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Happy New Year! January 18, 2014

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Matt F Alleyway_photo VandalAnd I do hope it is a very happy and successful one for you all.

I have been a little bit lapse in this blog. And by lapse, I mean that apparently my last post was June, even though a birthday post was written, but seemed to not have been published. So, 6 months have passed by without an update here. How is this possible?

I will put the initial blame down to a lack of organisation and discipline. My workload picked up significantly in the second half of 2013, and I prioritised doing work for clients, obviously. This involved content research, gathering and writing up of stuff. I was also concentrating on marketing and managing all this work, keeping on top of my business blog, which slid by the wayside as well.

And so, the priority for this blog slid to the bottom of the pile. Which was more important to me? Writing for clients which pay me, followed by trying to build ME as a brand, and then a blog where i rant a little bit, I play a little bit more? I talk about writing and things which are not purely business based? It turned into a guilty pleasure, of sorts.

And then there was the fact that this blog wasn’t the only thing which was let to slip. Reading. I didn’t read a book, not a one, in the final 6 months of the year. Except after Christmas, but I’ll speak about that later.

So, what things have I been doing for the past 6 months? Let me look at my novels. Much like this blog, writing my novel slid down the priority list. That thought process of – this writing is not making me money! I kind of forgot what writing is to me. I love writing first, and am lucky to be able to make some coin from it. So I need to remember that I am allowed to write and not make money. Writing is important to me, first and foremost.

So, I did eventually finish writing book 2 – South of the Border. And as with all good middle books of the trilogy, i left the characters beaten and bruised, kidnapped, stolen, and near death, so you are going- WHAT!!! And craving book 3. I am currently re-reading through SOTB before handing it off to my editors. And then the re-write. Ugh.

2013-Winner-Vertical-BannerBook 3! Of course, Nanowrimo came around, and so I started on Book 3. As will 2012, I struggled to write masses of words. I checked in at 51k and “won”, but I am only 1/3 of the way through the book. It is going to be huge. I already worked through one battle and conflict, I now have to place the pieces on the board for the next one, free MC1 from being tortured, ramp up the aggression between rebels, The Children, who are little robots, the Royals and then Lenzell and Associates. And THEN throw in a surprise attack. AND THEN wind it all up nicely with happy endings and those damn open-ended problems which leave the possibility of another movie. You know how it goes.

I also wrote a short story last year. I can’t find the link, gosh darn it, but it was about Death, cooking a chilli con carne, for War, who bragged he could eat anything with spice. So Death made it with the ash from a Phoenix. HA! Cop that War… it was the first short I had written in a while, and was fun. I want to do more of them. I’d like to organise a writing group, but, organising anything which involves people is a little tricky, I have found.

I began working on a revamp of my website with two of my good friends. There is me, the copy writer, my friend Craig, who is a graphic designer, and designed my Wonderdog Logo, and there is my friend Brodie, who lives in the UK, and is a WordPress hacking fiend. The three of us spent time on Skype together one night, working on my new site. The dynamic we have, I totally believe the three of us could work together helping people get online with design, words and so on, and make a lot of money. However, what would normally take a week, may take us 2 weeks, because we just fart-arse around too much and have too much fun being silly.

But this idea of helping others be successful in business was a growing theme in the second half of my year. I approached a good friend of mine, and my business coach, with a plan to help people who have an IDEA, but not the know how of how to be in a business, to be a business. He thought my plan and proposal was pretty good. He then spent a couple of months throwing stones at it, and discovered he could not poke any holes in the idea. He loves it, which makes me feel pretty special. Someone I respect highly, thinks one of my ideas is good? We just need a fecking NAME for this venture, so I can start working on it more.

