Metrics? We don’t need no stinkin’ metrics! (pt 2)

Even God created man to be noticed, he told himself.

This is the second post in a thread on author marketing metrics, specifically about some fascinating advice I got through a Facebook group (that spawned these posts). Part 1 provided a cantankerous but realistic intro to the subject of author marketing metrics.

What follows is someone’s sincere advice broken down one item at a time because it makes it easier to isolate assumptions and test rigorously.

The key to using Twitter is to get noticed. – Read no further if getting noticed is your endgame. You want to get noticed to sell books? That I get. You want to get noticed to schedule more signings? That I get. You want to get noticed for the sake of getting noticed? Do something stupid on Youtube. It’s easier and might be fun.

My point is getting noticed whiteout a reason to get noticed is (to me) foolish. You waste time and money. Using myself as an example, I’m not on Twitter to get noticed. But I never joined any social network to get noticed.

So first, figure out why you want to get noticed. What’s your endgame?
Continue reading “Metrics? We don’t need no stinkin’ metrics! (pt 2)”

Metrics? We don’t need no stinkin’ metrics! (pt 1)

Tanri bile farkedilmek için insani yaratmis, kendini anlatmis

Have you written a book? Do you market it?

Extremely important question that, “Do you market it?”, because if you market it then you want to know which marketing is effective (yes, we’re back to the ROI discussions).

Knowing which marketing is effective involves numbers. Not “Look what I can do!” but “This number tells us something. We may not like what it tells us but it’s telling us something we can use to do better.”

You may be spending money on things but that’s not marketing. Example: My tweets. I tweet for fun. It’s a relaxation for me, something to do when I need a break from writing, and it probably shows. I long ago gave up believing I would sell books via Twitter. A few here and there, sure, but to make that a profit center?

I don’t have that kind of time.

More correctly, the time necessary to turn Twitter into a profit center takes too much time away from my writing. I want to improve my writing. I can be a crappy author and a great social marketer, a mediocre author and a mediocre social marketer, a dynamite author and a crappy social marketer.

I’ll take Door #3, Monty! And I must be doing something right because Mary Elizabeth Jackson said in Writers’ Corner Live’s interview with Sergio Troncoso “Joseph’s a great author. You have to look him up” (it’s up around 30m49s) and she talks to lots of authors so she should know!

Caveat Emptor Continue reading “Metrics? We don’t need no stinkin’ metrics! (pt 1)”

A Good Samaritan Suggested…

Beware those boring and dull people. They can exhaust you.

A kind hearted soul read my LinkedIn profile and offered assistance.

I read through his suggestions and thanked him. The Samaritan’s suggestions are based on his belief that I must want a job. He has this belief because he wants (and just got) a job.

I have no such desire. In fact, I actively tell people I’m not for hire. If they insist, I quote my fees. They are considered high. They are high because I don’t want to return to the life I led before authoring full time.

Quoting those fees puts a stop to them.

But let me blend my past and present professions for a bit. A standard problem in marketing is not understanding the audience. Unless you’re in the target audience your opinions don’t matter. Funny that this is also a standard problem in writing workshops and critique groups: unless you’re familiar with the genre don’t critique the storytelling, critique the storycrafting.

In marketing, critique what will cause desired consumer behaviors and actions. If you’re not in the audience for the types of sneakers your client is selling, don’t critique the sneakers, critique how the sneakers are presented.

But let’s go over the Samaritan’s highlights…
Well you started by saying you think you’re boring and dull. Who wants to hire someone like that?

Well…no one, I hope. That’s why I wrote it that way.

You then say your friends would say otherwise- so you’re not boring and dull, but you think you are.

I explain my penchant for self-description in Inside the Worlds of Joseph Carrabis, author of The Augmented Man. I have no desire to be around someone who self-describes as exciting, thrilling, et cetera.

Do you like to be around people who self-describe as thrilling, exciting, et cetera? Really? I like rollercoasters. Watching them. I like space-diving. Watching it. I’ve had enough adrenaline pump through my veins in my life. Now, a warm fire, a good single malt, feeling my wife’s hand in mine, playing with our dog and cat, these are exciting and thrilling enough for me.

