Writing Exercise: Self-Promotion

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Self-promotion is self-care. Getting a better job so you don’t have to work as hard, getting your books seen, finding the best fit for you by letting those around you know you are looking for a better fit. Whether for day job or the write job, self-promotion is necessary.

I know we all be taught “pride goeth before the fall” – but it is actually “an haughty spirit before a fall”. It isn’t pride/satisfaction in a job well done, or letting people know “we did this” that is the road to destruction, but rubbing it in, immersing yourself in raising yourself over others and not seeing the worth in them as well as yourself. Raise up others, raise up yourself.

As we enter the time both of seasonal depression and of the winter holiday gift-giving season, I thought a little focus on self-promotion is in order. 25% of books are bought during the winter holiday season in the US of A (https://publishingperspectives.com/2020/11/npd-one-in-four-books-is-purchased-in-the-usa-during-the-holidays-covid19/#:~:text=Just%20to%20clarify%20the,of%20its%20annual%20print%20sales.). If you are a writer, October is the beginning of SELL-season. If you are a day-job worker, well, the summer graduates job hunting is done, the high school and college interns are settled, and the HR departments need to fill in slots left by parents who thought they could work and have the kids be in school at the same time and discovered otherwise.

So here is the Exercises for this month:

  1. If you are impacted by seasonal depression (and, be truthful to yourself, the answer is yes, you are … everyone is), do one of both of the following for your house. (a) Replace any and all burnt out light bulbs. Light up the house! (b) Buy one new lamp to put in your work area or reading area or somewhere shadows bring in the gloom. 
  2. For the day-job, do one of the following: (a) brush off the resumee, clean it up – what have you been doing new on the job? what non-profit work have you done? Just give it a good scrub – but the short one to send into places and the long-time tracking so if you pivot your job, you have things to add. (b) If you like the company you work for, go hang out a moment with HR and talk about what you would like to do. See what other opportunities are there and if there is mentoring or training available. Make yourself attractive. (c) If you need to stretch your wings, send out a couple-few resumees. See if there are any bites. Take three nights and send out one a night.
  3. For the WRITING EXERCISE, for three nights this month and three nights in November, do self-promotion of your works on the social media platform(s) you use – facebook, blog, youtube, instagram, tik-tok, etc. Let people know where to find your stuff – short stories, novellas, art, whatever you have created.

Comment below where you self-promoted and what you marketed.

My attempt
I let a lot of things slide for a long time during COVID, but I’ve been kicking things back in gear, posting in the blog and on my Facebook page, as well as participating in some flash writing for a facebook group.

And don’t forget Honestly is still out there on Amazon to purchase or reading through Kindle Unlimited.

Writing Exercise: Read an Industry Book

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Doggo is reading about dogs because his career is being a dog, and like anyone who want a distinguished career, he constantly studies. For just a job to put food on the table each night, you don’t need to work as hard, but a life-long career – the ins and outs need to be explored.

Carrie Vaughn mentioned in a Facebook post:

When I was 16 I told my mom I wanted to be a writer, and she came home from the library with a stack of books with titles like “How To Get Published,” and “So You Want To Be a Writer?”, and “Here’s How to Write Stuff and Get Published” and so on. Some of the info was conflicting and there was a lot to go through, but I held on to the stuff I thought was useful and started going to conventions and reading magazines and following careers I wanted to emulate and absorbing everything I could about the business. I still do.
If you want to get into the book business, do the research. There’s a ton of info out there. Learn. There’s no shortcut to this part.
I found the above post when Melissa McArthur, the editor-in-chief for Falstaff, shared it on Facebook on September 8, 2017 with the following add-on: 
Yes. You have to do the work. It’s a business, people. If you want writing to be your career, it’s a job, just like any other. Learn the tools of the trade, learn the ropes, learn the people, and work hard.
Personally, one of my annual goals is reading a writing or publishing book. This year, I’m sharing the joy.
WRITING EXERCISE: Go to your local library (online or in person) and check out a book on writing or publishing. Could be a how-to, a what-to-expect, or a what’s-happening. Read it. Comment below with the book title and ONE thing that really stood out as you read it. I’ve done “Save the Cat“, “$30 Film School”, “How to Write Magical Words“, and “The Thrifty’s Author Guide”, to name a few.
My Attempt: See the book reviews for Save the Cat and How to Write Magical Words.

Other Cool Blogs: Self-Publishing Formula 3/29/2019

Public Domain – scanned from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Date of publication: 1892; Publisher: G. Newnes )


One of the considerations when publishing is the format to deliver the story. Are you aiming for a stand-alone novel, a series of short stories scattered over various anthologies, or a high fantasy series the likes of which will rival Robert Jordan? If working in the visual medium, you would be considering a movie, commercial, or TV series.

The story and the delivery format interact. For some stories, the format is obvious. While other times the format is required by contract, and it shapes how the idea becomes fully realized. Publishing is a business, and the formats available to an author may impact the ideas chosen for writing to bring food to the table.

Multiple book deals tend to be preferred at this point in time, by author, publisher, and reader. Everyone knows what they are getting into. The question then becomes – Series or Serial?

Aren’t they the same thing? I hear some of you ask. Well, a serial is nearly always a series, but a series isn’t always a serial.

