Tag Archives: Blog

2012: Blogging in review

I certainly found this really interesting! I had no idea what kind of posts people actually prefer to see. Strangely, people seem to actually like my rambling…

Thank you to everyone who has visited in 2012. I hope you all have a fab New Year, with more fun things to talk about come 2013! All the best. xx

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Why do gimmicks sell?

Recently, I’ve been looking more at salability, marketing, and PR: what is it that attracts people to a product or person, what gives something consistent feedback, how do you make the product or person successful? I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, a professional. And these are merely a small collection of the observations I’ve made recently (and will, no doubt, not be agreeable to some people), but I am intrigued by the idea of looking into this further.

During my observations, I’ve become more aware of this ‘gimmick’ lark. Having an image that attracts a person, and this doesn’t even have to be an original gimmick. Take pop music, for instance. You could probably list a vast number of artists that, at the very least, draw on another artist’s previous looks or style. Many new artists will even list these former works as being ‘influences’, which makes the imitation flattery.

As an example, I recently came across a band called Ricky Rebel Rocks (electro pop-rock, I believe is his music genre). Looking at images for his Manipulator album (also the title for his new single); the first thought I had was: “he looks like Lady Ga-Ga and Britney Spears’ love child”. Ricky lists artists such as Madonna, Bowie, and Prince as his influences. And I can certainly see where those influences have found him. He actually has quite a likable quality to his voice (which you’ll hear on some of his live performances, if you choose to listen). But, I think what many people have a Marmite moment to (Vegemite to you ‘foreigners’), is his incredibly camp stage presence. He flirts, he’s incredibly cheesy, he booty bounces and grinds… coupled with lots of simple lyrics, and pretty warbling. Strangely, I actually find the whole thing rather endearing. Some of the songs I’m not such a big fan of, but it was watching the video for Straight Jacket that caught my attention, and I’ve begun to warm to the whole thing overall despite it not being my normal choice of music. It’s all just a bit of fun!

Whilst Ricky still only seems to perform locally (L.A) at the moment, I can really see his pop-y style, L.A good looks, and sense of fun really begin to push him on the up-and-up. Is this down to image, or is this down to very cleverly playing for a certain demographic? And will this alone keep him where he no doubt wants to be?

We then have artists that tend to hold their work up as the sole reason for them to perform. It’s raw, it’s emotional, it’s real. But will it sell? There are so many talented artists out there with beautiful voices, wonderful lyrics, and have that “girl/boy next door” quality. But many of them seem to go undiscovered, unless they resort to shows like x-factor, Britain’s Got Talent, The voice… as an example. Despite being incredibly talented, they’re tangible and, as an average person, you can relate to them. A few of these types I’ve come across recently are artists (not all in the public eye yet) such as: Jodie May, Lucy Spraggan, Butterfly Boucher, Becky Higg, and so many more…

I refuse to watch things like ‘The Charts’ and ‘Top of the Pops’ (if that’s even going anymore). I hate this endless parade of “popular” music; often carbon copies of something else, with very little ‘real’ content to offer. Actually, I don’t think it’s so much the pop, but more people telling me what everyone else likes, so therefore I must too. I’ve since realised that it doesn’t really matter what the genre is, I’ll either like it, not really bother with it, or I’ll hate it with a vengeance.

So what does give a band/artist staying power? If image pulls them in, is it that image what keeps them? I’m inclined to think not. Pop (this can also include some of the new-ish rock bands as ‘popular’ music) is often something that seems fad-like. One hit wonders, and overly eccentric acts, tend to be interesting for a short time, but grow old fast. I’m sure they’ll still have their hardcore followers (some of the 80’s/90’s pop acts I remember still have a small group of followers wanting them to continue or reform).  But bands that consistently seem to evolve, grow, change, develop, and satisfy their audiences… well, they seem to be those that concentrate more on their craft. The work they produce as well as their image. Bands like: Smashing Pumpkins, Avenged Sevenfold, The Cranberries, The Who, Madonna, Blondie, and so on…

It appears that, no matter how much raw talent you have, you still have to work on yourself as you would a brand – you have to pimp yourself out to the masses. You have to have an image, a persona, a product, or gimmick that will pull people in… this doesn’t have to be anything particularly flashy, but something that sets you apart in some way. That makes people want to know more about you and what you do.

