. Share in the Facebook Event as they’re finished.

When we do our video check-ins, we’ll go over any questions about the process and obstacles we found. Then review one Gamechanger apiece and share ideas.

We’ll see how this goes. I know that only using their methods part-time worked well, so I look forward to being more organized with my time. I already feel much clearer mentally.

I have no affiliation with Passion Planner except I’m a fan. You can find their free downloads here to try it out.

 

 

Two Articles I Wrote on Art as a Parent

eating at theater

I guess being a parent really does affect how I view art. Yesterday two articles I wrote dropped on different publications, Better Lemons and Dwarf+Giant, a blog of The Last Bookstore LA. I didn’t realize until I shared them to Facebook that both show how I view art differently since becoming a parent.

One is how The Cat in the Hat reads like a manual for child molesters. I thought I’d get more pushback on this story, but so far all comments except one appreciate my argument for removing that book from your collection. Thanks to Dwarf+Giant for publishing this one!

The other is the first in a series, What Theaters Need to Know: Courting Families on Better Lemons, a relaunched Los Angeles arts website. Here I detail how small changes and larger ones can go a long way towards making families feel welcome at your programming. Until you’ve had to change your child’s diaper on a nasty restroom floor while other audience members bang on the door during intermission, you really haven’t lived as a parent.

Stay tuned for some more interesting articles from me……

Marketing Fails & Immersive Ethics

A few weeks ago, I received an ominous text in the middle of the night:

catharsis-text

Needless to say, I was freaked out. Read the full story on No Proscenium to hear how an immersive marketing scheme backfired big time.

Then head on over to Story Forward, a fantastic podcast I just discovered. Noah J. Nelson of No Pro is on a panel discussing the ethics of immersive experiences. Whether you approach it as an audience member or creator, this is a great listen.

If you’re interested in knowing about immersive productions, escape rooms, etc in your area, here’s where to find NoPro. There’s an expansion to other cities in the works:

Email: no_proscenium@outlook.com (send announcements & tips)
Twitter: @noproscenium (look for between issue updates) 
Facebook: No Proscenium Page (Issue Archives for All Regions)
Medium: The No Proscenium Collection (Reviews and Essays)
Podcast: iTunes and RSS 
Patreon: Support the Newsletter and Podcast
New subscriber sign-up: noproscenium.com

Social Media Timing in the Age of Despair

I have words but they are jumbled

We’re in this vicious cycle now:

Tragedy

Outrage

Tears

Thoughts and Prayers

We need more than just thoughts and prayers

Think Pieces

Action items you can take

Reactions to Think Pieces

New Tragedy

Outrage

Rinse and repeat

 

After the Sandy Hook massacre, I created a social media policy for handling mass shootings in progress, tailoring it to each of my clients at that time.

It took me until Tamir Rice to create a policy for when an unarmed Black person is killed by police.

After Charlie Hebdo attacks, I adjusted the mass shootings policy to include terrorist attacks. Why that didn’t start earlier and why it mostly only focuses on attacks in the western world is a topic for another post.

What to do when we wake up each day to horrible news, or at the very least, weekly?

How to continue business on social media outlets when you need to acknowledge, or at least respect, but life also must continue?

How to let some light into the dark, either through happy photos, good news or commentary?

How to continue your work and your life without sounding like you are ignoring the devastating news of the day? Without sounding selfish, or privileged enough not to be confronted with the fear every minute, either because of where you live or the color of your skin?

I think about this a lot. It even makes me pause sometimes from posting the cycle of gun control, of Black Lives Matter, of how to raise a white child without white privilege: because in a matter of days, I can start to sprinkle more photos of my happy toddler or outreach advice or activism through art.

And then a new outrage will occur.

Rinse. Repeat.

It’s much too easy to ignore before the next horrendous headline enters my morning Facebook feed.

