Propel Your Creativity Forward and Achieve Financial Success: A Guest Post by Publisher and Writer Ron Gavalik
Yay for guest posts! It’s been so long!
Here’s publisher extraordinaire, Ron Gavalik, to introduce you to his newest project. If you’re a fan of the Emotobook Revolution, then he needs no introduction. Still, though, for the rest of you… his bio follows the post.
Propel Your Creativity Forward and Achieve Financial Success
As a publisher and marketing professional, I’ve always found it vitally important to ensure creative professionals possess the correct tools to market their work to the right kinds of audiences. I’ve enjoyed a long and fruitful career ensuring the success of businesses, but also multiple fields in the arts. I take a lot of pride in sharing that learned experience with others.
Unfortunately, I’ve met so many creative people who honestly believe they’ll never make a secure living by pouring passion into their work. That kind of cynicism is sad and frustrating, especially when I know for a fact that it’s not true. We all require housing and plumbing to sustain life, but it’s creativity that gives our lives purpose…and talented creators perform a necessary function in our society. It’s my job to make sure they earn a high middle-class income.
That’s why our team assembled Financial Success for Creative Professionals, the first of its kind marketing plan that’s guaranteed to drive your long-term success.
In the modern era, writers, artists, performers, models, photographers, musicians, and crafters face two real challenges when it comes to selling their creative products and performances. The first is contending with an oversaturation in the market, where so many indie creators are now selling their work to the masses. The second and more important challenge is gaining the marketing knowledge to break through the chaos and build a significant fan base that leads to achieving a secure revenue stream.
Because of the oversaturation, consumers are only willing to invest about 5 to 10 seconds viewing a creative product or performance on a website or at a tradeshow. If they’re intrigued, they’ll stay longer to absorb more of the experience and begin to build what’s referred to as an emotional investment. That happens when something about the product or performance you created pleases the sensory pathways of the brain and a person is compelled to become part of the experience, such as making a purchase.
On the other hand, if the consumer doesn’t emotionally identify with your work in a few heartbeats, they’ll navigate away from your website or walk away from your booth. Their psychology will register your product or performance as a negative experience and you’ll never see them again.
In that brief 5 to 10 second moment, the potential fan stands on the shore of a river while your work sits on the other side. You must persuade the consumer into building a bridge (emotional investment) to cross the river and then obtain your creation. That’s no easy feat, but when we understand how to brand a creation and then present it properly to potential fans, it’s easy to achieve the needed connections with hundreds of thousands of consumers.
How do we do this? Exposure. The marketing plan shows us how to attract the right kinds of consumers, referred to as target audiences. These targets must be exposed to a properly branded product or performance over and over again for their minds to build the bridge across the river and purchase your work.
Financial Success for Creative Professionals provides you the tools to drive hundreds of thousands of target consumers to your creations. You’ll also gain the ability to brand your work in a unique category that eliminates competition. It’s that created perception of your work that raises you above the chaos of so many indie writers, artists, musicians, and performers in the world.
The marketing plan is delivered to you in five-parts to achieve long-term success. You’re walked through expert marketing theory as it applies to the arts. You’ll construct your public marketing structure. The plan then drives your media marketing initiatives to win support of social media followers, the news media, and others. You’ll diversify income from multiple sources into your one checking account. Don’t worry; it’s not that complex. You’re given easy to follow checklists for daily, weekly, and monthly initiatives that respects your artistic time. That’s the guaranteed formula that will achieve you the true success your passion deserves.
Now that you’ve been given a glimpse of the proven marketing plan, it’s my hope that you’ll take your creative career seriously and allow your work to raise the quality of life in potential fans around the world. If you pour your passions into each project or performance, you must propel your career to the next level, realize your full potential and achieve success.
Let’s make it happen.
Ron Gavalik’s Bio:
Ron Gavalik is the author of Financial Success for Creative Professionals and has over 20 years of celebrated experience in corporate and creative marketing. This former Director of Communications has assisted private, nonprofit, and artistic organizations achieve success through grassroots experience marketing initiatives. Gavalik is currently the Publisher for Grit City Publications and creator of the innovative Emotobooks fiction medium. He holds a B.S. in Marketing Communications from Point Park University and an M.A. in Writing from Seton Hill University. His work in the arts has shaped success for countless creative professionals who seek financial independence.
Due to time constraints, I’ve decided to forfeit my role as editor with Grit City Publications. This is a personal decision on my behalf and should not reflect poorly on GCP. I have enjoyed working as editor and will continue to support the company and the emotobook community.
Find out more about the Revolution at Grit City Publications.
I’d like to welcome Michael Seese, author and former journalist and technical writer. Below, Michael takes us through the process of creating a useful spreadsheet to help freelance writers and fiction writers keep track of professional correspondences. Not only does he explain every step in detail, but he also includes photos AND has offered to email the template to anyone who’s interested- for free!
(This is the kind of guy that I’m talking about when I refer to the “helpful-generous-selfless-supportive-and-friendly writing community.”)
And The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth …
For those of you who don’t know me well, I used to be a computer programmer. As I used to say (boast), “I tell my computer what to do. Not vice versa.” A nice little skill that I developed was macro creation, specifically for applications in the Microsoft Office suite.
