Category Archives: Branding & Platform

About sharks, by Ogden Nash

shark2 - Copy

Ogden Nash, on sharks –

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The Shark

How many scientists have written

The shark is gentle as a kitten!

Yet this I know about the shark;

His bite is worser than his bark.

 

 

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Writers’ conference tips

Lara and Stacy at a great conference (not in Vegas).

Lara and Stacy at a great conference (not in Vegas).

I attended a conference in Vegas a few years ago, and I was appalled at how people were dressed. T-shirts, shorts, flip flops. The chick at the greeting table wore a blouse cut down to her navel. I didn’t need my imagination.

Fifty percent of the people I met didn’t have a card.

Most of the people I met were dressed like beach bums.

Unfortunately, about 50% of the people I met and mingled with were drunk most of the time (okay, it was Vegas, but still!).

A bad impression? You bet!

Where to start?

If a huge conference in Vegas or NYC scares the heck out of you, look for a smaller, local conference. Better to flex your conference muscles when you’re not too overwhelmed.

What do you wear?

I wear a blazer and nice blouses over new jeans. Wear comfortable shoes – my comfortable shoes are dress Oxfords.

What do you have?

Have cards or bookmarks to hand out. If you don’t have a publication, you can still print your name, blog address, Twitter handle, etc., on a card. Collect cards from everybody and follow up with these people when you get home with a simple note.

After you collect a card or bookmark, remember a few specifics about that person (editorial chat, historic book chat, where you met, we laughed over the buffet). Jot these notes on the back of their card.

One-sheet

Also helpful, a one-sheet. Suzanne Hartmann has a great article (with her own example) on her blog. Click here for Suzanne’s example of a one-sheet.

Who do you talk to?

Try to talk to as many people as possible. Even if the first few people you meet are crazy-fun, hop around. Participate in as many activities as you can.

imagesCA1H24ZQWhat do you carry?

I suggest a carry-all for what you collect along the way – books, bookmarks, brochures. Consider a satchel with a shoulder strap in case you need two hands (one for coffee, one for shaking hands).

Since electronic devices are not 100% dependable, carry a small pad and a few pens.

Hydrate!

Carry water and a few small snack bars. It may be hours before you get a decent meal.

How should you behave?

Show up on time for sessions. Turn off your cell phone. Pay attention and participate in discussions.

What do you talk about?

Don’t talk only about yourself, your blog, your book, your this and that, but do have a sentence memorized about your book or project, in case you are asked. Don’t be pitching all the time – ask others what they are working on.

Know the presenters

Before the conference, Google the scheduled presenters and write a few small facts about them on note cards. I did this for the Vegas conference and consulted these cards before each session – it was helpful in a few cases when I got to talk one-on-one with a presenter.

At the bar Beer-Bottles-

With most conferences, alcohol gets introduced into the equation. My advice – don’t drink too much. One glass of something then switch to bottled water. You don’t want to leave a bad impression because you made a fool of yourself.

Find the right genre

It would be silly if you wrote only horror and went to a women’s lit writing conference or if you wrote only poetry and attended a mystery writers’ conference. Check out these conference lists and you are bound to find the right conference, in a good area (close to home), and for the right price.

Poets & Writers, conferences and residencies

NewPages.com, writing conferences

Association of Writers and Writing Programs, programs and conferences

Opening photo from Stacy Stenberg Jensen. Stacy is a writer and blogger in Colorado. Her new website goes live in September.

Lara Schiffbauer is a writer and blogger. Her first book, Finding Meara, is available on Amazon.

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Have you attended any writers’ conferences? What advice would you add?

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The name my mother gave me

Hi. I'm Karen. This beautiful woman with me in my Mommy.

Hi. I’m Karen. This beautiful woman with me in my Mommy.

Karen who?

I am going back to my maiden name – Sanderson.

Publishing

I will publish a collection of poetry (hopefully this year) with the name that Lois Jane Holmes Sanderson gave me – Karen R. Sanderson.