Once you’ve found a way of pulling them in, you then need to keep them there – interact! My pet peeve is people who go on and on about being ‘for the fans’, and yet rarely seem to be interested in what their fans have to say. Us ‘fans’ buzz off acknowledgement, even if it’s just to click ‘like’ or ‘favourite’ on a post. A little gift for us, so to speak. The people who will buy your music, your book, your merchandise, go to your shows, and sell you to others. That’s right: a loyal fan, that feels valued, will continue to push you. They will post links, recommend shows, tell their friends… and so on. They’ll promote you for free.

[edit: addition] If we go back to the Ricky Rebel example, one of Ricky’s diehard fans, Rachel, seems to be on a one woman mission to ensure he takes over the world. She has a blog and twitter page devoted to him, becoming so much a part of his PR and creative processes, that his new management team (PDR Talent) have actually pulled her on board. I’ve recently just seen YouTube video with her offering to drive a vehicle for fans to follow Ricky to shows. Who could ask for a better fan? And let that be a lesson to you!

You can’t underestimate the value of positive interaction with loyal fans – they are the ones that support your career afterall.

Related Reading:

Mainstream success

What record labels are looking for

Defining your style

How to get signed

The real cost of signing to a major record company

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One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you so much to Suzanne for the unexpected nomination (I’m glad I make you feel guilty – we should all read more)! Suzanne’s blog is mostly centred around writerly stuffs, such as her projects, progress, work she’s willing to share, and NaNoWriMo! Go check it out – she’ll make you feel guilty for not writing and editing more.

As with many of these awards, you need to copy the picture and post it somewhere in your post. Write seven facts/fun things to know about you, and link to five other bloggers you’d recommend (don’t forget the “why”).

You need to know:

  1. I am having a threesome this November with two smexy fellas – we’re co-MLing (Municipal Liason) for our region during NaNaWriMo.
  2. I hate being too warm, to the point where I even avoid putting the heating on in winter despite the house being the kind that gets cold really easily.
  3. I often look like I dressed in the dark. For example, today I’m wearing black and brown horizontal stripped dress, black formal trouser, scruffy hoody, and multi-coloured, spotty wellies over my trousers.
  4. My backyard looks like a jungle with the crazy weeds, and various plants making their homes amongst the paving slabs (darn forest behind the house getting the better of me!).
  5. I hate marmite, and once tried to feed a marmite sandwich to the family dog (who only ever disliked lettuce) so my dad wouldn’t make me eat it. She refused to eat it – clear proof that it’s worse than dog shit.

The nominations:

* From Bogans to Mormons – A blog I find incredibly inspiring, creative (food and crafts!), as well as thought provoking… from a strong, brave woman!

* The Color of Lila – she’s not afraid to speak out (for or against certain ‘issues’), she’s honest, blunt, and stuffed full of information.

* One Thousand Single Days – a woman choosing to remain free of attachments for 1000 days to deal with her issues, to pursue her own dreams, and to explore life on her own (whilst reporting on it in her blog).

* Nymphdupave – a passionate, creative, vivacious, and thoroughly awesome friend. She writes too.

* Keeping this real – a brutally honest account of dealing with a life affected by alcohol abuse, as well as full of resources for those wanting more information.

Welcome to the award! In order to accept the award, you must follow these four steps:

  1. Copy and paste the award logo onto a post.
  2. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. List seven things about yourself.
  4. Nominate five other blogs.

Now go forth and spread the blogging love!

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Liebster Blog Award – accepting & spreading the karma

Oh my! I’ve been on WordPress since just after new year 2012 (when I joined ROW80) and, when I joined, had only an inkling of what a wonderful community existed here. It was the snippets of warmth, companionship, comraderie and support that lured me here to begin with and it certainly feels like the best move I made!

