Tag Archives: Stephanie-Allen-Crist

Discovering Autism, Discovering Neurodiversity – a review

Stephanie Allen Crist has been an online friend for a number of years, but it was only recently that I gained a deeper understanding of this very intelligent woman – through her new book ‘Discovering Autism, Discovering Neurodiversity’.

You see Stephanie, as well as being a marketing guru and a great blogger in her own right, also happens to be the mother of three wonderful boys, all of whom express autism to some degree.

In ‘Discovering Autism’, Stephanie takes us on a journey, not just through her life, but through the reality of autism. Her story is both touching and uplifting because she does not see her sons as burdens. She does not wish they were ‘other’. She accepts them as people with needs different to her own, and different to each other. But each child is, first and foremost, an individual, and a person of worth.

I had the great good fortune of being a beta reader to this book, and I loved every word. It is not a ‘how-to’ live with autism, however it does contain a great deal of information in a very palatable form. Whether your child has autism or not, I think this is a book all parents should read.

You can find ‘Discovering Autism’ on Amazon or you can order it direct from Stephanie’s website :

http://stephanieallencrist.com/advocacy-store/

If you go to Stephanie’s website you will be given a choice of formats including epub, mobi, pdf or print.

And as a final word – ‘Discovering Autism’ will draw you in and make you keep reading because it is so real, and so very well written.

cheers

Meeks


Earning Your Place – reblogged from CaressingTheMuse

This post by Stephanie Allen Crist really hit the spot for me today. I’ll comment at the end.

Earning Your Place
Posted on April 20, 2013 by Stephanie Allen Crist

“In most people’s minds, marketing is about promoting a product or service. It’s about advertising. It’s about sales.

But the full cycle of marketing involves discovering what customers want, providing customers with products and services they want, reaching out to them so they know how to get it, and analyzing your results.

Simply put, you don’t start with a pitch. You start with a product or service that’s worth pitching. In your case, that means you start with a book that’s worth reading.

It could be said that people (at least some of them) on the bestsellers’ lists write crap churned out for the masses. There’s some truth to that, though not as much as the struggling writer likes to tell him/herself. The thing of it is that these writers know or stumble upon the secret to sales: Giving customers what they want.

This doesn’t mean following the hottest trends to make the best sales, though people do that, too. Let’s assume for the moment that you don’t work that way. Most writers don’t.

Instead, take it to mean producing the best book you can and then finding the people who will want it. It might not be the masses, and that’s okay. The thing of it is, though, you have to find them, at least at the start. When you’re building your initial following, you have to go out and look for people who might like your book. Then, you share your message, i.e. your pitch, with them.

So, to earn your place among successful authors, you need to:
Write the best book you can.
Find the people who will want to read it.
Tell them about your book.

If you do, then you will earn your place. If you do it well, you’ll earn your living. You might even become a bestseller in the process.”

***

This is the bit that made those little bells start ringing in my head :

 “…producing the best book you can and then finding the people who will want it.”

As soon as I read that [words in bold] it hit me that I have spent my whole life looking for kindred spirits, people who will like the kind of person I am, people who will accept me for who I am.

I can tell you right now that I do not have many real life friends who fall into that category. But. The friends I do have are friends for life. We have grown together, suffered together, supported each other in bad times and laughed like crazy during the good times. I would walk over hot coals for these kindred spirits of mine!

But what does this have to do with marketing? Everything. 

Just as I could never be the uber popular person with a million friends and acquaintances, I cannot become the uber popular writer whose work is loved by all. That will never happen because I am not that kind of person, and will never be able to write that kind of book. But I can reach out to readers who are kindred spirits and share my work with them. And that is exactly what I am going to do.

Love ya!

Meeks


Tell me about yourself award

Mary Ann from Mypenandme just left a lovely comment on my blog saying that she had nominated me for the ‘Tell me about yourself’ award. I’m rather stunned because I’m still very new to blogging in general and awards in particular. To me just logging into wordpress and seeing those bright orange numbers up there is an award in itself and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who has ever read anything I’ve ever written, or may write in the future! My special thanks though go to Mary Ann who has talents in the poetry department that I wish I had.

Now, according to the rules of these awards I have to write 7 things about myself that I haven’t revealed before and then I have to nominate 7 other bloggers for the same award. Oh and copy/paste the proudly displayed award into your own blogs! I hope you guys are paying attention because I know I messed up on the instructions when Daud [aka Lord David Prosser] nominated me for my very first award so try to get it right 😉

Ok, here we go. 7 things I haven’t yet revealed.

1. This is a biggie – I’m 59. That is just one year away from the big six-o when I officially leave the ranks of the late middle aged and become a baby oldie.

2. I’ve learned many things over the last 59 years but none of them has made me grow up, not properly. I can pretend to be dignified for about five minutes but after that I tend to revert to my true age which fluctuates between 10 and 35.

3. I used to ride motorbikes in my twenties and I still love them but I lost my nerve years ago. I blame my Kawasaki 400 which was so big I couldn’t put both feet on the ground at the same time, even on tippy toes.

4. I’m short – see 3 above.

5. When I was younger I used to wear 4″ heels to make me look 5’8″. Being short is hell!

6. I’m an absolute softie when it comes to kids and animals. I do however draw the line at spiders. Nothing with 8 legs need apply.

7. I don’t believe in god or in any religion but I do believe in goodness and I venerate life in all its forms. I justify my stance on roast chicken and spiders as hypocrisy with extenuating circumstances.

Phew, that was actually quite hard. Be warned my lovelies!

Now for the easy part – Seven bloggers I nominate for the ‘Tell me about yourself’ award :

–  Jennifer Scoullar.  Jennifer is another aussie but I’m nominating her because she can write like crazy.