 

After the brutal month of June and early July 2016, I decided the only solution is to stop letting myself ignore it on days that it isn’t in my face. Many people fight these inequalities and face these horrors every day. I need to make the real effort to be more than an ally, and I need to make it every day. There are times for self-care, but I cannot retreat into it. I need to not only post “What You Can Do” articles, but hold myself accountable and post when I actually do make those calls to Congress and inquire/fight for proper police procedure. Feeling jumbled, as in my July 8 Facebook post, is not enough. I also greatly respect those who are not as public with their feelings or actions. Silence is complicity, certainly, but just because I don’t see you touting your feelings or actions on social media doesn’t mean you aren’t doing the work in real life. Posting something just so you are seen as aware often makes it sound trite, no matter how genuine the feelings behind it. I worried about that with every other post that ran through my brain on July 8th, and so just focused on my exact feelings at that exact time. I still worry it could sound trite, but at least I know it was the truth and not me trying to make something more out of the truth that I felt at that moment.

Now this is only for my personal social media platforms. What about brands, entrepreneurs, businesses? There are ways to mirror mission with current events for nonprofits, but others? Right now,I just take it case by case. In much of my work, I ghost write social media posts for people, and I take my cues from their personal pages, or send that all too familiar email:

“In light of recent events, I would like to post something along these lines:” and then I say something relatively simple without making any real statement: the brand version of “Thoughts and prayers”. For a local Orlando business, I barely even mentioned the actual massacre, but focused on the helpers in Orlando and particularly helping Orlando businesses.

I take it day by day, adjusting social media protocols as necessary but mostly winging it, collaborating when I have a team. Sometimes it is best just to stay silent. You don’t want to feel like you’re trying to draw attention to your brand through tragedies, even if it is to express sympathy. Yet, with these events happening so often (or at least our awareness of them amplified by access to media), how can you stay silent?

There are no real answers, just conscience and judgement and the ability to feel ignorant and ask questions of those more knowledgeable more I.

How do you handle your personal social media and business accounts lately?

So I Got a Passion Planner

Right around January, that beautiful idealized time when everyone re-evaluates their life and dreams, I followed up on something I’d bookmarked a few weeks earlier:

The Passion Planner.

I checked out how it works, and printed a few free sample pages to see if I could better organize my February workload if I used it.

It requires a lot of dedication, a lot of planning to the minute detail and date as to how you will accomplish your goals. It takes a focused amount of time every week to not only organize your life by the half hour, but also to evaluate how successful you were in implementing your plan.

Here is the main thing I saw from using a Passion Planner that no other planner thus far has done for me:

It helps me understand exactly  how much time my various activities take and how much time I have left.

I gained a real understanding of my limits, but more importantly, I clarified my priorities. In order to continue with both my Outreach Nerd consulting, revising my novel-in-progress, keeping my toddler and I active, and eating as healthily as possible, I had to get real on my time commitments.

In no particular order, here are my concrete takeaways using the Passion Planner:

  • I have to focus on one writing project at a time. Decide whether I want short term gratification (blog) or to get absorbed into revisions, and plan my writing time that day accordingly (even if it is only an hour).
  • Schedule time to prepare food and eat it.
  • Plan on Sunday for the following week and discuss the work schedule with my husband where it overlaps with our time at home together.
  • Plan on 1-2 days where we don’t take the car and enjoy the lack of structured activities to let my son lead our playtime. This also means his nap isn’t overlapping with driving time and I then get at least an extra half hour of work time.
  • Take pleasure in highlighting the items I finish.
  • Schedule time to shower.
  • Perhaps most importantly: This is not a to-do list. Each line represents a half hour of my life, and some tasks take longer, some take less time. Adjust accordingly.

If you need better time management in your life and have multiple projects to juggle (including household and relationship ones), then I strongly suggest downloading some sample pages and testing it out for at least a month. I ended up buying the undated planner and it is working very well for me.

I am in no way associated with the Passion Planner and was not solicited to write this review in any manner. If you do want to try one, I would appreciate it if you say you were referred by cindymariejenkins@gmail.com and I’ll eventually get a discount.