One of my lovely blog friends left me a comment on one of my blogs (A-Muse-ing Adventures) to inform me that she’d nominated me for a blog award on hers (Liebster Blog Award – accepting & spreading the karma) – I couldn’t believe it! In all honesty, I had no idea what one was but an ‘award’ is rarely a bad thing, I’m sure.

For those of you that don’t know:

Leibster is German & means ‘Dearest’ or ‘Beloved’ but it can also mean ‘Favourite’ & the idea of the Leibster award is to bring attention to blogs with less than 200 followers all in the spirit of gathering more connections

  1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  2. Reveal your top picks for the award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Post the award on your blog.
  4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the blogsphere – other bloggers.
  5. And, best of all – have fun and spread the karma.

It really is a wonderful feeling to have someone say that your words, whatever they may be, help to inspire or give them the desire to create something new (these thoughts have been explored within A-Muse-ing Adventures), and I am truly touched that abumptothehead believes my words to have that effect at times. I am so thrilled that I even came to mind when she was to think of people to pick for this ‘beloved blog’ award. Thank you!

In the interests of sharing this feeling, and offering recognition where recognition is due, here is a list of the blogs I wish to show my support of (they must have less than 200 followers – I’ve had to remove some people that I could see had lots from this list because of it):

1. http://abumptothehead.wordpress.com/ – I am aware that this is the lovely lady that nominated me but I can not fail to draw attention to the fact that it is her blog that often inspires me!

2. http://shaggygirl.wordpress.com/ – full of useful advice, points for discussion and lovely images.

3. http://roboticrhetoric.wordpress.com/ – a lyrical blog that never fails to make me laugh, whatever the subject.

4. http://rantravewrite.com/ – an incredibly diverse blog that again, manages to make me laugh (I’m sensing a pattern here…)

5. http://moving-foreword.com/ – thought provoking and inspiring musings.

6. http://photobotos.com/ – such stunning pictures!

7. http://vikramroyblog.wordpress.com/ – discussions and reblogs re: art, literature, humanitarianism and society.

8. http://depressioncookies.blogspot.com/ – informative, inspirational, supportive… what more could a woman ask for?

Well, I am sure I have taken up quite enough of your time already. I hope that I can continue to provide pieces that others enjoy reading.

Happy blogging!

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Can you top that?

I’ve been spending the last couple of days trawling the internet trying to find opportunities to improve my writing, as well as finding markets to submit my work. My main goal at the moment is to build a portfolio of ‘published’ work, whether that be via working on a charity project writing articles, blog posts or updating their website content; or actually finding a suitable magazine, ezine or other area that I can submit to gain these ever elusive ‘credentials’.

Penny (or many) for your thoughts

I remembered this morning that I hadn’t even checked the Writer’s and Artists Yearbook which have in print for 2012. I decided to pull up the website for a quick browse with the morning coffee and the first thing I saw was button that read:

Do you need a professional opinion on your book idea?

What on earth is this? I thought. Curiosity got the better of me and I clicked the Book Idea Service button. Well, blow me down with a feather.

£119.99 to have a group of ‘professionals’ review your idea and tell you if it’s a good one. What?? (Yes, I used two question marks – I am that shocked.)

Can they guarantee that you’ll become a successful author? I doubt it. Even with the best idea in the world, there are no guarantees that your books would sell, so there are no guarantees that this money will be recovered. You can’t claim it on expenses. It’s a frivolous expenditure that is completely unnecessary. I’m sure they are ‘professionals’ that can spot a strong idea but they’re clearly exploiting the fears of new writers that worry about wasting their time on work that may not become published.

Kudos to them for finding this little cash cow. I’m intrigued as to how many people must take them up on the offer with it being such a prominent advertisement from a reputable source.

At a glance

The premise of the service sounds quite appealing – to have some unnamed professionals browse through a structured submission (they will not accept it if it doesn’t meet certain criteria) and give you a report as to how strong your idea is.

But surely you could visit forums for free where people who live, work and breathe within the industry would happily offer you advice, opinions and guidance on how to develop your ideas so that they are strong – for no charge at all. They merely do it because they love to help.

