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I find a lot of interesting marketing ploys during my research times. Most of them are schemes or ideas that make a highly sensitive person such as myself shudder. However, there are a few I find intriguing. One such idea is called Pay with a Tweet.

What is Pay with a Tweet?

Simply put, this site allows you to create a button you can put on your web site that allows people to download whatever you choose (music, ebooks, movie trailers, etc.) and pay for it by tweeting or posting to their Facebook wall.

Essentially it’s a way to get followers and FB friends to use their social contacts to advertise your product and in turn receive a freebie from you.

Is it worth it?

According to the Pay with a Tweet web site it is, but I’m not one to accept a sales pitch without checking out what others have to say about it.  There have only been a few reviews, but considering PWT was released in June 2010 a few is still better than leaping into the dark without a flashlight.

Paul Marsden’s review, Pay with a Tweet, Pay with a Like: New Social Payments Platforms, was more or less a reiteration of the Pay with a Tweet web site, minus the short video about PWT and including The Teenagers PWT promotional video. What makes this review worth mentioning is the comments, especially deb’s who took issue with the phrase “tweet like hell” in the PWT instructions given to potential buyers.

I may not be one to cringe at the use of this particular phrase, but I know many who would be. I’m also not convinced using language of that kind is particularly professional, especially for someone like me who writes Christian books. It gives me second thoughts about using Pay with a Tweet.

Aaron Poeze’s review, Pay With a Tweet, points out two possible negatives:

  1. The “seller” isn’t making any money, so there’s a higher need to take advantage of the exposure PWT gives.
  2. If the product is terrible, then PWT becomes socially expensive. (think Jacqueline Howett)

Laura Fitton of oneforty thought the idea was great and had no problems as a customer paying with a tweet, which speaks well of the site’s ability to create what it advertises.

The verdict is…

I’m still on the fence with this one only because everything I’ve read thus far has been from the customer end. I think it’s great that people are willing to use social payment to get a free download. Going viral could be a real blessing, but it could also be a nightmare.

True, just being in business is risky. As independent authors we deal with that risk all the time. The issue as I see it with Pay with a Tweet, though, is that you absolutely have to have a great download that makes people want more or it just won’t work. In fact, it could backfire big time.

Maybe it’s just me, but I want to see some results before I leap into this. When social media works, it’s great, but when things go bad…

I’d love to hear from anyone who has used Pay with a Tweet, with good or bad results, from the seller’s point of view. What did you think of the experience? Would you recommend it?

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This week I found myself having nightmares about conspiracies and daydreaming about a long vacation at some remote beach. That’s when I realized my life was once again out of balance.

Who among us hasn’t felt like they were running uphill at full speed for days on end? It’s a common experience, especially if you’re trying to balance more than just a small family and your writing career. For most of us we’re balancing a day job, family (and all those household things that go with it), volunteer activities and a host of other responsibilities as well as launching (or maintaining) a writing career.

Yet even in the midst of all those responsibilities, and maybe even because we have them, it is important to find a balance between them and our peace of mind. The following 5 links can help you achieve a better balance.

  1. Downshifting: The First Day of the Rest of My Life, by J.D. Roth: J.D. shares his personal journey from being a regular 9-to-5 Joe with huge debt and lots of wasted time to being a problogger with finances in great shape and no time to finding a balance between his new self-employed status and having time to do nothing.
  2. 10 tips on leading a balanced life, by Allen Galbraith: Although this post is written for the 9-to-5 crowd and those self-employed in businesses other than writing, there are some helpful tips nonetheless.
  3. 5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance, by Jen Uscher and Miranda Hitti: These tips are more generalized (and also more focussed on 9-to5ers) but, again, some of them are helpful, especially when it comes to family and household responsibilities.
  4. WE ARE NOT ALONE: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, by Kristen Lamb: This book is specifically for writers and is a great tool for learning how to manage marketing via social media so that it doesn’t become a time suck.
  5. Sensitive (Mental) Health: HSPs and Burnout by Elaine Aron: This very short article is specifically for highly sensitive people, though I think some of it applies to non-hsps as well.