Want me to advise you on being thrilling and exciting? That I can do. If you’d like. I charge a lot, though.

Besides, who you going to believe about me? I may have an overblown ego (can you say “self-aggrandizing behavior”? Can you say “lying about yourself”? Can you say “They looked good on paper”?). You wouldn’t be able to trust any self-referencing statements I make.

But lots of other people who say roughly the same things about me? Even if it’s 180° different from what I say?

In the world I came from, that would be considered market research. It’s a must for success in business. Probably in life, too, although few would call it market research, me thinks.

Let me give you an example. Long ago I mentioned I’d done “a little research” on something. Most of the people in the room politely smiled. Most of the people in the room dismissed me. One person asked, “What’s a little research, Joseph?”

“Not much. About fifteen years so far.”

Back to my Good Samaritan
That makes it seems like you’re not confident in yourself and might not be confident in your work.

There’s a fascinating phenomenon known by most people in the psych fields as “If I am a thief then you must steal.” It means people apply their own filters to others. If the Samaritan started with “I consider myself boring and dull” he’d do it because he has no self-confidence.

Me?

I do it because I don’t want to be bothered. I know what exciting and thrilling is and don’t qualify.

At the end you have a bit about the “don’t buy into the boring and dull line,” but employers aren’t looking for your life story- they want something quick and snappy or they’ll move onto someone else.

I can but hope. An employer not doing due-diligence on an employee commensurate with the position they want to fill is an idiot. A quick and snappy review of my credentials ain’t gonna happen. If I come up in a search for something “quick and snappy” then either the search algorithm is crap or the person doing the search is an idiot. Anybody wanting “quick and snappy” will hit my profile like a wall and quickly and snappily move on.

To which I reply, “Success!”

Check out my about section- it’s short, it’s to the point, and most importantly it allows people to finish it and move onto my experience. You’ve got a good deal of employment, but people scared off by a big wall of text won’t get that far.

But you, Good Samaritan, did. (and wait, there’s more)

…but on LinkedIn, you’re competing with other people. If it’s between someone who says “I’m the best person in the world” and someone who says “I think I’m boring” to get the job, they’re going to go for the vain, slightly annoying person, because they’ll give that one a chance to show they’re not full of it.

Fascinating and I suspect my Good Samaritan won’t last long in a recruitment position. The vain, slightly annoying person is going to annoy co-workers, customers, managers, …, they’ll probably be high-maintenance and an HR headache.

Give me the boring and dull person. Provided they have the background, credentials, references, et cetera.

My Good Samaritan offered a rewrite:
“I’m a master storyteller with a sharp sense of humor. I work to aid businesses in promoting top level research as well as multicultural understanding in my field. In my free time I write speculative fiction and conclusive nonfiction, and aim to help others follow their bliss every day.”

Fascinating Deux. He’d have to read my entire LinkedIn profile to get some (and not all of that) and then read through some of my blog posts and/or google me.

About half an hour after his first message came in, I received:
I just saw that you’ve got great reviews on Amazon- that should be a starter. You barely even mention that to start out, I’m a published author on Amazon with a 5* rating is immediately impressive.

And a half hour after that:
… one click away shows you know what you’re doing with your writing because you have 5* reviews on Amazon. I’m a published writer. Click. Bam. There it is, people can see you have books for them to purchase, right now.

In all cases, my “boring and dull” line made him work to find out more about me.

Let me emphasize that: My “boring and dull” line made him work to find out more about me.

Well, not quite. It’s my “boring and dull” line juxtaposed with other people’s opinions of me. People don’t like confusion. Minor confusion they’ll investigate. Major confusion they’ll back away from.

The “more” you’re waiting for
First, I completely agree that I’m not going to get called in for lots of “quick and snappies.”

That noted, I did get under my Samaritan’s skin. More appropriately, I got into his head. I stayed there long enough for him to do lots of research on me. Chances are I’m going to stay in his head for a good long time simply due to the effort he put in researching me.

That happens a lot. I don’t get lots of requests from people – my profile causes major confusion to people seeking quick and snappy. The requests I do get demonstrate come from people already convinced I can help them – they solved their minor confusion.