I found this cool blog/vlog post which breaks it down: Series vs. Serial: What’s the Difference (appears on Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula, 3/29/2019, written by Tom Ashford) – last viewed 3/9/2022: https://selfpublishingformula.com/series-vs-serial-whats-the-difference/#:~:text=Put%20simply%3A%20a%20series%20is,correct%20order%20so%20as%20to

In other words, The Simpsons is a series, but not a serial. Bart and Lisa don’t grow up, Homer stays the same. In one episode, the whole town might burn to the ground, but everything resets in the next episode. Similarly Sherlock Holmes short stories, released via magazines and newspapers. Individual stories were serialized, requiring readers to pick up the newspaper several days in a row. But the overall world remained the same between narratives.

Most romance series have through-plots, but most can be read as stand-alone stories. Meaning they are much more like a series (similar characters and world) than a serial (hard and fixed timeline). On the other hand, most High Fantasies are very much serials, following in the footsteps of their granddaddy, The Lord of the Rings. Science Fiction groups of narratives are mixed – some of them following the footsteps of their newspaper tradition of serials in releases, but series between narratives, The Adventures of Flash Gordon, for example. While other science fiction mixes with High Fantasy, following wide-ranging multi-planet narratives, like Dune.

Recently Amazon started Vella (https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/): “Serial stories to read one short episode at a time”. It would be interesting to join this experiment.

Other Cool Blogs: Medium 10/16/2021

A friend, Murray “MJ” Blehart, writes for Medium and posed a question on 10/16/2021, “With Only a Few Readers, Can I Still Call Myself a Writer?“.

This is a question approached from a dozen different angles by writers I know. Some just starting out, some suffering from Imposter Syndrome, some long-term writers through non-standard mediums, etc.

“I just write fan-fic.” — guess what, that is writing. You are a writer.

“I’ve never posted anything. I just write to write.” — Still a writer.

“I’m only self-published and only sold three ebooks outside of what my mom and best friend bought.” — Wow, not only a writer, but a PROFESSIONAL writer. (If you have ever been paid for words you made, that makes you a professional.)

Some people think writing is a straight, broad path everyone shares, but is is more like a trail system in a national park. No single path is the best or most interesting. Some people just want to go a little ways into the woods. Other people take in their survival gear. Some people stick to level ground, other people need climbing equipment. Fan-fic, podcast scripts, blogs, short stories, non-fiction articles, novels, sequential stories, hobby, distraction, income stream, – each is a different path.

Just like a hiker is a hiker, no matter the trail, just so long as they are walking – a writer is a writer so long as they are creating words. A professional writer has been paid at least once; an author has completed a manuscript.

Comparing paths between writers is like comparing trails – they are all beautiful, complicated in their own way, and appropriate for exploration – but saying one is more “right” than another is like comparing a sunset to a cloudless day.

But, central to the question MJ is asking, is how does Readership impact being a Writer. In my opinion, it doesn’t. I write because I enjoy it. Most people do. Reading adds an interaction to the writing and helps me improve my writing – just like taking a trail with another hiker will point out things you have never seen before.

On the other hand, Readership is a business question. I have mentioned before the hats a Professional writer needs to wear. Once writing is chosen to be more than a hobby, and instead an income stream, consideration of Readership (not just readers) comes into play. Switching hats from the word-smith to the word-seller, what is “selling” (bringing in the money) must be considered. Only a few readers means not making enough to “earn a living” or at least covering the cost of writing (my goal). I will write a future blog about finding Income Streams in the Writing Trail System.

Read the original article and write comments below on what you think. Again, the link to the original post is here: https://mjblehart.medium.com/with-only-a-few-readers-can-i-still-call-myself-a-writer-ae754b2db012

Other Cool Blogs: Hollywood Reporter 4/14/2020

Photo by Neil Soni on Unsplash

Keeping track of intellectual property law is essential for creators – whether photos, writing, editing, drawing, websites, programming, woodworking, etc. If created by mind and hand, knowing the rights and protections related to your income is essential to charging correctly for your labor. How courts interpret intellectual property protection within social media impacts advertising choices in dissemination to the potential audiences.

And last year had a biggee for the visual arts. “Court Rules Photographer Gave Up Exclusive Licensing Rights by Posting on Instagram” (The Hollywood Reporter, Eriq Gardner, April 14, 2020) — link includes the actual court Opinion. – https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/court-rules-photographer-gave-up-licensing-rights-by-posting-instagram-1290170/ (last viewed 4/6/2022)

TL;DR version – By posting on Instagram in public mode, the creator gave Instagram permission to share (with sublicense) content with its users royalty-free. Therefore Mashable could publish (and make money) on the work. In other words, post on media where everyone can see it, you have no content control and lose your intellectual property rights and income. The argument by the defending lawyer is Instagram is the only way to Advertise now-a-days. The answer by the courts is, yes, we see that but too bad.

How do you make a living without giving away samples your work and destroying your income base in the process?

That is the question. For me, it’s doing all my writing in a blog I pay for and control. I post links from Facebook and other social media locations to here. And yes, I know FB and the social medias throttle back posts with links that take you outside their application, thereby killing my ability to reach the audience without paying for advertising. My choice is retaining my intellectual property rights over the ability to create cash inflow.

What do you think? How can you reach an audience without destroying the value of your creativity?