Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Marketing your work can be a struggle

Nobody ever comments on my blogs. I keep reading how blogging is an important aspect these days for marketing your work. I read a piece yesterday talking about marketing and that you should pay the extra money to boost your work. I can’t help but wonder how anyone can afford to do all the extra promotions. I certainly can’t afford to keep forking over money. If I had more consistent sales then maybe more could be spent.

Then there are all the groups and places for membership to “get your name out there.” These are all good organizations to help the writer and artist, but $25 here, $35 there, and $50, $75… it adds up quickly. I’m looking at this coming year and need to figure out where to spend my money wisely. How many artists groups should one belong to? How many area Chambers of Commerce should be joined? And most everything joined means attending meetings which takes up time.

However, the networking is beneficial and it’s just as important to hobnob with those in other lines of business or genres. The community support and the Support Local campaigns help us all to build a strong community. Internet social networking is great, but it’s necessary, too, to get out and make physical contact with others.

A lot of artists struggle with the marketing aspect. Most of us just want to do our work. The world has changed and technology has made some things easier. There are many writers, artists, photographers out there these days and the competition is tough. Still, it’s a great community and most everyone is wonderful about exchanging ideas and techniques. Some are very successful with sales, others not so. I don’t believe it’s because one person is a much better artist. A lot of factors come into play.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Getting Ready for Another Exhibit

Bouncing back and forth between editing for the InterTown Record, writing other stories and articles, and doing photography, there are times when I feel my eyes are just rolling around in my head. A new book is already started and the one started last year isn’t completed. “Too Cold for Alligators” is printed and for sale, so that’s a huge accomplishment. And of course it’s time to finish up the year-end reports. 

This coming Sunday, two photographs need to be delivered to the town hall in Exeter for the annual New Hampshire Society of Photographic Artists’ show. I don’t have any idea what to bring. The goal in “getting better” in 2015 is to print photographs to mat and frame at 16x20 inches. Previously, they were either smaller or the overall size was 18x24 inches. 

Decisions are hard. Should I print this photo or that one? It’s hard to know what might catch someone’s eye enough that they would want to make a purchase. Every time I think this is the one, it doesn’t sell. People love the pictures, but too few are sold.

Right now, I’m feeling tired. It seems that these past few months have been spent running pictures here and there. There’s the big push to print, mat, and frame. The hustle to get the pieces delivered on time. Then return to pick them up. Once one round is done, it’s time to gear up for the next. 

And, as is often the case, the artist is never totally satisfied. I see the flaws. Oh, if I had just moved that way a little. Perhaps I should have added a little more contrast. There’s always something… but that’s what pushes me to do better next time.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Travel Writing

I read a short piece on travel writing this morning and was pleased that what was said for travel writing for today’s market is what I did in my book “Too Cold for Alligators.” Reading this made me feel that I am, at least, on the right track.
The main point that stood out was the importance of connecting to the readers which is something I always strive to do. My goal in writing the book was to bring the reader on the journey with me, and from the feedback received, I accomplished that. It’s not just about describing places visited, but telling stories about the journey.
Rereading “Too Cold for Alligators” in preparing for the next journey and book, there are areas to improve. The decision was already made to add more of other people’s stories in the new book and this morning’s piece was reinforcement to do just that.
One of the hardest goals will be to use less I, me, and my which will be a challenge in traveling alone. There are ways around it. Oh, not all the time, because it is a personal journey, too, but there’s always room for improvement.
“Too Cold for Alligators” is a good book, but the next one will be better!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Side Trip

Today I am studying maps. Yes, I know, I say I make spontaneous trips and yet, I will peruse the atlas for hours to check routes. I just don’t make definite decisions in the planning. 

Today, I found the Great Dismal Swamp brochure from the information picked up on the 2013 trip. It looks intriguing, so I looked up websites and maps. Oh, this is a place I want to visit! There are many trails, boardwalks, and canals. A birders paradise, too! It’s on the borders of Virginia and North Carolina and further east than I traveled on the previous trip. Yet it’s off Rte. 17, north of where I picked up that highway before. I could take Interstate 64 off of I-295 in Richmond and taking this route would bring me by Williamsburg. Williamsburg is a place I’ve always wanted to visit, too. 

