Mar 012017
 
Picture of Oprah in red dress and yelling "you get The Inner Critic Advantage." Everybody can go home with The Inner Critic Advantage.

I created a meme of my Oprah Show fantasy…

She laughed at me

Several years back, at a publishing conference, I had an opportunity to speak with some industry veterans.  One was gracious enough to take a quick look at the marketing plan I was working on. I was encouraged… until she laughed. My inner critic went a little bit nuts. I wanted to crawl under some furniture or run from the room.

Fortunately, she noticed and said, “I like you. You may be the only author in America whose plan does not include the words ‘Get on Oprah’s show.'”

I know why so many people wanted to do that: marketing an indie book can be h*ll on wheels. Granted, some of this is as a result of self-inflicted wounds caused by lack of feedback from beta readers, editing, and proofreading. But even excellent work has a hard time getting through the avalanche of media and advertising readers see every single day.

My Inner Critic is up to no good

Personally? I need to take a closer look at the role of my inner critic in all of this. While I’m able to harness her powerful warnings to complete writing projects, she’s still pretty shrieky when it comes to self-promotion. (“Get your ego in check!” “It’s not polite to talk about yourself.”) She has gotten a little sneakier and has a New Age-y approach as well: “Stop bothering people. If they’re meant to find you, they will.”

Thank goodness for readers and other writers who help share about our books, our blogs, our events and our news. You are truly a gift.

And, if you’d like to be part of that giant online support group but don’t know where to start? Here are three small actions that are a huge help.

Reviews. Especially on Amazon and GoodReads. They don’t have to be long to be meaningful. “The author presents helpful information with a light touch.” Or, “I found the story captivating.” Expert tip: If you are personally acquainted with the author please don’t mention that in your review. It’s a red flag for “fake review” and could cause problems for the author. Also, if you’re a relative… especially one with the same name? DON’T POST A REVIEW. (See previous example.)

Facebook page likes and engagement. Have you ever seen the “invite friends to like page” feature on the right-hand side of your computer screen? If you “like” an author (or any page) your friends are more likely to follow suit — if you ask them to. And once on a page? Participate. Comment on and share posts.

You rock. We love you

Genuine interaction helps get attention for our work, keeps authors motivated, and lets the inner critic of self-promotion know it’s OK to go somewhere and take a nap!

What’s your favorite way to help amplify an author’s message? (Please share in the comments section. Every little bit helps!)

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Is your brain still kicking your butt? You may not be at fault…. What if you’ve been following the wrong advice? Click to download 3 Reasons to Stop Fighting Inner Critic and find out about something you can do instead.

3 Reasons to Stop Fighting Your Inner Critic

By the way, this really is a free gift and not some gambit to capture your email address for marketing purposes.

If you like what you see here? Please connect in a manner that suits you: e-mail (slowest), FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramAmazon….  And, if not? Please enjoy your gift with my best wishes.

 March 1, 2017  Posted by  E, Happiness, Inner Critic, Social Media 6 Responses »
Feb 152017
 

girl giving feedbackAre you a good parent? How’s your writing coming along? Your physical fitness program?

Regardless of the area of inquiry, we all need feedback. We want to know that we’re doing well. We really want to say ‘yes.’  But has it ever occurred to you that the answer to that question depends, in large part, on who you ask.

The “smalls” often give an A+ grade to a parent who:

  • allows fast food for breakfast,
  • doesn’t enforce bedtime, and
  • provides unlimited screen time.

Elementary school kids might award highest honors to parents who:

  • believes them when they report they have “no homework.”
  • run interference with any teacher who corrects them,
  • and are certain the director of the school musicale plays “favorites.”

By middle school the stakes are higher; the “three i’s” come to mind:

  • i-phones
  • income and
  • independence (the later the curfew, the better, right?)

Silly?  Not really.  Far too many of us allow our definition of “good parenting” to come from our kids.  It’s not unlike grandparents who want to hand out gold stars — as long as they’re getting their own way about sharing holidays and visits with the in-laws!

I once took a course from Chicken Soup for the Soul co-founder Mark Victor Hansen. He often referred to “feedback” as “the breakfast of champions.” He and his team used a variety of methods for collecting input before launching books and other projects. They were looking for weaknesses that could be shored up before going public on a larger scale.

That makes a lot of sense  — as long as we can rely on the quality of the feedback we’re. Back when we were in school full time, most of us learned to examine sources. Whether working on a research topic or evaluating news reports, we were taught to take an analytical look at sources and ask questions.

  • What credentials (including relevant experience) does the writer have?
  • Does she have anything to gain from the report?
  • Who disagrees with what he is reporting and what motive might he/she have?
  • Are there other, independent authorities with similar information or points of view?

It probably wouldn’t hurt most of us to apply this line of questioning to other areas of our lives. (I cringe when people invite me to hang out with “like-minded people.” How will I grow?)

Am I a writer who accepts “it’s good” from family members and close friends instead of useful critique from other, more accomplished authors and editors? How extensive is my review process prior to submission?

Do I ask fitness advice from my fellow couch potatoes? Or am I willing to make myself uncomfortable by attending classes with people who actually look good in yoga pants?

Useful feedback doesn’t always feel good but it makes us better.

How does this work for you? Please share your tips in the comments.

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 February 15, 2017  Posted by  Happiness 4 Responses »
Jan 172017
 

It was a beautiful north Florida day. Gentle sunshine. Puffy clouds. No humidity. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate? Besides, our little town never misses an opportunity to rejoice. Festivals. Events. And parades. Lots of parades. Along the parade route, we found a lightly shaded low brick wall — a perfect seat for those of us who rarely remember to carry chairs.

And then these people showed up.

couple holding MLK love sign

As they started to walk by my husband and I smiled and said “hello.” They did too. They set up their chairs beside us and we chatted a little. We talked about their involvement in Compassionate Fernandina.

A combination of “locals” and tourists continued to show up for the parade, some stopping to take their picture, others just saying “hi.” A visiting couple started to walk by and came back. He spoke with a thick accent.

“We need this. We need to be together. We are all too far apart.” He asked to take a picture. Then he spotted our new friend’s hat.

“Korea?” He nodded.

“Me too,” as he moved in for a hug.

For the next several minutes we talked about the island and their visit. Then talk turned to the Steelers. That’s right. Four of the six new friends chatting had lived in Pittsburgh.

“The Steelers won!” he said, beaming.

The parade had made the turn and was headed our way. The six of us moved to the curb to watch. Mr. Sang asked me why the town was hosting a parade and I told him it was in honor of Dr. King’s birthday.

“This is so great!” he said before jumping into the street to capture unobstructed photos of every single marcher.

We went our separate ways reassured that love really is the only force that matters.

 January 17, 2017  Posted by  Happiness 9 Responses »