Better still, you can target those that would read your genre of work. Aren’t they the best people, given they’d be the ones buying it in the future? Again, no charge.

Examples are community pages on facebook such as: How many pages did you write today? (search for what you want and see what comes up).

Online: NaNoWriMo, ROW80, Writer’s Digest, Holly Lisle and Gaiaonline.

There are so many sites dedicated to support and discussion that it’s not possible for me to list them all. I know that even local libraries, coffee shops and bars sometimes have writer and critique groups. Or you could set up your own…

Make your own path

So, deciding that you don’t want to shell out more money than a starving artist could afford, but you still want support. I’d recommend finding a good guide like Becky Levine’s Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide, she also has a fabulous WP page though the blog post: Thankful Thursday: Ideas is probably more relevant to this specific post when discussing ideas. More information on her book can also be found on Writer’s Digest with links to an excerpt and interviews.

The moral of this blog post? You don’t need to pay some big shot lots of money you need to make sure you’re developing a good idea!

Happy writing!

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Plan and Progress – 19 Jan-20 Jan.

The Plan & Progress

0000-0100: Brainstorm & Plot subplot/existing chapters (research where necessary).
0100-0130: Write or Die min 1,000 words on novel.
0130-0200: Read Book 3
0200-0230: Write or Die min 1,000 words on novel.
0230-0300: Read article/blog re: craft of writing
0300-0330: {Food}
0330-0400: Write or Die min 1,000 words on novel.
0400-0430: Write1Sub1 – explore/plan
0430-0500: Write or Die min 1,000 words on novel.
0500-0530: ROW80 – blog comments/network.
0530-0600: Short story ideas – brainstorm/list.
0600-0630: Internet browse/basic research for short story.
0630-0700: Write or Die min 1,000 words on novel.
0700-0730: Outline/write short story.
0730-0800: Network/browse.
0800-0830: Find new markets for SS submissions.

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The plan and progress: 18 Jan-19 Jan

The Plan & Progress

I’ve decided to just title these posts as what they are (plans) so that noone wastes their time if they don’t want to view schedules – not the most exciting thing in the world, I will admit.

I slept through my alarm as I was up later than planned this morning, so the plan has shifted by an hour and I’ve added some extra time at the end. I’ve not included official breaks in this plan as I’m finding a lot of the tasks I’m finishing early anyway, or some lend to a bit more free time.

0100-0200: Brainstorm & Plot some more novel chapters (research where necessary).
0200-0230: Write or Die min 1,000 words.
0230-0300: Homemade lasagne (part one: prep) & may browse ‘net.
0300-0330: Read craft of writing articles/blogs.

*http://marisa.com.au/?series=how-to-write-a-book-2

*http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/index.html

*http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2009/11/21/why-authors-should-write-a-series-of-books-patricia-cornwell/
*http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/2009/11/nano-tip-8-meta-documents/
*http://abookinside.blogspot.com/2010/01/are-you-considering-writing-book-series.html

0330-0400: Write or Die min 1,000 words.
0400-0430: Read book 3 for BCC challenge.
0430-0500: Write or Die min 1,000 words.
0500-0530: Homemade lasagne (part two: bake) & may browse ‘net.
0530-0600: Write or Die min 1,000 words.
0600-0630: Homemade lasagne (part three: eat) & may browse ‘net.
0630-0700: Write or Die min 1,000 words.
0700-0730: Internet browse/basic research for blog/short stories.
0730-0800: Brainstorm short story ideas.
0800-0830: Brainstorm blog post ideas.
0830-0900: Explore x1 idea (blog) – make notes/basic outline.
0900-0930: Explore x1 idea (short story) – make notes/basic outline.

I feel that I tend to waste a lot of time on the internet when much of what I do can be done in less time, I usually just ‘hang around’ until someone posts. I’m trying to encourage more of a structured time away from the internet so that I’m using the time I do have it when something needs doing or something’s actually happening. ie/ I’ll still be networking and posting, but not quite so erratically (I hope).

Edit:

Over 5,000 words written.

WIP The Rising: 22,890

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