But this need to grow, to move, has been with me since earlier in 2013. I am a member of BNI, and I will say that if it wasn’t for this organisation, I would probably be back in 9-5 work, not freelancing. However, trying to get the members to move, to think excitedly, to DO something, to get organised into POWER GROUPS, has been difficult. Sometimes described as trying to herd cats, sometimes as glacial. It was this frustration which lead me to my Business Coach to start this idea, which is essentially a Power Group working together.

shutterstock_123153736My frustrations are also the reason I have become quite good friends with a client, and member of the group, who wants to shake things up ad get things moving as well. Despite my long hair and out-there kind of attitude, I am not always extroverted in situations such as BNI, or other GROUP situations. Simon is. We both have clicked in regards to what we want to do, and I have become his ‘partner in crime’ as I like to put it, in getting things rolling.

While it may sound malicious and such, it really isn’t. What we want to do is to work on our businesses, and help others work on theirs. We want to not only find people who need us, or our professional contacts, but also look beyond that, and see who knows who. Do you know 5 people, who know 5 people, who may want to know about Social Media? There’s 25 people who may want to know more. Lets have a lunch, listen to what I have to say, and see what we can do together.

It is the combination of these two gentleman which is making me feel like I can go forth in the new year, with a RAAAAAAAWR attitude. If not everything works, that’s okay, a lot of stuff WILL!

Another little project I have started, and am quite proud of, is my jewelry store. Someone showed me a while ago, how they had converted, or re-purposed, a Star Wars toy into an earring. It was the right size and looked freaking awesome. A couple of years later, I was sitting here and thinking- I want to get crafty. I want to do something, creative, buildery, or something. I would like to learn to mod and paint nerf guns. I’d love to build those secret books and so on. And then I remembered that Star Wars toys.

Bought me some, worked on them, and many friends said the same thing- OMG they are AWESOME! So, I came up with a name, and now have an online store and Facebook page.

The name of my store is Meraki Cosmogyral. I can hear many people saying- what? It is two separate words which describe me so well, and what attitude I bring to this venture. Meraki – (v.) to do something with soul, creativity or love; to put something of yourself into your work. Cosmogyral – (adj) whirling around the universe. For me, just seeing those words, together, gives me a smile. I like the idea that we’re going WEEEEEE around the universe. I like that.

What it means now is, I get to wander around toy stores, looking for things to make into earrings, key rings, or charms for necklaces. And friends find things and are thinking- Matt could use this too! I love when my ideas get others thinking as well.

Meraki Cosmogyral Store Envy

So, 2013 was a great year for me, even if I didn’t keep up with the blogging. As a Freelancer, I finally broke even, and have been able to work, and buy stuff, for a good six months. I am growing, as a business person, making great connections, finding more and more clients, growing in confidence.

What is in store for me in 2014? Having more clients and having them for longer. Getting the process down so I can slot a client into a program, create content, spread the word, build their brand and make them known. Release book 2. Collaborate with people to help others grow their businesses. Educate people more, through presentations, courses, and so forth.

I am really looking forward to 2014.

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Busy is as Busy does March 27, 2013

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wooshToday has been a very busy day for me. Good busy, very good busy, but darn it to gosh! A client meeting in the morning, discussing a social media content package, plus and information pack of what I do so they can on-sell it to their clients who would also like social media.

Then a meeting with my business coach, 1208 Business Logo - Blue - Full Logo-01where we talked about 48 hour goals, fortnightly goals, planning and such, building products for me to sell, marketing me. I know I have written before about taking myself seriously, but getting coaching about my writing as a BUSINESS, and changing how I think about myself as a writer, as a business, is making me take myself seriously again. Hard to explain….

From there I went and spoke to another client, a law firm, about doing social media and training and writing articles and blogs. Good client interview, they really challenged me and I mostly was up to the challenge. Some technical knowledge I couldn’t be perfect on, but, I left them convinced I know what I am doing and can really help them. Of course, there are discussions to be had, but, positive.

I am looking forward to writing for these people.