Balance is attainable, even if for a brief period. What are some tips you’ve discovered on maintaining a balance between your writing career and the rest of your life?

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“People forget what you say, but they remember how you made them feel”–Warren Beatty

Caring for others, wanting to help our fellow humans, comes rather naturally for highly sensitive people, so why shouldn’t promoting ourselves and our products be just as natural? Most likely because we’re thinking of “selling” rather than “marketing.”

Sell: to persuade or induce (someone) to buy something: The salesman sold me on a more expensive model than I wanted.

Market: “on the market” (to make) available for purchase

Although the difference, linguistically speaking, is subtle, there is a huge difference in the way the two are carried out.

When we think of sales, we often think of a stereo-typical used car salesman — pushy, irritating, hard to get away from. I don’t know any HSP who wants to be that person. Trying to “sell” ourselves and our products leaves a sickening feeling in our psyche. And it’s no wonder since we’re consistently thinking of how the “other” feels. We know people don’t like to feel pushed into buying what they don’t want.

However, marketing is simply letting everyone know what we have available. To market ourselves we only need to do what we do best, be kind to others. The rest will slowly take care of itself.

Kristen Lamb and JP Aguiar have similar takes on using social media, Twitter in particular, to market ourselves that really speak to the way HSP’s live.

Kristen calls her suggestion the Rule of 3’s:

  1. Conversation:  Find someone to say something to. It doesn’t need to be a lengthy chat, just a word of encouragement or congratulations. Anything friendly will do.

  2. Information: Tweet a link to a post or article you found helpful, though not necessarily your own.

  3. Reciprocation:  Retweet a link from a fellow tweeter, preferably one you think others would really enjoy.

JP calls his suggestion The 5 Fingers To Social Media Learning:

  1. Index Finger – Know Your Goals: What do you want to accomplish through social media?

  2. Middle Finger – Share The Luv: Be human. Be available. Watch for opportunities to communicate with others, then do it.

  3. Ring Finger – Build Your Community: Sharing great information and being available naturally builds relationships, which will grow your following, your community.

  4. Pinky Finger – Share You Share Yours: Be yourself, but keep it to a minimum. Remember, it’s about building a community, not selling a used car.

  5. Thumb – Be Supportive and Helpful: Watch for the needs of others. All writers like, and need, some help getting the word out about their books, blogs, etc. Be that help.

Selling anything can be difficult, but making yourself available and letting others know you have something they might be interested in isn’t nearly as hard. Social media can be a marketing dream for a highly sensitive person, especially when we dig into our natural talents to be attentive and helpful.

What other ways have you found to market your products that hinged on putting your customer’s needs first?

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If you’re a highly sensitive person like me, then you’ll understand how stressful marketing yourself, your product or your business can be. If you aren’t an HSP, then today’s marketing landscape with its hurry, scurry push in social media probably doesn’t bother you. You may, in fact, thrive on the pressure, the excitement. The downside to that is that mistakes can be made at a faster rate and be more challenging to correct.

It’s also true that HSPs will suffer more stress and anxiety if we jump into all of the things we’re told we should be doing before we take the time to fully plan where we want to end up or if we don’t pace ourselves the way we need to — at a slower rate than the rest of the world. Regardless of whether you’re thinking about blogging or using Twitter or Facebook or any other social media, as an HSP it is imperative to think it through and take your time.

I’m currently working my way through Kristen Lamb’s WE ARE NOT ALONE: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, which I highly recommend, but I have to continuously remind myself that I am not in a race. As Kristen has pointed out in previous blog posts, writing is more of a marathon than a sprint. Building an author platform goes right along with that. I may not be able to fit in 15 minutes each for Facebook, Twitter and MySpace (or whatever other social media outlet I’ve chosen) everyday, but I can certainly spend that much time on one per day, blog at least once per week and still have time left to work on my “masterpiece”.

