What Not To Do Wednesday on Over-Doing Social Doings (or Pardon Me, There’s A Media Monkey on Your Back)

I watched one of those packaged specials on the news last night about people spending too much time on Facebook. Something like “Facebook Addiction–Where Will it Lead?” The piece had a rather ominous tone, I must say.

I suppose there are folks out there who can’t do without their Facebook fix. Or Twitter tips, or listening in on LinkedIn, or connecting with any of a dozen other social media messaging. Whereas I can walk away anytime I want.

Sort of.
Here’s the thing, grasshopper. From a business standpoint, social media has value. I think Twitter might be better for massive marketing, but I like Facebook for blogging connections. And I like Facebook for personal connections, too. So I want to stay social media savvy. But when I jump into Facebook or Twitter, or even blog surfing, I can easily use up hours.
HOURS. And though I come across tons of informative posts (because seriously, there are a ton of brilliant folks out there, sharing their expertise), I may get a teensy bit carried away, reading one post, zipping to another…then another…then another.
Until I look up and dang. It’s lunchtime and I haven’t written a single word (unless you count scathingly brilliant comments here and there. Which I’m counting. So there.).
But pithy comments do not a manuscript, essay, or short story make. And so I’m forced to face the ugly truth: I may…okay, okay, I have a social media problem. I usually deal with it by going cold turkey for a week or so. And then I ease back in, using moderation.
So don’t over-do the social doings, grasshopper, at the expense of your writing. Write FIRST. Or if you need a little warm-up, set a limit for how much time you’ll spend, media socializing. Then stick to it.
Because when you think about it, it’s your brilliant writing that you’re trying to promote and sell. Pour hours into that, grasshopper, and then use social media to tell the world.

(We shall discuss the proper way to exploit one’s self, using humility, dignified grace, and monkey-mad media marketing skills at a later date.)

Starting the New Year with a B-B-B-Bang!

You know how I think of the most scathingly brilliant things in the shower? I just toweled off so fast, my hair is still dripping. BUT, I had to share my scathingly brilliant way to start 2011.

In checking my calendar of last year, I noticed an alarming trend. To wit, I start with a bang and fizzle out. So, I thought I’d capitalize on my Big Bang nature and bang out a couple of goals in the first few weeks!

Introducing the Big Bang B & N Followers Contest! Here’s how it works: You tell your followers about Cathy C. ‘s Hall of Fame and her brilliant contest. They scurry over here and follow me, telling me who sent them (and leaving contact information). One lucky NEW follower will win a $20 gift card from Barnes and Noble! And there’s more…the faithful follower who sent them ALSO wins a $20 gift card! YAY! I’m ending the contest on January 24th; new followers can post a comment on any post during that period, as long as they fill me in. So spread the word, my faithful friends and followers. I’m in a hurry to bang out my goal of getting over 100 followers. Because let’s face it. By May, I’ll be all “followers, schmollowers.”

If you’re like me, you start the year thinking of all the submissions that will fly out from your brain and into an editor’s hand. Except that your brain’s still in an eggnog-induced, turkey-overloaded fog. You need something short to get the old brain ball rolling. Here’s TWO competitions, with NO entry fee, that just happen to begin with B. Brilliant!

For fun and games, try the Binnacle Ultra-Short Competition. Even if you don’t win (Um, you should know that they get about a gazillion entries), you’ll jumpstart those sluggish neurons, working on your 150 word poem or prose. And lots of folks get Honorable Mentions. Why not you?

The Bevel Summers Prize for the Short, Short Story is accepting stories of 1,000 words till March 31, 2011. Now, I know it’s from Washington and Lee University and you’re thinking it’s all hoity-toidy (is that how you spell that?), but honestly. I know many of my followers are gifted short story writers who could win this competition and 250 bucks. So brush off your best short story and send it. I’m sending one of mine.

That’s how you get to be a better writer-and how you eventually get published. Oh, and don’t forget to send me your followers for a chance to win big bucks and bust my budget for the year. Now, let the New Year begin with a B-B-B-Bang-and let me go dry my hair.
P.S. Couldn’t start the year without a word from Cathy-on-a-Stick. She says, “Hey.”

What Not To Wednesday on Marketing and WIIFM

Yes, grasshopper, today we’re talking about marketing. But don’t think you can skip out because it’s marketing. It’s marketing having to do with writing. And I’ll try to be quick about it.

A few years ago, when I first started column writing, I willingly, happily gave my columns to a regional magazine. For free. I needed to learn the ropes, and fortunately for me, a local rope dangled right there in front of me. I learned quite a bit about deadline writing, fitting in the word count, and being funny whether I felt funny or not. So, it was all good.

After a year or so, a new publisher bought the magazine and I worked out a compensation deal for the column. It was all, um, good-er. And then I thought, as Webster is my dictionary, I’ll never write for free again!

Now, I can’t tell you what to do, grasshopper (though that is kinda the point here at WNTD), but making absolute statements is not such a good idea. Like when it comes to writing for free. Sometimes, I’ll write something for free. Because sometimes, I just want to lend a helping (writing) hand to a friend or colleague. But other times, I’ll consider WIIFM.

I didn’t know there was an actual acronym for “What’s in it for me?” but you learn something every day. I learned that tidbit when I read Jane Friedman’s spot-on post, “The Most Important Marketing Acronym: WIIFM.” She makes a few excellent points on marketing. And you might want to read the comments, too. You’ll find some excellent points among her readers’ views.

I know what you’re thinking, grasshopper. WIIFM has kind of a harsh ring to it. So maybe a new acronym, more polite-sounding, is needed (with the same sentiment). How about “PAPTDAFFYASMYCRTF.”

Hmmm. My next What Not To Do will be on Southerners and why we shouldn’t put them in charge of writing acronyms.

*Pleased As Punch To Do A Favor For You And Someday Maybe You Can Return The Favor