This evening I attended a networking event. Not such a great event. Not formal networking structure, no selling to each other. I need to sell myself to you, so you can then sell myself to someone else. That is networking, surely. Anyway, a speaker asked- why are you in business? And I answered- because I am good at what I do. Two people whom I have done work for before both said- yes you are.

That made me feel really good. Add this is why I want to work for more people. Yeah, the money would be good, it would relieve a lot of tension in my shoulders. It would allow me to do more and achieve more. I would be able to invest in me, my business and my relationship…s. But it would also allow me to write. A simple little thing, surely. If I get to write for these clients, on a regular basis, then I get to write, on a regular basis.

But, hang on Matt, don’t you have a novel you are writing? Can’t you write that on a regular basis? Well, yes I do, and no I don’t. I have been regular in the past few days, but when I promised to get it done by the START of March and it is near the END of March? It kind of implies I’m not writing on it regularly. I would love to, but work writing prioritises, and then tonight, I don’t have the brain power to get into character.

Writing is what I am good at, and to be given the chance to do good writing, regularly, would be absolutely awesome. And not for myself, but for other people.

Speaking of my novel, sorry, late call there on the segue-way, my editor has Acts 1 and 2. Did a quick word count, Act 1 is only 24 500 words, Act 2 is nigh on 50k words! A little bit lop-sided, but, the acts end where it feels natural. And the current Act 3? That is sitting at 13k, more or less. So a big middle act. I hope you went to the restroom at first interval.

Once Act 3 is finished, even while it is being edited, I will then engage my cover designer. She likes to read the book to get a feel for it so she can craft the cover better. So, it is moving, it is building steam. 🙂 Joke there, did you see it? romney laff

Not writing helps with the writing… March 12, 2013

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010 NoWriting1-300x300That may sound like an excuse to not write here, because I haven’t. But actually, it is something I am learning about the business of writing. Taking time away from doing the writing, to plan what I am to write about, actually helps when I get back in the saddle to tap away at the keyboard.

As a freelance professional writer, I am finding there is a lot of writing to do. Off the top of my head is this blog, my new blog, which you can find here –> Paw1… finishing off my novel (Still a work in progress), writing a newsletter, two newsletters, actually. And I have been editing some friend’s work, and, stuff.

However, through all of this, I am being coached by a business coach. I’ll give him a shout out, because he is really making me shift the way I think about things, about myself as a writer, and as a business person. I am slowly re-wiring my brain. 1208 Business Logo - Blue - Full Logo-01 That is his Facebook page. Go and like it, freak him out with all that attention.

But one thing he is getting me to do is look at the year, to plan things. In an effort to put a little bit of a divide between my professional and personal writing hats, I have launched a new weekly blog, and I am refreshing my monthly newsletter to be more business focused. To do this, I have divided the year up into quarters, with most of the 1st quarter used up, it gave me the month of March to get a run-up to the rest of the year. So, I thought of 3 BIG topics to talk about, then broke them down into 3 monthly lots, and then weekly topics to write about. I have the next quarter all lined up with topics about Social Media. I don’t have to sit at the computer and think- what am I going to write? Because I look down the list of what hasn’t been written yet, and off I go. It has made me more efficient, and actually makes me start to write sooner.

What else? Well, when writing projects crop up, they get scheduled into my day, so I know what I am to be writing and when. Tonight I did have here to do my personal blog, really I did. And here I am. I also have an hour or more worth of novelling to do, but considering the heat, that might get rescheduled.

Tomorrow I have to create a presentation about social media, work on a 1500 word article, and a copy writing proposal.

