Love Your Corporate Copywriting Job

So you want to be a corporate copywriter. Why not? Who wouldn’t want to get paid to do something they love?

Well, you might not love it so much if you don’t believe in what you’re writing.

What do you do if you’re a staunch environmentalist and an oil company wants to hire you? Or you’re a strict vegetarian that can make big money writing for a big fast-food burger chain?

As writers, do we really want to sell our souls just to make money?

The good news is that we don’t have to!

By strategically using such online resources as LinkedIn or Twitter, it’s easy to connect to the companies we love.

The environmentalist can offer to write donor pleas for not-for profit environmental foundations or white papers for green energy companies.

And the vegetarian? How about contacting that local nutritionist to help them with their website or newsletters?

With small, independent companies sprouting up all the time, there’s lots of room for all of us to find that dream writing gig. Or two.

Just plug into whatever it is you love. Even if that something is money.

See you out there!

PS: Welcome to all my new subscribers. If you like what you’ve been reading, please click the Facebook “like” button on the sidebar of web version of this page.  And while you’re there, follow me on Twitter too. Thanks a lot!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

Measuring Success

Here in North America, one of the first questions you’re asked when you first meet someone is “What do you do for a living?” And because success is too often equated with money, status, and possessions, the rest of the conversation (and ensuing relationship) could very well hinge on your answer.

For authors, success should be measured by accomplishments, not by book sales. I’ve had many people (writers and non-writers alike) call me a success simply because I wrote a book and had it published. People seem astounded, without even knowing any sales figures.

And now I’ve written a second? Amazing!

So for all you writers out there, the next time you are disappointed at lagging sales, be proud that you were committed enough to see such an enormous project straight through to the end. I know it’s not easy. And I can attest to the fact that many people admire your efforts as well.

Come to think of it, the only ones who consider low book sales as a sign of failure are the traditional publishers. So self-publish away and hold your head high!

You’re already a success. Believe it.

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

The Say WEN Newsletter – “Don’t Forget Your Roots!”

I’m a firm believer in success. But I’m also a firm believer in remembering where you came from and, more importantly, respecting people who are still there.

So, my column in the June edition of the Writers and Editors Network newsletter is called “Don’t Forget Your Roots!”

You can learn more about the Writers and Editors Network by visiting their website.

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

No Book Fair? No Problem!

Last time we discussed how book fairs are an important part of any author’s Personal Appearance Tour. Many large urban centres and small towns and counties hold them at least once a year.

But what if yours doesn’t? No problem – you can put one together yourself!

Let me tell you what happened to me.

I grew up in (what was at the time) a small town. Although it’s more than tripled in size since those days there’s still a strong sense of community now. So when I released my novel Raincloud I was looking for ways to promote it there, sort of a “Local Boy Makes Something of Himself” type of thing. I had already appeared at two book fairs in the city where I currently live, so I thought I’d bring that model up to my hometown.

Here are some tips to consider should you ever find yourself in a position to put a book fair together in your (or any) town.

1) Find a municipally-owned downtown venue. With many small town downtowns suffering from the expansion of box stores (which are usually located far away from the town core), many municipalities love vendors who drive traffic downtown. And they express that love through a break in the license fee. Or, if you can find a place that will donate a space, even better!

Most halls and community centres have tables, chairs and a kitchen/serving area you can use for free as well. Just be sure to book early – some community centres are booked for months and even years in advance.

2) Develop a locally-themed brand. For example, if you live in Orange County, a simple brand like “The Orange County Writer’s Market” or, even better, “The Orange County Book Fair” would do nicely. Plus, by expanding your geographic area to an entire county, you have better reach.

3) Tie the event to a local foundation. A portion of the door receipts ($2 per person) could go to a local hospital or library, or some other common-interest foundation. No one will refuse to pay $2 if the money is going to charity and/or to cover basic operating expenses.

4) Contact a local celebrity to be a special guest. Know any published authors or community leaders that hail from your town? Call them up and invite them to headline.

5) Solicit volunteers. Family and friends can check coats or sell snacks and bottled water. Not that you’re looking to make a large profit here, but expenses have to be covered. Don’t forget to show your appreciation by throwing them a little party when the event is over!

6) Find participants. What good is a book fair with no writers? Visit area writers groups and tell them about your event. Invite them to participate. Get them directly involved!

7) Spread the word. Use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to announce the event. Put up posters, fax press releases to local papers, do whatever it takes to get the word out.

8) Crunch numbers. For a nominal fee (something like $10) an author can have the table for the day. Authors keep any money they make. Short of authors? Consider including artists of any stripe: musicians selling CDs, artists selling paintings, etc. Just fill those tables!

Also, as mentioned above, selling concession items can help offset costs.

9) Lose the guilt. Many authors feel like they’ve sold out should they become successful. Don’t do that to yourself. There’s nothing wrong with an author making money. Besides, anyone who becomes an author solely to make a lot of money needs their head examined.

Putting an event together like this takes a lot of effort. I know you’ll put on a great one.

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

The Importance of Book Fairs

The business model that many large books retailers have adopted almost encourages people to treat them more like libraries than stores. I don’t know how many times I’ve ventured into an Indigo store and spied shoppers sitting in those big comfy chairs, casually reading a stack of books until it was time for them to go – leaving the books behind!

Nothing like reading a free book, huh?

This can cause severe paranoia for the author hosting an in-store book signing. What if you personalize a book to someone (and in most cases you sign before they pay for it) only to have a staff member find it abandoned later?

Book fairs are different.

As stated above, book stores attracts browsers. But since there are no comfy chairs at book fairs, only serious book buyers ever go. Book fairs don’t happen every day (many only once or twice a year) so these readers really jump on the chance to expand their library.

You’ll also get the opportunity to network with other authors and small publishers.

Price of the table too much? Share with an author friend!

Best of all, because you’re selling directly to the reading public, that 35% commission the bookstore was taking now belongs to you. Goodbye to the middleman!

The one drawback of the book fair is the heady competition. Dozens, evens hundreds of other writers are in the room with you, all pitching their wares. But as I said in a previous post, smile and sell yourself. You’ll stand above the rest.

I’ve had great success at the book fairs I’ve participated in. They’re an important part of any Personal Appearance Tour.

But what if your community doesn’t hold an annual book fair? Take the initiative and put one together. I’ll share some tips on how to do that in my next post.

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.

Self Yourself Before Your Book

That’s right. It’s time to get in the spotlight.

Last time we discussed booking your personal appearance tour. Today I’ll tell you how the actual experience went for me.

One of many stops on the ‘Raincloud’ Book Tour!

First of all, the store managers were very accommodating. The table and chair were always set up beforehand, their staff was anxious to help, and in most cases I was offered a beverage from the coffee bar.

I hung my posters on the table, set up my stack of books plus a little information sheet about myself, and got my sharpie out.

And the people drifted by. Sure, an author in the store is a novelty but many customers are wary of a sales pitch.

So how do you get their attention? Just smile at each and every person who comes near and say hi!

For me, engaging the customers is the key. Sell yourself before pitching your book. I spent more time talking to the customer about themselves than about my book. I was genuine about it too; it was fun getting to know people.

And you know what? I signed a lot of books.

You will too. Just by being yourself.

See you out there!

If you’re a writer, write. And if you’re a reader, keep reading. We need you!

Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.