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Free: Here, There . . . Everywhere?

How much free is good for your marketing?

I’ve written bunches about using “free” as a marketing tool. Generosity is your greatest marketing tool. Don’t use it sparingly; spread it around like manure and watch things grow.

Generosity and free aren’t the same thing. Generous can include over-delivering on what you were paid to do. I’ve had generous helpings of fish at our favorite chippy in St. Paul. Paid for, but still generous. When you hire me to help with your writing and publishing, generosity will be ladled over you like gravy. Good white gravy like we make in Texas for your sausage and biscuits; that kind of generous.

mailboxes

My newsletter is also an act of generosity, one which also happens to be free. Membership, though, is stalled out at 140 of you good folks. When we hit that magic number, a couple people unsubscribe, and then someone else finds me and we roll back up to one Tweet’s worth.

One thing I realized is that the signup form simply offers “more information.” Not the most enticing offer, perhaps. I considered giving away something more; a whole book, maybe?

Continue reading “Free: Here, There . . . Everywhere?”


Why Knowing (and Respecting) Your Genre Matters

isn't it cozy?Another musical analogy: young bands call their music “like nothing you’ve ever heard” so often it’s a cliche.

Really? Klingon opera has some similarity to music I know. Hey, Ornette Coleman’s free jazz has similarities to music I know, and that’s more of a reach than Klingon opera.

When I tell folks my music sound like Bob Dylan meeting David Gray for drinks at Roger Miller’s house, that doesn’t diminish my artistic individuality. It just gives potential listeners an idea what they’re getting. It prevents lovers of Klingon opera or free jazz from showing up for my living room concert and smashing up the furniture because they don’t like the music, thank you very much Igor Stravinsky.

But if they show up and don’t witty lyrics, a country feel, and occasional darkness or melancholy, they’ll have every right to riot because I set expectations I failed to meet. Continue reading “Why Knowing (and Respecting) Your Genre Matters”


What Are the Biggest Changes in 21st Century Publishing?

Control over launching. Nobody has to wait to be picked.

Control over quality. You choose the editor, cover designer, interior layout, marketing. All of it.

Control over profits. You have a hope of affecting sales by the other things you control.

Expectation. Publishing a non-fiction is rapidly becoming an expectation for an entrepreneur. I frequently ask folks who’ve shared something brilliant “Where can I buy your book?”

Next question: When are you going to do something about it?

(Because this is such a short post, I’m including an incredibly cute photo of my Little One from a long time ago.)

Aw; isn't she cute?


A Second Chance for First Impressions

We all know the cliché: “You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Opinions formed during the first moments of a relationship are usually long-lasting. This leads to all sorts of social manipulation to make a good impression: dressing your best, smiling a lot, leaning forward in your chair, all that stuff the job-hunting websites write about.

Recent science teaches us that’s less effective than the advice your mom always used to give you: “Just relax and be yourself!”

Why do first impressions matter? Do we have any control over them?

surprise: not the best first impression
Continue reading “A Second Chance for First Impressions”