Another thing which I have noticed makes me work, is giving myself a deadline and announcing it. I announced that I would have my novel FINISHED by March. It didn’t happen, but I did get Acts 1 & 2 to an editing stage. My editor has Act 1, and by the time she nears the end of Act 2, I will have the book finished, and it will seem as if I had the book finished for her in time. Smoke and mirrors 😉

Trying to change the way your mind works, after so many years of working in a certain way, is a difficult task. But I am slowly seeing the benefits of this change of thinking, of planning more rather than going off by the seat of my pants. I should have know, really. My first couple of Nanowrimo novels I ‘pants’d’ them. But when I hit my sci fi epic, I put a lot more plotting and planning into it. And now I declare the month of October to be my month of Plotting and Planning. And I have found the quality of work I produce to be remarkably better.

Oh, and I think in April, I will have a new book cover design to show off. Shhh.. don’t tell Scarlett. She doesn’t know I want to hire her yet 😉

Viral Marketing. (That’s an ad?) January 25, 2013

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old spice 1There are two forms of marketing which are very effective, and yet very hard to pin down to a strategy. One is guerrilla marketing, and the other is viral marketing. Lets have a look at viral marketing.

Viral marketing is when an idea, a video, or a tweet, or a picture, is circulated around the internet at the speed of thought, exposed to millions of people, and remains in the social consciousness for a long time afterwards. Just think of the ‘Old Spice Guy’. The commercial first aired during the 2010 Superbowl in the USA. The ad, on you Tube, had close to a quarter million views in the 2 hours after the Superbowl, and was increasing 100 000 every few hours after that. The ad was so well thought of, it even garnered positive responses on 4Chan!

Following on from the success of this, the marketing company behind this viral hit then had a 2-day marathon of video responses to questions raised on Twitter. Again, this was a huge success. Responses came back to the twitter questions with amazing speed and hilarity. The company earned nearly 11 MILLION video views, 29 000 Facebook fans and 58 000 new twitter followers. And, to hammer home the point of the viral marketing aspect, and how popular it was, the actual Old Spice product was barely mentioned in any of the video responses.

More recently, Dick Smith has been the fortunate recipient of viral advertising. A funny, tongue-in-cheek ad he created for Australia, playing off his name, encouraging everyone to eat his Australian made products, or, ‘eat dick for Australia day’, was banned from prime time early evening TV because it contained potentially offensive material.  dick_smith_ad_640x360

This news hit the internet, and almost immediately people were posting links to the ‘uncut and original’ ad on social media. Dick had interviews on talk shows, and on Sunrise, the hosts even congratulated him on having his ad shown on their show for free.

There is, of course, a formula to viral marketing. But, it is a formula whose ingredients are volatile and may not mix well. You need the right balance to make it work. You may have seen companies try and build a viral marketing campaign and fail. One of the best (or worst) examples was when the Chevy car company in America, opened it’s advertising space for people to make their own commercials for the newly launched SUV, the Tahoe. You could choose from different clips showing the vehicle doing, SUV stuff. You could run them in any order, have inspirational music, and then put your own messages up there.

You can possibly imagine the result when The Internet had finished with this marketing campaign. If you would like some help imagining that, have a look at these great examples – Great Padded Cell, or this one, encouraging you to Murder Your Family , language warning on that second one.

A viral marketing campaign, as I said, has a formula, but is not something that you can force, crowbar into popular culture. You need a reason for people to share it- an emotional connection, a ‘what the…?’ reaction, something is really funny and witty. You need the call to action to be subtle (depending on your message). That call to action can be to actually share the video, or as in the case of ‘Help for Paws – how and iPhone saved the lives of 5 puppies‘  the call to action is obviously- donate NOW! And, you need a good story to go with it. It needs to be compelling, hold your attention and make you want to watch all of it.

Guerilla Marketing (What did I just see?) January 25, 2013

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guerilla6

This is one of those phrases which, ironically, is hard to pin down to a definition. It is not Viral Marketing, which we will look at in a future blog post, it is more having your brand seen, often in sneaky and cheeky ways.