They’ve done their due-diligence.

My work here is done.

Social Media Demands

In all things, only what brings you joy

Another author recently wrote me “I am struggling, not without hope, to get over being overwhelmed by social media demands. A great tool, but where do you find the time to work on your writing?”

The answer to this question has long intrigued me. Especially when several people comment on my social expertise.

My first thought is, Moi? Surely you jest.

Several authors tell me they put as much time into their social marketing as they do in their writing. I’ve read some of their work.

I totally agree they put as much if not more time into their social marketing as they do in their writing. It shows. I want to ask “Do you want to be liked or do you want people to like your work?”

I mean, you can drown in the crap that’s out there now. One fellow asked me to write a review of his book. I couldn’t get past the first paragraph. I declined and politely suggested he get an editor to go review it. He already had an editor. Two, in fact, and a story coach and a publisher.

Really? And your book still sucks this much? Amazing.

For myself, craft is everything. I want my writing to stop people in their tracks. I want their world to go away and my world to take precedence. Could be why reviews of my work include statements about missing bus stops, staying up through the night reading, things like that. One person, at a recent reading, commented that my subject matter was painful but the writing pulled them right into the story. Yes!

So social marketing comes second or third or forty-fifth to me. I don’t do it every day.

I also have another rule for social marketing; enjoy it. If you’re going to do it, enjoy it. Make it pleasurable. Do it to give yourself and others a smile.

Here’s what I suggested when asked:
I only go social when I need a break from my writing. To me, developing my craft and producing product (stories, et cetera) is everything. I believe that producing quality work causes everything else to happen, so developing my craft comes first.
Sometimes I need a break. Maybe I’m stuck on a plot point, maybe a character isn’t behaving, maybe I’m just tired of developing a storyline. Okay, go online and say hello to a few folks.
I also have a core belief that we’re here to help each other succeed, that a success for any one of us is a success for all of us, so I trumpet others’ successes as much if not more than my own.
So work on your craft first. Go social when you need a break, need to warm up, something like that.

Behavioral economists reading this will go all blathery about altruism, freeloaders, cheaters, et cetera.

Don’t waste your time. I wrote that I do it when I need a break and because I enjoy seeing people succeed; a rising tide kind of thing and maybe they’ll remember me when… So much for altruism. I’m not looking for reciprocity. So much for freeloaders and cheaters. Besides, I reward people who help me – I promote them through my mailing lists – so freeloaders and cheaters die off quickly.

May not be the best strategy. Works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you.

Rita Mae Brown’s “Starting from Scratch”

A Writer’s Mechanic’s Manual for Any Car on the Road

Okay, first thing and before anything else, Get This Book!

I don’t care where you are in your writing career, Rita Mae Brown’s Starting from Scratch will give you a chuckle (several hundred, probably) and clarify things that were not only muddy, but had been pushed aside because they were just too damn hard to figure out.

Worry no more, Rita’s got you covered.

 
I didn’t know who Rita Mae Brown was until a friend suggested I give her a read. This was back in the early-mid 1980s. He thought she was brilliant and hilarious.

That didn’t tempt me.

Then he told me she could benchpress 225#.

Yes, I was that much of an assh?le (may still be) that that caught my interest.

But I didn’t pick up one of her books (that I remember) until my first go-round as a writer. That book being Starting from Scratch.

Reading the book recently, it’s obvious I had read it at least once before; there were highlights in it. There were highlights of concepts I remember, if not exact phrasings. Truth be told, I was probably unprepared for the book when I first read it (my copy was published in Feb 1988). I’m glad I kept it around.

Starting from Scratch is a mechanic’s manual of the English language. Brown explains the purpose of first v third person POV with duh! level examples and lots of them. Ditto subjunctive case (trust me, you need to read this section). Ditto strong v weak verbs (another must read). Imagine someone showing you a crescent wrench and a 9/16″ box-end, showing you they can do the same thing, then demonstrating why one works better on these types of nuts, the other works better on those types of nuts.

Her Exercises chapter…remember what I wrote above about being impressed by her bench? Here’s your cardio and resistance training in one incredible package.


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