The Business of Marketing Yourself

As a feature writer, I haven't had to put a lot of effort into self-promotional materials. All that's required to land an assignment is a well thought-out query letter and a couple of quality clips (articles already published).  The magazines typically have pre-set payment prices or if a little negotiation is in order, it's handled quickly by phone or e-mail.

Recently however, I've been straying into work for businesses--writing web site copy, brochures, press releases, etc. Most of this work has come to me via friend or referral and so I still haven't had to worry about promotional materials. Yesterday though, a friend called wanting to refer me to someone who needed web site copy written and she asked if I could send her a brochure and price sheet. I scrambled and got something out to her but I didn't feel good about what I sent. It wasn't professional looking. It looked more like someone who opened Word, typed in a headline that read "PRICE SHEET" and made some columns. (Which is pretty much exactly what went down). No logo, no glossiness, no polish.  Yecch.

So I'm thinking it's time. Time to, as my friend Dreena likes to say, "pull up your big girl panties and get to work." (I do love living in the South).  I've decided I need to pull together:

  • A glossy 4-color brochure listing my writing services
  •  A price sheet
  • Convert my best articles into PDF formats for easy sending
  • Have a professional headshot taken
  • Update or maybe revamp the web site (Ick. Hate to even think about the work involved in that one)
  • Pull together a press kit, or maybe two. (One for the book and one for speaking engagements)

The funny thing is, I do this sort of work for other people and it's no problem. But I dread having to write my own brochure. I know a lot of writers who feel that way and actually I explain this concept to business owners that it's worth their money to hire me to write their copy simply because they're too close it. That makes it hard to see what needs to go in and what needs left out.

The question is WHEN in my happy little schedule am I going to have time to do all this? One step at a time. I think the brochure needs to come first.  I've got a brochure from a writer/editor friend of mine in CA that is top-notch, so I'll work off that and see what I can come up with. And I'll need the headshot/photos to include in the brochure so I'll book that soon as well. Any excuse to parlay playing dress-up into a work-related expense.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Friday. Cheers - D.