SWEET HEART - What I've Learned Since Dear Heart
The list is endless, but here's a sampling.
I learned how to scan the eleven pages of my executed contract into one document and create a PDF, which is far easier than taking eleven photographs, downloading them onto my computer and adding them one by one as attachments to an email. Kathi Sprayberry must have wondered what in the hell she had gotten herself into when she saw that.
I learned how to expand and enhance the one-page web site I started out with, and now I have six pages, with graphics, and two of them have multiple sub-pages, which I learned how to create somewhere along the way.
I learned not to freak out when the text doesn't line up on my web pages, or disappears from the "feature" circle on my HOME page for no apparent reason. Yes, Friends, I finally realized that the Wix HELP files really do help, and when they're lacking, I know that I can probably find a tutorial for my problem somewhere on the internet.
Likewise, I don't panic anymore when a photo I uploaded to my blog doesn't show up on Facebook, Twitter or G+ because I now know that the file is too large for those media and I know how to resize it.
Facebook, Twitter and G+ no longer intimidate me, and I can post to all three sites (four, if I'm also posting to my Facebook LindaLingleBooks page), in less than five minutes, whereas it took me almost an hour to perform this simple task when I first started out.
I learned that 80% of the men who followed me on Twitter had no interest in Dear Heart or in writing, and I learned not to mind when my number of followers decreased because these guys stopped following me when I wouldn't engage with them on a personal level.
I also learned that there are a lot of people who masquerade as celebrities on Twitter, and that if a celebrity tells you how beautiful you are on Twitter's version of Messenger, he probably isn't one.
I learned that social media posts get more traction if they include a photograph.
I learned that I didn't have to rely only on the free stock photos that Wix offers to enhance my website and blog, and discovered several wonderful sources for stock art.
I learned that "free" photos are only free if you're not using them on a social media site, and that you have to get a license if you want to use them to promote your book.
I learned how to capture candid moments on my iPhone camera, upload them to my computer and resize them, and I can now do this relatively quickly whereas it took me hours to figure out how to upload them and then find out where I uploaded them to when I tried this for the first time.
I learned that you can edit posts on Facebook and G+ if you mess something up, and that you can delete the erroneous post on Twitter and start over if you have to.
I learned the value of "likes" and "followers" and now make it a point to reciprocate whenever I can on the posts and pages of my friends and fans.
I started out with six Facebook friends and no Twitter followers and now I have over 100 of each.
I overcame my preference for privacy and now believe that nothing is sacred and everything I do and everyone I do it with is fair game for my blog and posts.
I learned how to add links to anywhere on anything I'm working on, and I can't believe that I let this simple task scare the crap out of me for so long.
I found out what a brand is, how to establish one and how to capitalize on it.
I learned where to look for promo opportunities, how to buy ads and how to gauge their effectiveness.
I learned how to convert Amazon's sales rankings to number of books sold, and how not to freak out when my rankings are over a million, which is not a good thing. With sales rankings, the lower the number, the better.
It finally dawned on me that I had to hone in on a target audience, and stop thinking that the demographic for Dear Heart was all women of all ages.
I discovered Vista Print and the fact that I could buy customized coffee mugs for less than half of what I was paying for them elsewhere. I also discovered that, in addition to coffee mugs and business cards, I could customize T-shirts, mousepads, note cards, return address labels, postcards, banners, tote bags, travel mugs and magnetic signs for my car doors, all of which I have purchased or am planning to purchase once the cover for Sweet Heart is finalized.
I learned not to order 500 business cards at one time since I had to order new ones when Sweet Heart was accepted for publication, and I'm now stuck with 350 of the old ones.
I mastered my new printer and it's associated photo software, and I can now put multiple pictures on the same photo -- a technique that came in handy when I was choosing cover art options for Sweet Heart and wanted to compare them, side by side, to Dear Heart's cover.
I learned that you don't have to change the ink cartridges on your printer just because it tells you to, and that if you hang tough and wait until the text on your copies starts to fade, or the colors on your photos become muted or bleed, you can probably get another month of life out of your old cartridges. I also learned to check the price of ink before I buy my next printer.
I discovered that you can convert a PDF to a Jpeg file and figured out how to use the software to do it.
I learned how to use MSPAINT and SKYPE, and how to create a slideshow in POWERPOINT.
I learned how to format a screenplay and the difference between a 'fade out' and a 'cut to'.
I eventually got the hang of WORD's editing feature, but only marginally, so I can't claim a full victory over that process.
I learned that you use italics for record album titles and quotation marks for song titles, and that publishers have preferences when it comes to punctuation, and that their opinion rules even if it kills you to convert dashes to commas.
I learned to just suck it up when I had to provide a photo of myself to my publisher, which opened the door to posting other photos of myself online, even though I'm not at my ideal weight.
I learned how to swallow my pride and timidity long enough to invite Harry Connick, Jr to my launch party and to call out Rob Reiner on Twitter to try to interest him in making Dear Heart into a movie. And even though Harry didn't show up and Rob hasn't called with an offer for the film rights, I'm not done with them yet.
I learned patience and how to go with the flow, which was the hardest lesson of all since I'm absolutely a control freak when it comes to anything having to do with Dear Heart.
Finally, and most surprisingly, I learned that some people I'd considered to be casual acquaintances were actually really good friends, and that others that I thought were really good friends were actually just casual acquaintances. Go figure.