If you’re a writer, you probably face the same quandary I face: keeping track of your submissions. Who you queried, what their instructions are (“We respond to all queries” or “If you don’t hear back, assume we’re not interested.”), and when to follow up. The problem grows exponentially if you’re submitting different works to different agents and/or publishers.
So I developed a handy-dandy spreadsheet to keep track of my correspondence.
If you have no desire to learn about my system, go ahead and bow out now. But if you want to see my spreadsheet “in action,” keep reading.
As background, this actually was based on an Access database that I developed a few years back for the same purpose. That one got a bit cumbersome, as I found that in some cases I needed a way to have a “many-to-one” and/or a “one-to-many” relationship (to use the geek terms) between a work and a correspondence with someone. To clarify, if I’m sending a query letter to an agent, that’s one-to-one. But in many cases, a poetry publisher or magazine asks for five poems. So that’s many works in one email. But also, if I’m querying an agent (as mentioned, one-to-one) and he or she writes back and says, “Send more,” now I have one work, but many emails.
Clear as mud? I used to be a tech writer, so I hope I can still convey things like this.
So I came up with this spreadsheet. I’m sure this first image will be hard to see, so after it, I’ll describe what’s there.
This is the header row.
The columns are Key (I’ll explain later), Date, Follow Up Date, Response, Sent What?, Via, Email, To What?, Name, Who, Genre, Work, Details.
I tried to set it up so you can simply read it, left to right. So that would be (the column headers are in ALL CAPS)…
“On this 12/20/11 (DATE), I sent a query (SENT WHAT?) VIA email to an agent (TO WHAT?) at company NAME, and this person specifically (WHO). I sent my novella (GENRE) named Udopia (WORK). Addtional DETAILs are …
So a real-world example would be:
And it reads, “On 12/15/11, I submitted, using an online form to an anthology named Best Fiction. The recipient was not named. I sent a short story, “Tarantulas On Leashes.”
Now to explain a few things…
You’ll notice there is a “Key” field. In the above example, for both lines, it is 46. This was done to solve that one-to-many problem that I referenced earlier. Every entry should have at least two lines with the same key. The date you sent it, and the date that they say you will get a response by. Bear in mind, as I mentioned above, some say “If you don’t hear back in six weeks, assume no.” Fine. I can still put a date that is six weeks out in the Follow Up Date field, and copy that comment into the Response field. The beauty of this key field is that if I am sending multiple works to a single entity, there is one line for each work, plus the follow-up line, all sharing the same key. As you can see here:
Key 45 represents five works submitted to one anthology, plus there is the follow-up line.
If you use Excel a lot, this should be obvious, but you don’t need to “do math” to get the follow-up date. The “Key 45″ entity did not state a follow-up date, so I am assuming six weeks. Cell C14 is actually a formula which reads “=B45 + 42″ Seven days times six weeks = 42, naturally. Oh, and once I get a response, I delete the value from the “Follow Up Date” field, and put the date I heard back in the “Date” field. You can do whatever you want; you could leave it there. This just works for me.
You will notice that I have highlighted in red text to-do items. Likewise, if someone has said “no,” I color the text gray, to fade it out.
The Email column contains a hyperlink to where the actual email lives on my hard drive. Having it here allows me to call it up at will. Please note that I use an email program (Thunderbird) which brings emails down to my PC, as opposed to something like GMail, which keeps them on Google’s servers. Of course, since the field holds a hyperlink, you might be able to store the link to a webmail message. Hmmm.
Bear with me. There are only two things left to point out …
In order to keep things clean, I use the “group” function of my spreadsheet. In the previous images, I intentionally omitted the left-most portion of the screen. It actually looks like this:
You will notice a little box, with a minus sign in it. What that says is that I have “grouped” rows 2 and 3, as well as rows 4 and 5.
Once 2 and 3 are grouped, I can click on the minus sign to collapse or hide row 3, like thus:
I just think it’s neater to hide the details, once an entry is “closed.”
Please note that there is one weird quirk about both Excel and the OpenOffice spreadsheet. Logically, I would expect that I need to highlight everything I want in a group, and then choose the “group” command. But the reality is, you highlight ALL BUT the first. So in the example immediately above, I highlighted only row 3. Going up a bit to my “Key 45″ example, I highlighted rows 10 – 14 (but NOT row 9) before hitting the “group” button.
And finally, you can use filters (native to both Excel and the OpenOffice version) to create “mini-reports,” if you will. Do you want to know to which agents you’ve sent a given work? Filter on the book’s (or article’s) name in column L, “Work.” Do you want to know which works you’ve sent to a certain agent? Filter on his or her name in column J.
If you are a writer (or an agent) and would like a blank version, please leave a comment. I’d be more than happy to send you one. I’ll even throw in free “tech support,” though bear in mind, you get what you pay for.
PS: I do realize that I didn’t mention macros after talking about them up top. This spreadsheet has no macros…yet!
I am a former journalist, but my current day job is in information security for a regional bank. Or, as my son could say even at age three, “Daddy keeps people’s money safe.” I have published three books: Haunting Valley, a collection of fictional ghost stories centered around my home town; Scrappy Business Contingency Planning, which teaches corporate BCP professionals how to prepare for bad things; and Scrappy Information Security, which teaches us all how to keep the cyber-criminals away. I also just learned that a short story of mine, “Worm Herding,” has been accepted by Pill Hill Press for their compilation, BUGS. Other than that, I spend my spare time rasslin’ with three young’uns.