Jumping into anything before you’re truly ready, or even mostly ready, gives a higher possibility of failure. It also means a greater possibility of losing your passion to write altogether. Still, it’s very difficult to reign in our enthusiasm, especially if we’re newer to the process. As Jody Hedlund says in her post The Pressure To Jump In Too Soon, “It’s hard enough to have patience. Therefore, when we get involved in the cyber writing world, eventually, we might begin to feel left behind or the pressure to keep up with what others are doing—even if we’re right where we need to be.”

Jody suggests 5 things newer writers can do to keep those feelings of pressure to a minimum, which I think really speak to HSPs:

  1. Concentrate on your writing because that is what will sell.

  2. You can put aside the book you’ve written without editing it. Consider it a project to revisit later when you’ve had more experience.

  3. If your story isn’t working or you’ve lost the passion for a project, it’s okay to put it away unfinished.

  4. Take the time to try out other genres. You may find your best writing isn’t in the genre you thought it was.

  5. Most importantly, spend less time thinking about what everyone else is doing and more time being you. As an HSP you know you’re unique. Capitalize on it.

It’s not the popular choice to take the slow lane when trying to forge ahead in a writing career, but for highly sensitive people it can be the best way. What other ways have you discovered to keep your career moving ahead while maintaining the balance you need as an HSP?

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I don’t think there is anyone who would disagree that blogging on a regular basis is a must to gain a solid reader base. If you want to be noticed you have to get the attention of not just people, but the internet spiders, especially those of Google. The question, however, is how often should you blog?

The vast majority, I think, would say that you absolutely must blog everyday. Their reasoning? Usually it’s an assumption that everyone prefers having their email inbox glutted with “great” new posts on a daily basis. Or it’s all about increasing your Google rank. Or both.

While blogging daily will increase your Google rank, unless it is of very high quality, a daily blog (even just on weekdays) can be seen as a nuisance to your readers — and a major stress factor for you, especially if you’re a highly sensitive person. I strongly disagree with the thought that it’s a wonderful idea to blog on a daily basis, from both a writer’s and a reader’s standpoint.

From a reader’s view, I have enough emails to wade through that the daily blogs, unless they’re amazing, simply get deleted with nothing more than a quick scan. Those that come on a weekly or monthly basis I’m more likely to take the time to read because I believe that person really took the time to produce something of high quality. (It’s a judgement call, I know, but I just haven’t seen enough fantastic daily posts to believe otherwise.)

As a writer, a daily blog puts strain on an already tight schedule. For me, blogging isn’t just sitting down to write whatever pops into my head. There is a lot of research to be done for a quality blog. Not to mention a large amount of time actually crafting and editing it. After all, a “quality” blog gives useful information and makes sure the reader has ready access to helpful sites. If all I wanted to do was give a quick tip, I’d use Twitter.

One such advocate of daily blogging is Gary Smailes of BubbleCow. Gary says in his post Why (And How) Writers Should Blog Every Day, “If you are looking to build a platform then it all comes down to priorities. If you are going to build an online presence then you need to develop a voice and audience. The more you push, the louder your voice becomes.”

If you’re an HSP like me, then pushing and speaking louder is almost the antithesis of who you are. I’m sorry, Mr. Smailes, but there are other ways of making yourself heard.

Basic networking can be done via social media or face-to-face and you don’t have to shout to do it. Building a network, and a following, does not have to happen overnight. Trying to stretch yourself beyond what you can naturally do and without the needed downtime, something non-HSPs do on a regular basis, will only make a highly sensitive person overwhelmed. I know from personal experience that trying to market myself the way “everyone else does it” or, worse, the way “everyone else says I should do it” only gave me wicked heartburn and a lot of cranky days from lack of sleep. It didn’t improve my following at all.

What has worked is crafting quality weekly blogs and networking the old-fashioned way. As a highly sensitive person, I find I absolutely must be creative — and slow — in building my platform. I may not win a lot of readers today, but over time I’m positive I can entice many on The Road to Writing.

BTW: This post took 1 hour 15 minutes to write and edit. That time does not include research on the topic of blogging.

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