How many times have you seen a bunch of guys, painted up and chanting at a sporting event? If you are in the crowd, you are looking right at them. If you’re watching TV, chances are the cameras have focussed on them during a lull in play. What if those guys were wearing something with your brand on it? Not blatantly out in the open, but some branded shorts, or a flag in team colours and your company’s name on it? Suddenly, your brand name has reached millions of people, depending on the sport, and you haven’t had to pay a cent in sponsorship money.

Have you ever seen large golf umbrellas at the 18th hole on a PGA play off? The camera shows a vision of a professional golfer, concentration etched on their face. And in the back is an umbrella, in distinctive colours? You see a red umbrella with a swirl of white you think- cola. If you saw an orange umbrella with a white arrow? FedEx. Was there an actual paid commercial for either of these companies? Probably not.

There is a trick in making sure you are casually sitting where the camera will see you in the background. If you see a reporter on the street, standing behind hem but in the line of sight of the camera, with a logo visible, and there you have it. Or, as I have often seen on the morning breakfast shows, the windows which open on to the public, so you can see them live to air. Well, the people on the other side of the camera can see you too, waving and on your mobile phone. So why not take advantage of that and have a sign, a colour scheme, a printed t-shirt?

A fantastic example of guerrilla advertising was during the Sydney Olympics. The Triple J radio station held a competition – Beat The Drum. If you could get their Drum logo show to the widest audience possible, in a legal way, then you would win your rent paid, for a year, or all your bills paid for the year. The winner was a person who had seats right behind the medal podium at the swimming. Every time athletes stood there to get their medals and sing their national anthem, there was the Triple J drum logo.

Triple J paid nothing for the campaign, and trust me, there were plenty other attempts to get the logo out there. A woman on the Sydney foreshore with body paint; signs on busy freeways; costumes at rock concerts. Sure, there was a cost in the prize, but to have so many people getting their brand and logo out there?

It can be hit and miss, but if you can pull off an ingenious, subtly, but telling guerilla marketing campaign, the money made for very little outlay, could be significant.

tutu-guerilla-marketing1

Guerrilla marketing gone wrong, with this man arrested at the 2004 Athens Olympics

Motion Sickness on the rollercoaster of writing life. January 10, 2013

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I thought long and hard about writing this here, but then I thought- this is a blog about me as a writer. I am an author of fiction, I am a professional writer with clients whom I write for. But all of this is my writing experience, which is why I started this blog. I won’t mention names, since they are irrelevant when it comes to my experience, or my impact of their actions upon me. But those of you close to me, will know whassup. Yes, I just used the word wassup. pony 1

 

In one week I have crashed, and then risen, in regards to what people think of me as a writer. With the support of family and friends, and wife, I chose to become a full-time professional writer. The thing I had been quietly telling people I was good at, I chose to actually tell the world- I am good at this. Writing is my passion, it is what I am here to do.

This decision was scary. The past mumblemumble months have been scary. 2013 is looking to be awesome, but, it hasn’t happened yet, so it is still scary. Having less than $100 to your name but still having to write STUFF, can be a very scary, soul-squeezing thing to do.

So, this week I was following up on a job. I have had some good leads of late, creative people who have a job, and need to hire a writer. It’s an agency model, but in miniature. I like it. A friend tells me I would be perfect to work in an agency, so this is, kind of, like training wheels. I think. Hmm, metaphor went a little screwy there.

Anyway, the project lead is unavailable, and in my puppy-dog-like keenness to get the job completed and make client happy, I rang him directly to obtain some feedback about a revision he had asked for.

Now, before I go any further, let me just say to those playing at home – this is not a wise idea. You only ever liaise with the person who hired you. If someone comes to you and says- I need help with a current job, you only talk to them. If a client hires you directly, you speak to them. Never cut out the middle man. But, I was keen to impress. Let me continue.

It was a brief conversation, however, as the gentleman said to me- “In short, I don’t like it. Either the brief you were given was not very clear, or you’re not very good at what you do.”

