Promoting your book (or other product): what marketing REALLY means

I agonised for a long time when a very bitchy and pompous (and dishonest, as it turned out) editor I was working with sneered at me for only writing a few chapters on ‘marketing‘ in my forthcoming book, How To Write A Brilliant Nonfiction Book. article on the four Ps of marketingSurely he knew that marketing is something you do in parallel with creating the book’s concept, right from the start, even – to an extent – with fiction? With his two redbrick university degrees and the conviction that he knew everything?

Nope, he didn’t. What his scathing barbs did achieve, however, was to make me conscious of the fact that I needed to emphasise the real meaning – and importance – of marketing in my book, so I have done just that. The number of times I’ve had to bite my tongue when someone talks about ‘marketing’ when they mean ‘marketing communications‘ or ‘promotion’ adds up to many hundreds. [Read more…]

How important are grammar and spelling? Really?

Now that the mass media with its “newspeak” vocabulary has been part of our lives for several generations we really can’t afford to be pompous about spelling and grammar any more.

Even the stuffiest of academics has had to admit that stiffly formal writing is not clever; it’s boring. They may look down their noses at the language of popular websites, social media, blogs and so-on, but that’s the language nearly everyone speaks today.

article about spelling and grammarI won’t waste your time with my theories on why that has happened, but the bottom line is that English as a language has become simpler and less complex than it was 100 years ago.

And quite right, too. I’ve never understood why some people get so uppity about the fact that a language has evolved.

Well, you and I haven’t got time to mourn the relegation of Shakespearean English to the theatre, even if we want to. We’ve got work to do here and now, and these days we write as we speak.

“Writing as people speak” is not a cop out

[Read more…]

A fumbler’s guide to live online video chats and meetings

How are you doing with your Zoom / MS Teams / Facebook Lives / Facetime and various other incarnations of live video on the internet, especially now that there are very few – if any – ways to communicate with our clients / customers, colleagues, friends and family otherwise?

The Zoom meeting … our new normal?

A while back I wrote about, and asked my learned colleagues to share their advice on, how to perform on online video as you’ll find from this incredibly comprehensive guide here. And that was before the coronavirus stopped us talking F2F.

But today, as we cope with the most recent restraints … let’s take another look at how we are communicating now. Speaking as a prime techno-fumbler myself and a beginner at this talk-and-chew-gum-at-the-same-time online video lark, I sympathise with other beginners starting out … especially as so many friends and colleagues are becoming online TV superstars…

Some tips about live online video that I’ve discovered the hard way

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What to write when someone has lost their job due to coronavirus

One of the most popular articles here on HTWB for the last four years has been “What to write when someone has lost their job.” As you know, at the moment (May 2020) this has become even more of an issue due to social distancing, self-isolation and of course the closing down of many businesses.

Even a short email or private message on social media can help support someone who’s facing job/income loss due to coronavirus, but it’s a delicate path to travel. Here’s how to help, not hinder…

Some workers are lucky and have been furloughed, but others – especially in small businesses and the self-employed – are facing not one but two major dilemmas: one, loss of income, and two, no clear vision of how – and when – the job and business markeplaces will get back to normal … if they ever do. [Read more…]

Diary of a self-isolator: WTF would we have done without the internet?

When I hear people bitch and moan about being under lockdown due to coronavirus/Covid19, I think back to my dim and distant youth when the internet was no more than a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye.

Telephone landline handsets from the 1960s and 1970s – now museum pieces as you can see.

Earlier incarnations had been trialled but mostly had hissy fits and blew up once someone actually input a little bit of content. It was only when Tim Berners-Price took hold of it all in around 1990 that they managed to make it work. As we know, that revolutionised everything. And even better, it can’t catch COVID-19.

Imagine,” I say helpfully between their bitchings and moanings, “what lockdown would have been like if we didn’t have the WWW?[Read more…]

How to shine online: 7 video presentation tips from an expert

With COVID-19 having sent us all scuttling from live interaction to our on-screen doppelgängers, please join me in welcoming back one of the UK’s leading presentation trainers – Dr Simon Raybould of Presentation Genius – to share his tips on how to come across well and as much like your real self as possible on the new, essential online video platforms. Here’s Simon…

“Do whatever you can to be seen to be a real person,” says Dr Simon Raybould of Presentation Genius 

Live presentations are out of the window right now. They might never come back. Given how bad most of them were that might not be totally a bad thing 😉 But moving to online presenting is more than just turning on the camera and microphone and then praying. [Read more…]

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