Saturday, August 31, 2019

Writers Who Write About Writing

Image by waldryano from Pixabay

Marketing never sleeps -- Food For Thought (Vol. 3)

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my (eventual) grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who don't, yet) -- the Stickies -- to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

[The following column is rated SSC (Sexy Seasoned Citizens). If read by grups or callowyutes it may result in psychological/emotional/etceteralogical triggering.]



Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Star: Dana -- A gentlereader

"Writing is easy, all you have to do is cross out the wrong words." -Mark Twain

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& gentlereaders),

Fugiden. I'm just going to write. I like it.

[If this is your idea of a hot first sentence that will immediately hook the reader...]

I write from the heart and the brain, Dana. Inspired, of course, by my muse Marie-Louise. I've looked into how you're s'posed to hook readers, even how to make some money for your efforts. I've given up and decided to just roll with my intuition because:

1. Very few writers will ever quit their day job. Very few writers will ever generate more than chump change for their literary blood, sweat, and tears.

2. There's no such thing as consensus, not even close, from writers successful and otherwise, as to winning formulae.

I've recently become mildly obsessed with It's a site for writers of all stripes to showcase their writing.

There are virtual communities there devoted to writers writing about writing. There's no shortage of writers willing to teach writers how to write for a modest fee, or even for free -- if you sign up for their newsletter. Newsletters, it seems, are a very big deal.

One of the things that writers on Medium who write about writing write about is, somewhat obsessively, marketing. That's why you need a newsletter. Newsletters are about building a subscriber list -- for marketing purposes.

Marketing never sleeps. But to be fair, writers who write about writing regularly write about writing for the sheer joy of it. As a way for creators to uncork their creativity knowing full well that most creators, writers or otherwise, will never monetize their work.

[So it goes. But one well-crafted story/song/painting, hell, t-shirt, might just change the world -- for someone. You'll probably never know, but perhaps life will toss a couple of quarters into your karma bank.

Marketing includes trying to suss out the opaque, top-secret system uses to determine who gets promoted and who gets paid, why, and how much. If ya go a-googlin' 'round the web you'll encounter the same thing.

You'll encounter more advice on how to evangelize/monetize your work than you could ever possibly assimilate.

You can choose to go the technical route, become a Google Analytics maven and an expert on search engine optimization. That is to say, try and suss out what the Algorithmites are up to and how to please them. If you don't want to do this yourself there are no shortage of experts willing to help you out at all possible price points.

Be sure and sign up for the free newsletter! If you do you'll receive discounts on any purchases you might make in the future.

Alternatively, you could eliminate the middleperson, go down to the crossroads, and sell your soul to the devil. Don't think that's a thing? How do you explain the fact that _______ is obscenely rich?

There's another approach that combines analytics with (at least according to some, not me) selling your soul. In my semi-humble opinion as long as your audience knows where you're coming from any (more or less) legal way of keeping the wolf from the door that doesn't have a victim is nunya.

Nunya is Pittsburghese (with an h) for none of your damn business.

You can become some version or other of an influencer. If you can convince enough people how smart and/or cool and/or pretty and/or hip and/or popular and/or etcetular you are you can hawk products to the little people and get paid for it.

This is a huge industry that runs the gamut from people (and media outlets) that provide product reviews that are honest about the fact they're getting paid, to certain Celebs that are apparently incapable of accumulating enough money/adulation/time spent in front of a camera to be satisfied.

It's just not how I roll, which is my problem. In the highly unlikely event I ever become a Celeb I'll cross that bridge when I encounter a river of filthy lucre or a mountain of bills.

Fugiden. I'm just going to write. I like it.

I'm going to write about whatever I want to write about and beg for table scraps on my website via Patreon, Buy Me a Coffee, and Amazon adverts. Has anyone tried sacrificing whatever the appropriate animal is to Mercury? (god of communication). Call me...

Speaking of masterful marketing: many of those same Celebs referenced above passionately participate in the currently popular pastime of beating up on the evil 1%, which is morphing into the evil 10%, a club which any Celeb worthy of the name likely belongs to.

But even the evil one-percenters willing to declare themselves woke and publically self-flagellate themselves if necessary can avoid prosecution by the Intersectional Inquisition -- with the right marketing. Wokeness is even cooler than the current hot smartphone.

For example, in case you missed it, Kim Kardashian, famous primarily for being famous, has confessed she's embarrassed by her obsession -- with being famous. Fortunately, she has found mitigation for her angst. In her own words:

"Even in my darkest times I don't regret putting myself out there for the world to see, people have shared with me over the years how much it has helped them to feel less alone when dealing with their own adversity. I love having a voice and I appreciate the platform that I have been given."

She selflessly shared this with the world in an in-depth interview. By her husband. In Vogue Arabia. She's gonna be a lawyer too.      

[Vogue Arabia, what the hell is Vogue...]

Just click the link, Dana, There's lots and lots and lots of pretty pictures with minimal distracting text. Personally, I think she's shaped like the handbell that Sister Mary McGillicuddy used to call us in from recess with but...

I better stop there, S'ter Mary wouldn't approve. And I don't begrudge Mrs. West her fame or a single one of her many, many dimes. I am, after all, a wild-eyed libertarian and free marketeer (with a bleeding heart and conservative impulses).

Fugiden. I'm just going to write. I like it.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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P.S. Gentlereaders, for 25¢ a week, no, seriously, for 25¢ a week you can become a patron of this weekly column and help to prevent an old crank from running the streets at night in search of cheap thrills and ill-gotten gains. Just click here or on the Patreon button at the top or bottom of my website. 

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Or, you can just buy me a coffee.  

Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. I post an announcement when I have a new column available as well as news articles/opinion pieces that reflect where I'm coming from or that I wish to call attention to.

©2019 Mark Mehlmauer As long as you agree to include the name of my website (The Flyoverland Crank) and the URL (Creative Commons license at the top and bottom of the website) you may republish this anywhere that you please. Light editing that doesn't alter the content is acceptable. You don't have to include any of the folderol before the greeting or after the closing except for the title.


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