I ended that conversation quickly, assuring the client that I would speak with my guy when he comes back from break, and we will fix whatever, something, thanks, bye. That statement ripped the guts from me. I was left utterly stunned and literally shaking. No one, ever, has told me ‘to my face’, or ear, in this case, that I was possibly not good at what I do.

I took a HUGE leap of faith and risk to be a freelance writer because I had finally nutted up the courage in myself to say- you know what, I am good enough for this. And then suddenly, in … eight words, I am floored. My whole world is suddenly in chaos. What do I do? I’m not good as a writer? Does this mean I will have to go back to retail? Customer Service? Work my way up through office admin to a level of middle management and be a slave wage office monkey and OH MY GOD! (No offense intended to those who are in the white-collar work force. This is my brain going nuts, not my actual opinion.)

The first thing I did was ring my dad. Hey, I may be (mature age) years old, but still, I had to ring my dad. I then found a couple of people online and went- this guy just said stuff! I then had to go for a walk, which rid me of the jitters, but I still had that hole in my heart. I then had a slouch on the couch with my wife, and started to feel better.

All of these wonderful people reassured me that I am a good writer, and it is possibly something to do with the brief, or the client might not be clear about what they want, and when they saw what they DIDN’T want, lashed out at the person who produced it, without possibly taking time to think of constructive feedback, etc etc By later that evening, while not back on the horse, I was tentatively leading it around the corral and waiting for the right time to possibly get back in the saddle while no one was watching.

The next day dawns upon my world. I am still doing work, finishing up the edit and proofreading of a book, re-writing an awesome ‘about us’ page for a client, who is linking his staff to super heroes. I like it. I keep the basic structure of the piece, get some grammar into it, put some ‘superhero words’, like POW and FLASH and .. stuff, into it. I then wring my hands for an hour or so because of what was said the day before.

NO! I will get this out there, I cannot stop everything I am doing, because clients have asked me to do work! So I send it to this gentleman. And his response was – “I love it! Great work! It has my ideas but reads like velvet!”

In less than 24 hours I went from all the way down there, to all the way up there, but not with a look of glee on my face, more a look of – wtf just happened? holytaco---2-1279780296

Bad experiences will happen, I have been told this, and I have experienced this. But, looking at the statistics, more people say I am a good writer than those who say I am not. But isn’t it interesting how easily someone can be affected by negative opinions of themselves?

As I write this, I still have a lot of work lining up to do. I am still a little shaken, and will be for a few weeks, until I get back into that rhythm of writing, back into my comfort zone. The job for the person who thinks I might not be very good, is still to be reviewed and completed. So, I am not ‘there’, yet. But, I am hardier than I have been in the past. I am closer to the ‘fuck you I so am totes an awesome writer’.

and on the 7th day, he was still writing Nanowrimo.. November 7, 2012

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7 days into the month of November, a month which brings you a world of men growing moustaches for a good cause –

A month which brings you the “Race that stops a nation” 

An election in some country –

And an awesome world wide writing contest!

I am currently sitting on just over 13 000 words on day 7, which is ahead of schedule. November 1st was a Thursday, and I didn’t really get started writing until 10pm that night. Friday was out for me, and so was most of Saturday, so, I wrote the bulk of my words in the 2 days of Monday and Tuesday. Not bad.

I am having a very casual word war with Penmonkey. She and I are old hats at Nanowrimo. We are both confident of hitting the 50k score SOMETIME this month, so are just slowly pottering along, encouraging and taunting each other. I feel like a gentlmanly old man, walking arm and arm with a ‘lady’ pointing my cane at the youth of today and saying- off you go, write with vigour. We will see you home soon. Rah rah, pip pip!

What I have noticed, and enjoyed, in the past couple of days, is the anarchy of characters taking over the writing. I have been writing so controlled for so long, either editing a novel already in play, or writing copy which needs control in and of itself, that to have characters do unexpected things, has been both scary and fun. What do I mean?

