Marketing: How does one “sell” oneself?

I guess I can say the only thing in my life I sold was candy, particularly in grade school. Do you remember the selling contest schools had to raise money? I remember signing up to raise money, and I filled out this form to sell M&Ms and Reese Cups to raise funds for a field trip. It never worked because I eventually ate the candy they gave me.

Candy is sweet, it’s the guilty pleasure of the healthy and a regular meal for those with a meticulous sweet tooth. It sells better than sex…Maybe not that much.

In the career world, selling yourself is tough, to say the least. Persuasion is your best weapon, but some edges of persuasion are like dusty gemstones every person has to polish in order to land a job.

Even with a glimmer, you have to appeal to the employer and know how to stunt your glow. That’s the issue I’m having today. I know I have the luminous aura of a professional but something is eclipsing it.

It could be a unclear resume, a mediocre cover letter, or perhaps experience. Lately, I’ve been getting hit with the inexperience song and dance.

I’m good with first impressions, though, so I’ve been told. Dialogue is my bread and butter for sure. I just have to implement that into the resume and cover letter.

Career FAQs say:

“Offering solutions to these problems is a great way to overcome a lack of directly applicable experience. Be prepared to back up your claims about your skills or characteristics with relevant and specific stories. Avoid complaining about a former employer or laying blame at a former manager’s feet — doing so will likely make you seem difficult to work with (or disloyal).”

-Monster.com’s Career Advice

Sure it’s good advice; however, it’s up to the individual to perform it effectively. But there’s no harm in giving it a shot. The worst answer is “no”.

I should be handle that.

Elijah B.

Working People have Boring Lives

“Working people have boring lives.” That’s pretty bold statement to say the least!

But you have to admit, work keeps us busy most of the time. Work is the necessity to keep those utilities running and food on our plates. In addition, its the very thing that makes us tire and complain.

This is why entertainment is important to us. Honestly, it’s why we love controversy so much, so let’s take a moment and give celebrities and reality t.v. a round of applause.

Work. Home. Food and entertainment. Sleep, maybe. Pretty simple, right?

Of course, there’s some in between but not much. Not to say that simple, straight-forward days are bad, they’re just not that exciting. First responders are the exception. Adrenaline has to be set to holy hell with those people.

For those at the desk, in security, or something like this, life can be uneventful unless you’re a drug dealer (Was it a good joke? No…Sorry). Perhaps, it’s up to the individual to insert excitement into their lives.

Me personally, I like random searches on YouTube. I can be in the middle of something and stop just to watch a two minute segment of Dragon Ball Z. Lame to some, awesome to many.

Again “boring” is not bad at all. It’s routine. It’s Fate on vacation as you live out your life.

As the cliche goes, no news is good news.

Using FictionPress for Exposure

Writing fiction is my passion. It’s the one thing, I wish I could do full-time, but work and bills are two babies that won’t let me get any rest.

Every day, I have this grand idea, which I never write down. When I finally get time to write it, I get distracted with gaming or TV. Procrastination is such an ass.

In between writing projects and two jobs, I get inspired to write stories on FictionPress. If you’re not familiar with FictionPress, check it out here.

FictionPress is a neat website where writers can post their literary work. Its totally free to read each story. Criticism is welcomed by some. And prepare yourself, some of the writing is bad. Trial and error, I suppose.

I have not written any stories over 1000 words, I think. I want to reserve those extensive stories for publication.

If you’re interested in reading or posting stories visit FictionPress.

To read some of my original flash stories visit my FictionPress profile page.

Also, for those that enjoy soliloquies, a YouTube video reading of my horror flash story, “Seaside Hunger”, is located here.

Proofreads and Edits are done!!!

I just finished my last proofread and edit. The six stories are complete. But I think the book could use one more story.

So tonight, I will start that story which will be entitled, “Dwellers.”

In addition to the last story of Foot in the Door, I want to release another collection of flash stories. The plan is to have at least fifty flash stories. Why fifty? I want the word count to be over 10,000. But it’s going to take more than a coke and a smile to do that–so I will writing from random prompts to push that goal forward.

Now that I’m near completion of Foot in the Door…Well, allow me to say that phase one is finished. Phase two is finding a beta reader I can trust. Phase three is promoting my work. Phase four is promoting my work and working to get published. Honestly, I have no idea how many phases it will take. I’m just very happy that I finally finished these stories.

Keep your eyes open folks–Foot in the Door is breaking into the literary world!!

Elance: The Battle Royal of the Self-Employed

The other day, I was so frustrated with the lack of writing and editing jobs in my area. I searched through job board advanced searches and got nothing. I should be accustomed to the disappointment by now.

I did something I didn’t think I would ever have to do. Actually, it’s something I didn’t want to do.

I joined Elance. I’ll admit that I had the wrong idea about Elance–I really should have joined sooner.

As soon as I entered, I saw the intimidating list of names competing for jobs I knew I could do. The problem is that Elance clients don’t know my skills, so I have to present my expertise in a fashion that screams “I am that guy!” And the competitor is doing the same. After a while you get a barrage of service sellers, wrestling over the job ad with words, prices, and experience.

The newcomers are thrown over the ropes, while the veterans tackle the client in the ratings and number of jobs completed. Unfortunately, I’m in the newcomer group. I have the motivation and skill; however, clients tend to favor the all-stars.

I won’t give up! I’ll keep submitting proposals!

The question that needs to be answered…

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Creative writers, fiction or non-fiction, have to hear this question a lot. If a writer isn’t prepared for this question, it’s possible that writer will be offended. That’s good. Hurt feelings equal ammo for progress and success. At times, a writer will ask their inner self this. I know I do. Currently, I have six short stories completed. I want these six stories to be my debut book; however, I need to develop these stories into near-perfection. After doing my edits, I’m faced with the question, “Why should the reader care?”

I read a few help pages to brush up on what I learned in college but nothing. The only answer to this is reading other short stories and asking myself why I care about the story in question. In other words, I must read so I know what my story needs; in addition, I plan on showing others the draft’s I’ve created. Someone with hard reader and writer sense would be most helpful.

I tried asking myself: “Why should I care about this story?” It’s different. I’m going to care because I produced the content. I need to be fair to the story and let someone criticize my talent. If I’m truly writing for my reader, I have to take criticism, which I am prepared for.

Self-Publishing: Hard-copy or E-Book?

I’m so close to finishing my first book. For those of you who just found Black Board, I have a book, a collection of short stories not published yet, entitled Foot in the Door. The book follows various young black men whose inner strength grows as they toil through the challenges they are expected to crumble under. My target audience is young black men; however, I want to make these stories interesting for all readers. Besides, what writer narrows his audience down to one group. I want everyone to enjoy my literary illustrations.

The challenge: I have to decide if I want to take this to a publisher or self-publish through an entity like Amazon Kindle. I’ve read several eHow, About, and other FAQ pages about what my next step should be. Also, I’ve followed the Writer’s Digest on Twitter to get a sense of what my next move should be. At the end of the day, it’s my decision. I discovered that there is no right path to take. Everything instance is different. The only for sure thing is to try everything as many times as possible, in regards to a publisher.

With self-publishing…I will be in control. From price to promotion–it’s all up to me. I enjoy that concept. There is some hard work that follows. Getting people I DO NOT know to like the content I produce is going to be a challenge. Let’s face it. People are critical. Only a few will tell the truth, and the rest just don’t care. Pushing out content on my own is a ego-risk. The question arises: “Is this good?” Of course, I’ll feel that it’s good. I’ve worked hard on it forever. But what will others say? I want to give them their money’s worth.

So what’s better publisher or self-publishing?