Saturday, January 31, 2015

Social Media

It caused me to think.

I just got an endorsement on Linked In from someone I don't know on some sort of thing that I don't really do. That amazes me.

I get a lot of friend requests, more than I can have without going over the limit so I don't accept them all. I accept the ones I know or sometimes people I know are writers and who have a large number of contacts in common because I know that will expand my own contacts. That means the ones I don't accept get counted as 'followers' and it's good to have a nice size number of followers too.

I keep getting added to groups and other sites. I get out of such groups immediately. I'm funny that way. I like to control the number of things that I'm in and groups that I follow and if I want to be in a new one I will join it myself. I'm still having trouble believing Facebook allows people to put us in a group without our permission. Getting an invitation to join something is one thing but just being put in is something else.

I don't play games. I'm sure it would be fun but I just don't have the time. But my Facebook wall is clogged with game invitations. I think if you start getting too much on a particular one that you can go stop that but there are a lot of them. I do stop one occasionally.

Social media can waste a huge amount of time. It is addictive and we really have to be careful how we budget the time we spend on it. My computer is on and by my side  14 or 15 hours a day and if I'm not by it my email and Facebook is on my phone. I see a lot that is going on even if I'm not participating. But most of my business is done by email so constant monitoring is a must.

Still, even though I fuss about some of these things social media can be very valuable for writers and even for us lowly agents. One of the greatest things a writer needs is name identification . . . visibility, and social media is critical for selling books and social media can be a valuable tool in accomplishing that. I have contact with family, friends and school-mates that I had virtually lost contact with them. As long as it is not overdone that is very nice.

Writing can be a very solitary pursuit, often the families of writers do not understand. Social media can help with this problem, can provide contact with people who DO understand and get feedback and information when needed. I have a mandatory private group of my clients, where they can choose to be an active member or just receive priority messages when I want to send something to all clients at once. Most choose to participate, and the ones that do have become a very tight group, a family, and they have turned out to be a group of prayer warriors for one another.

So it has its little nuisances, but social media is much more help than hurt. For me it is a necessity.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It isn't personal

I hear it all the time.

A writer gets a few rejections and they take it personally and many quit trying to write. Others quit submitting and decide to go the self-publishing route. I have nothing against self-publishing, I've done some of it myself, but if it is done it should be a business decision weighing the pros and cons and never just as a knee-jerk reaction to getting a few rejections.

A few rejections are part of the business of being a writer. Our work may only fit at one place in the entire publishing industry at any given point in time. A short time later it may still only fit at one place but now it is a different place. It is all about getting a submission in front of the right person, at the right place, at exactly the precise time it is needed.

By definition that means many are being sent to a person or place that is not looking for what we are offering. And timing is critical. It can be too early, too late, just did one like it, don't have an open catalog slot for it right now, any of these means it is not a fit at this time. It also means knocking on a lot of doors before we find a place where all of the pieces are in place.

If we knock on the door and the pieces are NOT in place they are going to tell us it isn't a fit right now. There is absolutely nothing personal about that, just telling us whether they have a place for it or not. It can't be personal, after all, as they probably don't know us well enough for that. It's probably not even about the writing, but about the fit for their market.

Actually, to the degree that it MIGHT be personal is a great thing even if it is a no. Not often do editors take the time to point out why they didn't connect with a work or what might could be done about it. Such input is very valuable and should be strongly considered. Not that we should greatly change a project on the basis on the opinion of one editor, not unless we really see the merit in what they are saying and agree with it. But it should be given great credence and strongly considered. And if similar advice is given from more than one source it definitely should be addressed.

But most of the time it is not personal, the person responding is just telling us that it does not meet that elusive person, place or time. At least not now.  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Anybody besides me having trouble getting untracked and getting going in the New Year?

Okay, I was sidetracked a little by the young man in the picture, Grant Jackson Hendrichs, Beau for short. He's my fifth great grandchild and was born on Elvis' birthday, January 8th. His parents picked the middle name Jackson early as it was a family name but agonized long and hard over the first name. They eventually settled on Grant without realizing that they had linked up to both the top Union Civil War general and the top Southern general. How diplomatic of them. They took to calling him Bocephus while they were trying to decide so the name Beau stuck as a nickname.

Anyway, back home and trying to get back to work is a challenge. I have things to do that were put off during the holiday season as the publishing industry all but shuts down anyway. That practically insures that it is time for a lot of 90 day follow ups on client submissions.

Then there's the matter of getting back up to speed on where all client activity stands. All of my clients are in a private online group and we pretty much stay in touch with one another but even at that it can also be a challenge juggling all the balls and keeping them up in the air without dropping anything.

Of course there is also the natural tendency to put off getting started on activity. I've always intended to become a procrastinator but somehow have never gotten around to it. Then again, sitting here ruminating on this blog is also putting off getting to work.

Guess I'd better get after it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

I don't do resolutions


I hope 2015 is a wonderful year for you.

Will you be making resolutions? I don't have much luck with them. The only resolution I can remember successfully keeping was when I resolved to not make any more of them.

A resolution is something we HOPE to do in the new year. I prefer to set goals rather than make resolutions. A resolution is pass or fail, we either do it or we don't. A goal is something we PLAN to do in the new year. And it is possible for us to make progress toward our goal even if we don't reach the target that we are shooting for.

A resolution tends to be a rather nebulous thing that we generally hope to achieve. A goal tends to be very specific and progress toward it can be quantified and measured.

I also plan to worry less because of the way I pursue my goals. Worry is stressing over something that is really beyond our control. Planning is thinking something through and taking action designed to achieve goals that are realistic and within our ability to accomplish them. If I have things that are beyond my ability I plan to turn them over to the Lord instead of worrying about them and simply trusting Him.

I'm not knocking it if you are one that likes to make resolutions, I'm just saying it doesn't work for me. Whichever way you go, as I said, I hope 2015 is a great year for you, packed with happiness and success. I really believe it will be such a year for us all.