Well, I did plan on my MC’s having a battle with slavers, discovering how they are capturing so many slaves so easily. What I did not intend on happening was Mizzell being captured, and Navarr launching a solo boarding mission to rescue her! Luckily 2 of his allies joined him, but still, 3 people against a boatload of slavers?

I have been stuck in this scene for a day or more trying to figure out how to get them out. Navarr caught a knife in the left shoulder, so now that arm doesn’t work, one of the Mountain Men is down, blood everywhere, possibly dead. There is no key to the slave cage, and to top it off, the fight is happening around a great hole in the bottom of a sky ship. Any wrong move and you’re freefalling.

I must admit I am not writing with as much gusto as  I did last year. I feel more like I am putting in the yards and getting ahead of the word count, but I am not rushing ahead with a wicked gleam in my eye. It is possibly outside influences, or pressures. For example, today, I have a to-do list. I have a timer set on 50 minutes, so I dedicate some time to each dot point, and then have a ten minute break. The list includes-

  • Writing my Facebook Document & promotional material
  • Blog writing
  • Social Media work for Ilinga Books
  • Write and review and update website
  • Filling out worksheets examining completion on copy writing & marketing channels worksheet
  • Writing novel

Some where in there I might leave the house.

I have always said that Nanowrimo is good for showing how you can really work writing around your life. I am trying to squeeze it into my writing life, as a writer, while I write, other stuff. And, lacking on that list is client work, which I haven’t got at the moment. I am working on a plan to go GET clients, but I don’t think it is a real, exact science, not for me. Maybe people will need great copy to sell their wares ‘just in time for Christmas?

Well, as you can see, writing a blog post was number 2 on the list, and according to my counter, I have 8 minutes left. This gives me enough time to talk about future projects. I am planning a collection of short stories based in the world of my current Steampunk novels. Events which happen, seen from other points of view perhaps? Other locations which had a brief mention getting some meat and potatoes? I like the idea of a rogue piece written from the Ravens point of view, the Royal Secret Service. That could be cool.

I am planning to put together a collection of articles on how I plot and plan and write a book. My 11th Nanowrimo and I am getting people asking me how i do it, how I continually do it, and what do I do? So,  I have taken some time to figure out what it is I do, since some people are curious and want to know.

Thanks to a client, I have created another package I can offer to clients- the Sock-Knocking Tag-Line package. Watch this space for more!

Sorry I haven’t blogged, I lost the keys… September 26, 2012

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And doesn’t that excuse sound pathetic? Well, it should. It has been a case of – have I been doing anything worth writing about? Let me think.

  • I am writing up some documents to give away FREE on my website. You need to entice people to like you more. Give them something free for making the effort to come and see you.
  • I put together another newsletter
  • I am putting together a weekly presentation for my BNI group. Yep, another weekly thing for them.
  • A quick job which landed on my phone last week

I have planned 3 stories, short stories, for the world of my novel. And then I got a cool idea about some cross-over scenes between short story and novel, and so now I am re-thinking so I can have ALL of them cross-over. I DO plan on writing these as part of my October plotting and planning month. Get me a feel for the world again, writing about the vast deserts in the south.

But, to be honest, while I have been writing, I have not been doing much writing of substance. I think I slipped into neutral. Trying to maintain my writing has been a bit tiring of late.

However, the most productive time of the year is coming for me. So I expect to be writing and blogging and novelling and writing and doing a few newsletters and stuff. Just to remind myself that I can fit it all into one day.

Now, its 11.30 at night, and I am doing some homework. MORE WRITING! 🙂

Sometimes it is okay to not write, just admit that you’re not. Don’t make dinky and silly excuses.

 

The Twenty Two dollar omelette August 8, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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To be a professional writer, and an author, one hat that you need to wear is the Marketing Hat. As you may already know, I own a Writing Hat, but now I am sizing myself with this new hat.