Karen Sanderson being silly...circa 1960-something.

Karen Sanderson being silly…circa 1960-something.

After the poetry, I plan on pubbing a book of historical/familial short stories, after that a collection of horror.

Realization

I realized I didn’t want my ex’s name on any of my work. Especially since he was no cheerleader or even tolerant of my dreams to write or publish or edit.

Six freaking months old...I'm on the typewriter already! And I have an audience!

Six freaking months old…I’m on the typewriter already! And I have an audience!

Same stuff, different name

The Word Shark blog will be the same, and the website will be the same. And FB, and LI, and Google+ plus, and Twitter, and email…

Except where you used to see Elliott, you will start to see Sanderson.

Moving forward

Over the next few weeks I’ll morph from Karen S. Elliott, The Word Shark, to Karen R. Sanderson, The Word Shark!

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Filed under Blogging, Branding & Platform, E-books & E-publishing, Editing & Proofreading, Personal Articles, Social Networking, Special Events

What is “branding?”

brandingBranding – what the heck is it?

An “expert” came to me with a proposed guest blog about branding. I looked at her site, Twitter, Fan Page. Her site had a rheumy picture and bland copy. Her Twitter had five tweets (still has five tweets months later), and her Fan Page had four posts in six months. Each site looked different. There was no consistent message. What kind of branding is that?

Why would I follow her advice (or feature her on my blog) when she can’t brand herself out of a paper bag? Couldn’t brand herself with two hands and a map.

In proper Word Shark fashion, I started to research. I Googled “branding.” I read a bunch of blogs and articles. And I asked my connections what they thought.

April Michelle Davis Editorial Inspirations – “My website, business card, print materials, and everything about my company has the same colors, fonts, look, and feel.”

I think the theme/scheme is important. You don’t want to be pastels and floral on one page, and dark and gruesome skulls on another page. You want your colors and your feel to translate from one page to the next.

Shark and bluek

If you look at my Fan Page, you see a shark in blue water. If you look at my Twitter profile, you see a shark in blue water. My website – shark and blue. My blog – shark, blue.

Published writer Ilil Arbel – “Personal branding is positively grabbing someone’s attention by creating a unique, unforgettable image. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. Each one of us has to develop their own USP – Unique Selling Proposition – to communicate our brand, as the big corporations do.”

Ilil digs deeper – “Yes, I think branding goes deeper than a logo and a color scheme. It has to create an image that is strong enough to be remembered by concept, not just shape.”

Going deeper

I like what Ilil said about going deeper. Branding is not just a color scheme or font. It’s what you stand for, it’s what you deliver; it’s following through on promises and conducting oneself with professional integrity.

Public identification

Elizabeth H. Cottrell of Heartspoken and Riverwood Writer says, “Branding is the development of a public identification through marketing, imagery, logo, and consistent messaging. In includes everything related to social media activity, advertising, etc. In a nutshell, it’s what pops into people’s minds when you or your company name is mentioned.”

k 2Consistent messaging

I try to put forth a consistent message about the importance of editing and proofreading. I like to introduce new writers, bloggers, poets, musicians, and artists in my special monthly features. I am a bit (a bit?) sarcastic at times, but try to present it in a humorous fashion. I share what I’ve learned and pay it forward.

Consistent message

Artist and illustrator, Janice Phelps Williams – “Good branding is nothing more than knowing who you are, who you want to be, what you are good at, what people will respond to, and how to live your personal and professional life in a consistent manner. It is being consistent in words, in graphics, in subject. It is being focused and knowing where the boundaries are. These are the only rules I focus on. I don’t really think of my brand, but I know when something ‘doesn’t feel like me.’”

Doesn’t feel like me   

There are certain bloggy features that don’t feel like me, i.e., book reviews, interviews, or constantly hawking myself or my services. So, I just don’t do any of those things.

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What is “branding” to you? What is your consistent message?

“Become someone worth knowing. Then your book will become something worth buying.” – C. Hope Clark

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