Sunday, December 18, 2011

Networking by any Name

When I was publishing a women’s magazine in the 1990s, networking was the buzzword. Today it is social media networking. The concepts are not that different. I see positives in both methods of connecting with like-minded individuals. Information/knowledge is power. In the 90s I strove to empower women of all ages by bringing them information and spreading the word on whatever it was that they did.

Close Relationships vs Immediacy and Greater Numbers

I think the face-to-face networking of the 90s created a powerful medium for both inbound and outbound marketing that had a deeper depth than social media marketing. Numerous connections made every minute on social media networks give one a sense of marketing growth that might not always be realistic. Upon examination, many, I find, are just superficial. The real positive for social media networking is in its immediacy and the ability to reach out to many individuals at the same time and at greater distances.


Often as I traveled back and forth across the state, it amazed me to meet women and/or groups of women struggling with a project and had no idea that other women somewhere else in the state were having the same struggle or had already completed a similar project. They were missing a link.
Much of what I did during that time focused on connecting women with information and giving them a medium to share their diverse ideas. Social media networking would have made those efforts easier. A combination of the personal face-to-face meetings (there are many meetups everywhere) and social media networking is what I believe will benefit everyone reaching out to others.

Practicing Relationship Marketing

In the business networking of the 90’s individuals exchanged business cards and followed up with a phone call or email, whereas with social media networking they are exchanging links. The results are the same; making connections. In both instances, networkers were practicing relationship marketing. The biggest difference, in my estimation, is the amount of information we put out about ourselves today. That wasn’t the case in the 90’s. Of course, we still have a choice of how much and what details on our lives we put into the public domain.

Complete those Profiles

A key component of social media is completing your profile on each medium (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, others) that you have joined. It is very important that you give some thoughts to this profile before you do it. You don’t have the advantage of a face-to-face impression, consequently, you have to make your words paint a picture of who you are. As you complete it, consider what you would say if you were talking directly to a new acquaintance. It is easy to forget to be personal when all you’re doing is typing into a profile form on a computer.

Here’s a great exercise. As you answer each question of a profile, pretend you are talking to a person. Making it a conversation will help you develop your profile so it will have the personal feel of face-to-face marketing.  Please comment and let me know how you do.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Preparation for the Best Personal Profile

While writing queries and book proposals, remember the agents and publishers also want to know about you. It’s not just about the book. What are your credentials? What makes you the right person to write this book? Especially with nonfiction books, such as I am writing, it’s important to show agents and publishers you are an expert. Leave no question that you aren’t the best person to write your book.

Adding to your Authority

If you aren’t confident about your credentials, add to your authority before you query or submit a proposal. Get letters of recommendation from the top people in your field of research. Don’t be afraid to request a letter from people you don’t know very well. This is an opportunity to talk about your book to people in your area of interest. They will want to help you. Check your affiliations with all the significant organizations in your field. If you find you are lacking in belonging to the right groups, join now.

Hitting the Lecture Tour

Another method is to plan a lecture tour in your field of expertise. First, do your research. Are there any local meetings of organizations pertinent to your subject area? This is usually not as hard as people think it is. For instance, I saw a call for papers from the Assn. for the Study of CT History and immediately wrote a proposal, which was accepted. This action not only will give me more credibility but will also spread the word about my book.

The Speaking Engagements Are out there – Go Get Them

Don’t make it into a monumental project. Take a few notes from a part of your upcoming book that has a universal appeal that will resonate with different groups. Then work up a 20-minute talk. Next, it is just a matter of calling or emailing the different organizations and asking if they need a speaker in the near future. I suggest that you prepare the talk before you start contacting organizations for the following two reasons:
·         They might just need someone immediately. This has happened to me.
·         If you have prepared your talk, you will be more comfortable giving them an idea of the substance of your talk.

With a couple of talks behind you (be sure to ask for a letter of appreciation for each talk), your confidence level will be high enough for you to write a great description of your qualifications to be part of your proposal.

Good Marketing

Even if you’re already confident in your credentials, speaking about your book whenever an opportunity arises and to whoever will give you a microphone is good marketing. Remember the six degrees of separation. You never know who knows someone who might be very interested in your book.
Today it’s a new scene. The agents and publishers want to know that you are capable of marketing your own book. The old days of the publishers doing all the marketing, and setting up your speaking engagements, are gone. Let’s revel in the freedom to operate in our own way.

Please share in comments how you have added to your authority.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Historians Share Research on Connecticut History

I recently presented a paper at the annual meeting conference of the Assn. for the Study of Connecticut History, held at Manchester Community College. Fortunately, my presentation was the first after the keynote address so I could relax the rest of the day and enjoy all the other presentations.

Women in Connecticut

The theme of the conference was “Women in Connecticut,” which fit so well with my book “Tracing the Invisible Women Who Helped Birth Connecticut.” The three concurrent sessions each had three presenters. There was great variety in the subject matter of the sessions. The negative, if one feels it necessary to find a negative, was that it was hard to choose what sessions to attend. A number of times sessions I wanted to attend were opposite each other so I had to choose.

Although the majority of the speakers were from academia or museum staffs, I was gratified to meet other independent historians that are passionately working on projects similar to mine. As the day progressed, my mind was assimilating some of the ideas and words I was hearing for use in my book. Once again, I see the importance of being around like-minded individuals who can understand how you are feeling.

Two of my favorite presentations were right in the same session with me.

1)      Patricia Oat from the Hill-Stead Museum gave a very enlightened talk about the challenges of being a loyalist during the Revolutionary War, entitled “Behind the Kings Lines: The Experience of a Loyalist’s Daughter in the American Revolution.”

2)      Kevin Finefrock’s “The ‘Peculiar Haughtiness’ of ‘the Very Agreeable and Accomplished’ Susannah Wyllys Strong: The Politics of Gender and Social Status in Early Connecticut’” was a revelation on the class system and politics of the time.

Two talks I would have loved to attend but couldn’t fit into my schedule were:

1)      “The Hidden Ones: Southern New England Women Reconsidered,” by Joann Zeisner from the Stanley-Whitman House. I was presenting at the same time or this would have been one of my choices.

2)      Christopher Collier from the University of Connecticut gave a presentation on “Sarah Banks and the ‘Married Virgins’ Property Act of 1877. Even though it is outside my research period, I would have chosen this one if I could have because of its intriguing title.

The only drawback of the conference for me was that there was almost nothing on the seventeenth century, which is my area of research. This is a continuing problem for me. It is very difficult to research the seventeenth century because so few primary sources are available and few people are researching it.

Conferences, especially for writers, are always great for revving up the enthusiasm and getting the creative juices flowing