Thursday, November 18, 2010

How to Make More Money

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Yesterday evening I spoke to the Port Orange Scribes about self-promotion and blogging. I've also got other speaking engagements and training sessions lined up with groups that aren't writers, and last Sunday I led a discussion for a group I started about modern relationships. It was pretty exciting to do!

Though my speech last night dealt mostly with how to get your writing career jumpstarted through blogging, the precepts apply to any creative endeavor, be it singing, acting, painting, interpretive dancing, and so on. In fact, many of the precepts translate well into ANY kind of business.

As an interesting aside, I made the news! Here is a link to a bunch of Port Orange news stories, and they've got one about me! (It will probably only be there for another few days, so look quick!) When I found it this morning, it was most of the way down the page. Just search for my name and you'll see it (if it's still there.)

This is what I said to the Scribes:

Hi, I'm Jaycee Adams, and I'm a writer. I'm a teacher. I'm a speaker. I'm a promoter. And I'm a blogger. Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you about one of my passions.

You want to make a career out of writing. What are the most important elements to accomplishing this, the elements that are absolutely important?
  • Write something good enough that people want it
  • Get the word out to as many people as possible
To be good at something, what are some of the important things we must do?
  • Study others' writings on how to be better
  • Practice your craft constantly
  • Learn from others' direct teachings
What are some of the tools at our disposal to be better writers?
  • Reading blogs written by agents, publishers, and other writers, of which I have several I follow (check out my profile)
  • Readng books like the one you want to write
  • Joining writing and critiquing groups who will help you find errors in your book
  • Entering writing contests
  • Our computers, or a notepad and pencil to write with
All of these require that you WRITE something.

To get famous, what are some of the things we must do?
  • Put yourself out there; you can't stay home
  • Be newsworthy; do something that gets attention
  • Make connections; you can't reach everyone yourself, so you need friends
What are some of the tools at our disposal to get more famous?
  • Local news outlets and blogs looking for a story (TV, radio, paper, blog, etc)
  • Attending public events, like book signings, but also charities, volunteer work, festivals; get out there and meet people
  • Making new friends and networking connections
  • Asking your friends and networking connections to talk about you to their friends and networking connections
  • Posting links on places you frequent: forums, emails signatures, blogs, facebook pages
  • Other forms of traditional advertising
  • Get really lucky and have someone discover you
All of these require that the right person notices you, likes you, and gets his 5 million friends to like you too. Luck does not control THAT you get discovered, it only controls WHEN. Even then, the faster you build your fame, the sooner you become famous.

I'm here, of course, to focus on one of the most powerful tools at your disposal and how to use it effectively: sleeping with Angelina Jolie. Whether you like her or not, it is a fact that anyone who sleeps with Angelina Jolie is newsworthy.

But if you can't swing that, start up a blog. Why?

A blog accomplishes a number of things all at once.
  • It's WRITING, so it counts as practice.
  • It's a centralized location so people looking for you can find you.
  • It's a networking hub so you can meet other people and get them to help you.
  • It's an advertising tool, and it lets you say anything you want.
If you owned Walmart, you wouldn't dream of forgoing a website that told everyone where you were, what you have, and how they can buy stuff from you, would you? Name any large company, name any reasonably famous person, place, or thing, and there's a website about it for people to find out more about it. ALL businesses that expect to graduate beyond the home office NEED a website. It's the new Yellow Pages and then some.

A blog takes this website idea one step further with up-to-date information about you, AND it shows people what you have to offer, AND it allows them to interact with you and get to know and like you. It can be hard to sell your product, so instead you have to sell yourself. Hollywood has known this for ages, and that's why they spend so much effort on making actors seem likeable.

Angelina Jolie is so likeable that people go to see movies just because she's in them. Even if it's a bit part, they'll still go to see her because they like her. If she endorses something, people buy it because they like her. Luckily, Angelina is also talented. People know she's going to deliver. They trust her to play roles they like and to be in movies that are worth watching. If you want to tap into that power, you have to be a good writer and you have to get out there and be known. You have to sell yourself. YOU are your real product, whether you're a writer, singer, seamstress, architect, or bonsai sculptor.