Coming out to the Atlantic Ocean will put me near Chincoteague Island; a place that intrigued me ever since reading “Misty of Chincoteague” as a child. However, I’m not sure that’s an area to visit in the winter. Turning south, the way will take me through Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Chesapeake where I will pick up Route 17S. Rte. 17 follows one of the Dismal Swamp ditches. According to the reading, the Great Dismal Swamp will be at least a two-day visit. Hmm, do I want to spend two days? But, the history and the wildlife and the trails… can I resist? 

Everything will, of course, depend on the weather. I won’t know until I get there.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

More Serious Planning

The planning continues. Ideas run rampant jumping from one to the next. The excitement builds. 

There’s a part of me that’s hesitant about writing another book so soon, but I have to follow this passion. And although it’s been in the back of my mind to talk with more people, today it’s a slap aside the head. Make people more of a focus! After all, the trip isn’t just about me and what I see. It’s also about the people I meet along the way and the stories they tell. 

The last trip wasn’t so much about people as it was about my great adventure. I’ve done that, I’ve broken the ice. Now, there’s a bit of regret that I did not paying more attention to others. Yes, I did get permission to mention some of them in my book, but I never took people pictures. I never really wrote their story. Oh, I wish I could meet them again. 

This next book will definitely add another segment. There will still be my personal traveling tales, the photographs, and bits of history of the places visited. However, this time I will purposely seek out others to add a people section to the journey. My goal is to include at least one other person in my daily chapters.

One aspect of including more people in this book is to pay homage to the men and women in the hospitality service. Their jobs are to make customers more comfortable and give them a memorable experience. From tour guides to information personnel in the visitor centers to wait staff in restaurants and those in the hotels, how often do they do they get in the spotlight? Maybe they’d get a kick out of a customer paying attention to them! 

Of course, I’ll have to be careful. I never want to take someone away from doing their job. I often go out of my way to not be in the way or a nuisance. The last thing I’d want to do is get someone in trouble with their bosses. However, this may be a feather in the caps of whatever business or visitors’ site I write about. 

Another reason to do this will be to help me with my shyness around others. It will also help me be a better reporter/interviewer.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Planning a Trip

I said I’d go at the end of January, but I was not really sure if I would actually do it. It hit me this morning that the departure time is only a month away. Yikes! Am I going to do this? I am involved in a lot at the moment, but I definitely need a vacation. Yes, I will still work while on the road, but getting out of the house and away from the home area will do my mental wellbeing good. My thoughts settled into planning mode as I did the morning journaling.  

What is different from this trip than the one in 2013? The main point is that I have a better idea of the highways. Last time I was totally clueless as to what the driving would be like and how far south I would need to be to find warm weather (a lot farther south than I’d thought). I know more about the kinds of hotels in which I want to stay.  

The beginning of the trip will be following the same route as before. And of course, being winter, everything depends on the weather. I am looking forward to driving Rte. 9 across Vermont. I saw places where I wanted to take pictures, but didn’t stop. This time I want to stop. I won’t be quite as nervous driving through New York and I’ll know what to expect on the New York Thruway and on I-84W.  

I don’t know if I’ll do the Sky Line Drive in Virginia again. I may do it, depending on the weather, just because of that scary road coming down into Sperryville along Rte. 211. Sperryville was another area that I wanted to stop for photos and didn’t. 

There’s a Comfort Inn I stayed in Fredericksburg, Va., on the way down and the way back and I want to stay there again. My sights, though, will be set on Charleston, S.C., as there are places I want to revisit such as Magnolia Gardens, Middleton Place, and I want another carriage tour around the city. 

Heading south from there will have a different destination than before as I’ll be heading for the west coast of Florida. I’m not sure of that route yet. A lot of planning and map looking need to be done.