Branding and the Independent Creative

Infographic courtesy of Tom McCall.

I recently attended a panel discussion designed to help the independent creative — musician, writer, performance artist, artist, photographer, etc. — learn how to brand herself. It wasn’t meant to be just about branding, but also about distinguishing one’s self above all the other artists who are also on their independent grind and who are all flooding social media platforms with their brilliance, and drowning would-be consumers with choices. A herculean task, no?

Though the panelists, all in marketing or PR, could not drill down and give specific solutions for each and every industry and certainly not specific individuals, they did offer professional suggestions that could be applied by anyone and that struck a chord:

  • Find your tribe, or as one panelist put it “who are your people?” Connect with those who like your work and with those who are in your same industry.
  • Do the groundwork. Figure out who your audience is and the best way to reach them.
  • Have a plan. Have a team.
  • Remember that social media platforms are not the only platforms that reach people; use every resource.
  • Get out and connect. Go to events specific to your industry and network, as human contact is still the best resource.

What I took away from the discussion is that there’s nothing new, there’s no magic trick to it. There is some luck involved along with the hard work, and that the traditional/old school methods are still quite viable.


Today at the Lakefront


In recent years I’ve mostly used Chicago’s lakefront for utilitarian purposes: running or walking. I’ve rarely gone to just hang out and enjoy the day. I’m always too busy. In years past, especially when one niece in particular lived in the city, we’d go there almost weekly to sit on the rock croppings to talk, be quiet or just enjoy nature as we watched the waves crash or the sail boats glide by. Even when she was a tiny thing, she’d always ask for a trip to the rocks, even occasionally — very occasionally — foregoing a trip to the nearby playground for quiet contemplation in front of the water.

Today I decided to just go hang out and it felt so very good. I was out for about four hours and I loved it. Granted; a significant chunk of that was spent on a phone call with one of my sisters, but still. It was such a pleasure and I realized that I’m going to need more of that — more contemplative time where I just sit and be quiet. It doesn’t always have to be at the lakefront, but I will have to be more deliberate about taking the time.



YUMMY MEXICAN FRUIT SALAD (I could only finish half):


Above are pictures from today and days’ past. Due to erosion, the lakefront has changed drastically just in the past 18 months. The new look is definitely a lot blander, but I understand about conservation and they have re-purposed the old rocks so that we’re still able to enjoy them. I’ve also included a photo of the awesome Mexican fruit salad I was able to buy from a pushcart — something new this year I think. My mouth watered as I impatiently watched the vendor cut up the fresh fruit (pineapple, jicama, melon, watermelon, etc.) and then season it with fresh lime juice and cayenne pepper. The result was 16 oz of heaven.

Please Accept Our Sincere Apologies

As Ros said, those of you who pre-ordered the book from amazon, please accept our sincerest apologies for this debacle.

the one who writes

If you pre-ordered Oh, What a Christmas and/or Christmas Wishes & Kisses from Amazon you did not get the entire file. There were changes made that for reasons we don’t understand did not go through. THIS IS FOR THE PRE-ORDERS ONLY.

We apologize for the inconvenience, but in order to get the corrected books, you’ll need to return and then re-buy them. Again, we are so sorry this happened.

Hold on to those pre-order receipts and we’ll make it up to you on the next book in the series, Putting the EX in Christmas. Again, this is for the pre-orders only from Amazon. All other copies of the book are fine. 

Oh, What a Christmas

Christmas Wishes & Kisses

View original post

Remember, Gee Whiz Drops 12/9.

From my writing partner Roslyn Hardy Holcomb.

the one who writes


I love holiday books like damn and whoa and fortunately, my un-indicted co-conspirator loves them too. Having worked in social services for so many years, this series, about five young women who grew up together in foster care is near and dear to my heart.

I’ve tinkered with this cover forever. And you know how when you struggle with something for a long time and somebody else comes along and makes one suggestion that is exactly right? Yeah, Whit did that to me. Being the brat that I am I wanted to ignore his suggestion, but it was so right I couldn’t but I still pouted at him, so there. Here’s the blurb and I’ll post the links as soon as it goes up. I hope you enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed writing it. And remember, sign up for my newsletter between now and release day to be entered…

View original post 202 more words