You're a writer, and blogs need written material constantly. What better way to give out free samples of your work to show people what you've got, get them interested in you, and like you?

Being able to reach people has always been key to getting a message out. Whether you're standing on a stump, on the TV news, or blogging, it doesn't matter. The tools have gotten more powerful and cheaper, and right now, the tool with the most bang for the buck is a blog.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don't really "get" blogging, or they don't know how to make the most of it. Some don't "get" the internet at all. Some don't even "get" self-promotion. I'm here to help you out with that a little.

I've covered why you should HAVE a blog. Before I discuss how to use it, I'm going to tell you how to GET one.

There are a bunch of blogging tools out there. Wordpress, Yahoo*, MSN*, even Facebook and Twitter are using blogging techniques. The blogging tool I use is called Blogger.com, and it's run by Google. The reasons I prefer it are:
  • It's very easy to use
  • It's capable of doing almost anything you can imagine
  • Virtually all the professional blogs from which I learned about publishing and writing use it
  • For the money, you get a lot of picture and video storage space; you're not likely to run out, unless you're posting large porn videos, and then you can start another one.
How much does it cost?

It costs one gmail account.

All you have to have is a gmail account - no money - and then you can start creating your own blog, networking with others' blogs, and getting the word out about how fantastic you are!

Here are a few of the tools available to you with Blogger.com. 
  • Your main page is continuous - it has several stories available and you control how many show up at a time
  • Your secondary pages are just static information pages. We all need at least one of these to tell people the stuff that doesn't change often.
  • You can insert a BREAK so you don't have HUGE articles gobbling up your main page
  • Easy to put pictures in and move them and get thumbnails
  • Easy to add hyperlinks
  • Easy to handle reader comments
  • Easy to adjust settings, letting you decide how much or how little you want on your site
  • Easy to design the look and feel
  • Widgets - there's tons of them
  • Ads - you control how many, or if there even are any. You can get income when people click on them
  • Sharing links is very easy
  • Adding a real domain name is very easy
  • You can set it up to post in the future, so tht one day you feel like writing 10 articles can be spread out to cover the next 9 days when you want to take a break
  • Free statistics to tell you which articles are getting the hits and where your readers are coming from!
  • Tied in to Picassa, which is an online picture repository
What should your blog be about? What should you write about?

Write about whatever you want! You can see that on my site, I have a LOT of topics. I find that anything to do with celebrity gossip, horoscopes, and popular topics draws attention, so you can talk about that, but you should focus on what it is that your books are going to be about. Being an everything blog is too diluting for your audience - it makes it hard to grab and keep an audience - but if you focus on a niche and serve it well, you will become very popular in that niche. It's not limiting yourself, it's becoming an authority on a topic, and it's simply the best way to go about it.

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 I then gave a short demo on how to get signed up and started up, and then challenged them to create an article, post it on my site, and get their friends to read and comment it so they could see for themselves how easy it is to do.
Statistically speaking, there's a 60% chance that ONE of the people I talked to will actually follow through and take up my challenge. It's sad, but most people are not actually serious enough about themselves or their writing to put even the most cursory amount of work into it. They come to a writer's group and think that's progress. Sure, it's a step in the right direction, but it doesn't mean you've made it to Tahiti. To accomplish something, you've got to DO something. If you can't even motivate yourself to handle your own best interests, how do you expect to motivate others to help you?

We'll find out how many people are serious about getting published in the coming days. Even if no one participates, it's not going to stop my public speaking and teaching. I've already got several speaking/teaching engagements coming up, if you know where to look.
















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Other articles you'll find interesting or useful:
Dear Mel Gibson
Expose Yourself #2 - Straight to the T.O.P.
Shh-it's a Secret!

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1 comment:

  1. Great article from someone who attended the Port Orange Scribes meeting and heard you speak.

    JW Thompson
    http://www.myspace.com/jwthompson1
    http://www.freewebs.com/jwthmpsn/
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/J-W-Thompson/136105451065
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtCIJgSk5cw
    http://jwthompson55.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete

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