The Pink Agendist.  Because this is a man with a big heart. And he can cook!

Courtney Bluebird.  Bluey is not an aussie but she could be 🙂  She is also teaching me about poetry and deserves a medal of valour for that.

Maggie O.  Maggie is funny and kind, she is also funny and loves animals. Oh and did I say she was funny? Well she is 🙂

Alex Laybourne.  Alex writes horror but it’s his understanding of human nature that is his greatest talent.

Caressingthemuse.  Stephanie is a whiz at marketing and shares her knowledge with great generosity. She also has a way with words that makes learning fun.

Sable City.  M. Edward McNally creates worlds I want to visit and has a sense of humour that hits all the right buttons with me.

I have dear friends I haven’t nominated this time around but DaudCandy, Metan, SweetMother, I love you all!


May I introduce… Stephanie Allen Crist

Over the course of the last four months Stephanie and I have been having some amazing email conversations about being writers – what’s involved, what’s needed to succeed, what does it all mean? These conversations taught me a great deal as Stephanie has a background in marketing however it was her vision of what writing truly is that has stayed with me. I was so impressed I asked her if she would do a guest blog on the subject. She said yes 🙂

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Stephanie Allen Crist on The Art, Craft, and Business of Self-Publishing.

Self-publishing is easy: You write it, you publish it, and then the readers come.  Or they don’t.  You won’t know which until you try.  The outcome is out of your control.

True, perhaps, but not quite so true so as you might think.  Self-publishing amplifies the dubious nature of the writing life.  You have all the uncertainty of the writing processing, whether you pursue traditional publication or self-publication.  Self-publication also turns you into a business person in a way that traditional publishing does not.  Both are uncertain prospects, but the ways of coping with those sets of uncertainty differ.

You start by writing a novel.  Is the story right?  Are the characters right?  Did you choose the right words?  Did you use enough words?  Did you use too few?  Did you get the pacing right?  Is your theme clear?  Will readers be able to envision your setting?  Are all the scenes necessary and effective?  Did you miss an important scene?  Do your chapter-breaks work?  Does your sub-plot work?  Do you end your story in a satisfying manner?  How is your character arc?  Does your character even have an arc?

Then, you publish your novel.  Now, you’re putting yourself forward: showing what you think, what you feel, what you imagine, what moves you, what ignites your passions.  You reveal something of yourself that, once you share it, you can never quite hide again.  And you don’t know how others are going to take that.  Will they understand you?  Will they care?  Will they be moved and ignited?  Or will it fade into the abyss of “nobody cares?”

Readers come or they don’t.  You make your work available.  You promote it.  Will it sell?  Will readers generate word of mouth?  Will they enjoy it?  Will they want more?

Now, perhaps you’re one of the writers who will see the problem with this scenario.  Perhaps you noticed that, for this undisclosed “you,” the questions got fewer and less intense as the scenario progressed.  Many writers, especially soon-to-be-published writers, focus so much on producing their novel that they don’t really know what to do with it once they’re done.  They turn to self-publishing, because there are no gatekeepers, because there is more potential for profit, because it’s less intimidating, because they have more control, because it’s faster, or because they don’t really understand their options.

There are a lot of good reasons to pursue self-publishing.  Chances are that anyone starting their writing career now—anyone who is in it for the long-haul—will self-publish at some point in their career.  But self-publishing isn’t a default, it’s a decision.  The criterion for this decision has little to do with art or craft.  It’s a business decision.

Writing is an art form.  Writing is a creative way to communicate that goes beyond the individual words in the same way that a painting goes beyond the individual brush strokes.  If you want to succeed, you need to communicate something your readers will enjoy and appreciate.  You can’t just slap something together and expect it to sell.  If you want to build a career, you need to communicate something of value.  Your story has to matter to you, so that it can matter to your readers.

Writing is a craft.  Writing is a set of skills you build and master over time in the same way that photography is a set of skills you build and master over time.  If you want to succeed, quality counts.  Spelling and grammar count.  A suitable, attractive cover counts.  An easy-to-read layout counts.  A story that is structurally sound counts.  Characters that evoke empathy count.  An intriguing plot that entertains the reader counts.  You can’t just rush off a first draft and expect it to sell.  If you want to build a career, you need to produce a novel that doesn’t detract from the story.  You have to invest your time and resources to produce a high-quality product, so that your readers can find your story, purchase it, and then read your story without distractions.

Writing is a business.  Writing is a business that requires an investment and a strategy to earn a return on that investment in the same way that a mom-and-pop shop requires an investment and a strategy to earn a return on that investment.  If you want to succeed, you need a product that people actually want.  You need to be willing to invest your time and your money in producing the best product you can, which will require building your skills and buying the services of those who have the skills you don’t.  It also means that you will need to invest your time and your money in getting the word out to potential readers.  You need to find the right readers and you need to learn how to reach those readers in a way they can appreciate.

Together, the art, craft, and business of writing mean that sometimes you have to make hard choices for the future of your career.  For example, you may have to choose to put that story you really want to write on the backburner, because you know you lack the skills to pull it off.  You may have to choose to write a less ambitious story you know you can pull off, because it will help you build the skills necessary to tell the story that burns inside of you.  Or, instead of investing in yet another writing conference that will fulfill your need to socialize with other writers, you may have to choose to invest in a copyeditor who can help you clean up your manuscript.  There are a lot of choices out there, and the decisions you make now will influence how successful you are in the future.

Self-publishing is a wonderful opportunity for writers, but it’s only as much of an opportunity as you make it.  Be the artist, the craftsperson, and the businessperson your writing deserves.  Your future readers will thank you.


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