I have written and published a book, and if you click on the book cover there you can find a place to purchase the book. Marketing for this book includes getting involved on Goodreads, which has had mild success . I am still learning how to get more involved with this community. I would love to ask people to read and review, but posting such requests seems like I would be whispering into a room with white noise.

Other forms of marketing include shouting out on Facebook, which has got me a few sales. But I have discovered if I speak one-on-one with people, then they go buy my book. So this means I will need to speak to hundreds of thousands of people, make friends, talk about writing, and then encourage them to read my book. Easy! 🙂

So, this talk about marketing as a role of a writer, I am trying to ramp up my professional writing side of my life. A lot of work comes through to me in referrals. I am a member of the Business Networkers International group. As a member, if my profession is not represented in another chapter, I am entitled to visit, give a 60 second presentation about me, and hopefully reap some referrals from their members, and be memorable enough that they will remember me when speaking to people THEY know.

This involved a 5.30am start for me, a long drive to a nice little restaurant, and a $22 omelet. I spoke to around 12 people, some members being away, and I collected all their business cards. I had one person wanting to speak with me more, and another asking about some work I might do for them. So, the time in the morning, and the price of the breakfast, may have landed me a good job.

Later in the day I sat with a business coach who was teaching me all about marketing and tracking dollars and cents in my writing business. How much do I spend on marketing compared to how much comes back in as revenue. What things can I do to improve my marketing, increase my brand footprint in the wider world.

One thing I have done is launch a Facebook page for my professional writing side. Rather than have one page for me as a writer, both the creative and copy writing, I am now distinguishing between the two. Go and like my page, where I will give copy writing tips, and post images and links to projects I have contributed in. Click on the image below.

I am doing a lot of work on my professional writing side of me. This means my novel writing is quiet for the time being, but rest assured I have started plotting and planning for the next book. I have a vague story line, with heists, intrigue, more dragons, dinosaurs, minotaurs and possibly a baby.

Good bye for now!

 

 

 

Less is more… July 31, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing.
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In the past week I have had two copy writing jobs which required me to write, or edit, a load of text down to less words while keeping the message. And this post is also to show that while a lot of what I blog about is my novel & creative writing, I do have a professional writing side to myself as well.
The first job required me to take a company whose website I had been writing, and boil down who they are and their unique selling point into a 40 word blurb. This is a case of finding one or two points, and just writing about that. Getting that one point of difference is a selection process in itself! It came down to the fact this company would slip in and become a part of your business, taking away that pesky work you don’t want to do, so you can get back to running your business – working on your business, not in your business, as they say.

My first effort came out at 60 words. The second just under 50. And then I nailed the word count. Looking at the words on-screen, it was about 2 and a half lines of text, depending on the size of the words. This was a good visual cue to work with, so when I was near the second line of text I knew I had to wind it up.

I gave the clients 4 examples of 40 words or less. And then a week later I followed up with 8 more examples. All were slightly different, and I was quite happy with what I produced.

And recently a girl came to me saying she is trying to get into a course with the RSPCA about animal welfare and caring for animals etc, but she said – I can’t write. I hear that a lot. She had written something, which obviously meant she could write, but she couldn’t focus on the important parts of what she wanted to say, and get it within the word count limit of 200 words.

I had her dot-point the main reasons she wanted to study and work with the RSPCA. I then matched those dot points with the text she had given me (close to 600 words). I then used very economical word choices, cut out a lot of fluff, and still said exactly what she had said, but I managed 199 words. And yes, I did go back and see where I could add just one more word, but thought the better of it.

She was very happy with the result 🙂
These two jobs highlight what it is I like about copy writing. Being creative in a tiny little box. You still have to use all your skills as a creator and a writer, but you have these hard rules defining what and how to use your creativity, and still produce something which makes sense, and fits all the checks and balances of the creative brief.

So, while it was a quiet week in regards to volume, it was good to exercise those parts of my brain, just to know I can still do it if I need to.