Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Laura Vincent Printing & Design, presenting sponsor for the 2015 Bloganista Mini-Con, but all opinions are my own.
At last year’s Bloganista Mini-Con afternoon keynote speaker Megan LaRussa Chenoweth said that getting a new logo for her blog was one of the game changers that helped take her business to the next level.
Could this one day be your story, too?
When Dionne Love of Laura Vincent Print and Design signed on to be the presenting sponsor for this year’s Bloganista Mini-Con I was so excited. I knew her talent and knowledge about designing logos would be invaluable to the women of See Jane Write.
“A logo will help your business become more recognizable, but it also establishes credibility with potential customers,” Dionne says. “It is the fundamental component of branding and marketing that reflects your personality, your values and principles.”
And this doesn’t just apply to big-name businesses like Nike or Apple. As Megan’s story shows, this applies to bloggers, too.
Here are five things Dionne recommends you keep when mind when creating a logo for your blog or personal brand — whether you’re working with a company like Laura Vincent or designing the logo yourself:
1. Keep it simple. Consider again logos like that of Nike or Apple, or even McDonald’s. They are some of the most popular logos around but yet also the simplest.
2. Make an impression. “The ultimate goal of all businesses is to have their logo image imprinted in your memory and to make a lasting impression,” Dionne says. So be sure your logo is memorable.
3. Find a font. “Selecting the right fonts is one of the most important steps in logo creation,” Dionne says. Choose a font that’s easy to read but distinctive. Also, Dionne says you shouldn’t use more than two different fonts in your logo.
4. Get color coordinated. When choosing colors for your logo remember that color can create an emotional response, Dionne says. Also keep in mind all the different places you’ll need to display the logo such as across your various social media networks.
5. Be versatile. Remember that your logo will not only be used on your website or blog and social media accounts but also on stationery and business cards. You may even decide to sell merchandise with your logo. Be sure that your logo looks great on any medium.
“So invest the time in developing a great logo,” Dionne says. “You and your business will reap the rewards!”
Dionne Love of Laura Vincent Printing and Design will be available at the Bloganista Mini-Con to chat with attendees about logo design and more. She’ll also be giving a discount on her logo design services to one lucky attendee.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by LightWorks Chair Massage, but all opinions are my own.
If you’re like me, you’re a juggling your blogging and writing pursuits with a full-time job plus responsibilities to family and friends and community commitments. This leaves very little time to just take care of yourself, and so you don’t. But it’s time to change that and you can start Saturday by simply getting a free chair massage at the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing and Design. LightWorks Chair Massage will be on site offering free massages to us bloganistas.
Here are three reasons you need to get a massage Saturday and beyond.
You need to be more productive.
Because we women writers and bloggers are so busy working our day jobs and taking care of our families, we usually have very little time to actually work on our writing. So when we do we need to be as productive as possible. Jo Anderson of LightWorks Chair Massage says that research shows that chair massage in the workplace significantly reduces stress and increases focus and productivity.
“Our corporate clients tell us that their 15-minute sessions have made a big impact on employee morale and sick days,” Anderson said.
So chances are massage — whether you get an hour-long full body massage or just a quick chair massage from the folks at LightWorks — will help you be more productive when working on your own projects as well.
You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.
“There is no doubt that in order to be healthy we have to keep our stress levels low,” Anderson said. “That’s not always an easy task, but knowing that stress increases the risk of heart disease 40 percent and stroke 50 percent can be a great motivator.”
Anderson added that massage improves sleep, soothes anxiety and depression, boosts immunity and relieves headaches.
“Those are huge health benefits since at least 60 percent of all disease is stress related,” Anderson said.
If getting an hour-long massage is just out of the question with your budget right now, try convincing your boss to invite LightWorks Chair Massage to your workplace.
“Many people think they have to get an hour massage to reap the benefits but that isn’t so,” Anderson said. “Even a 10-15 minute massage contributes markedly to one’s health and well being, making it a good fit for the business community.”
You’re breaking your New Year’s Resolution.
At the start of the year I made a resolution to get a massage every month. We’re now at the end of July and you know how many massages I’ve had — NONE! Self-care is an area in which I constantly come up short and chances are you probably struggle with this too. Chances are you too vowed to take better care of yourself this year and yet you keep pushing self-care to the side for work or the needs of others.
If you’re coming to the Bloganista Mini-Con Saturday I hope you will take advantage of a free chair massage. And I hope that on August 1, the start of a new month and thus a new chance to get things right, we all will vow again to take better care of ourselves and remember that self-care is not a luxury.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by True North Business Development, but all opinions are my own.
For several months I’ve been wrestling over many questions regarding the future of See Jane Write and my future as a writer and blogger.
Should I make See Jane Write a national organization?
What should I do with my personal brand Writeous Babe?
Can I grow my writing career and build a business?
Should I relaunch my magazine?
How can I and how should I make See Jane Write bigger and better?
Every night before bed I’d make up my mind about what’s next for me and See Jane Write and every morning I’d change my mind after getting inspired with a new idea.
I asked everybody from my husband and my lawyer to almost complete strangers what I should do. I asked my intern and my closest friends. I asked business coaches and brand strategists. I asked God.
My hope was that everyone would suggest I do the same thing. But, of course, everyone gave different, often conflicting advice. Then one day my intern said to me, “At the end of the day only you can make the decision.” Out of the mouths of babes…
She was right. So then I was faced with a new question: Why on earth couldn’t I make a decision?!
Lois specializes in helping entrepreneurs and organizations define a clear vision for their business and their lives. Last month I attended one of Lois’ workshop and had an epiphany: I HAVE NO VISION FOR SEE JANE WRITE!
I sure thought I did. But what I really had was a mission and that’s not the same thing. Lois explained the difference: A mission is aspirational. It’s why you do what you do but it’s work that will never be done. My mission is to empower women and girls through the written word. That’s why I write, that’s why I encourage other women to write, and that’s why I started See Jane Write. But this is work that will never be over. I will never wake up one day and declare that all women and girls have been sufficiently empowered!
A vision, on the other hand, is “a definition of success at a specific point in the future,” Lois explained. Where do you want to go? When do you want to get there? What does it look like?
“The question isn’t which road do you take, it’s where are you going,” Lois said.
I realized I’d been asking all these people for directions and had no idea where I was trying to go!
Lois explained that once you’ve defined your vision, decision making is easy. If something doesn’t get you closer to your vision, you don’t do it. Plain and simple. And I know this. I preach this to my clients who struggle with time management. But what I didn’t know was that I didn’t have a vision in the first place.
Do you have a vision for your business, blog, or writing career? Do you have a clear definition of success at a specific point in the future? Do you know where do you want to go, when you want to get there and what it will look like when you arrive?
Lois is a sponsor for this year’s Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design and will be at the event to chat with you about the importance of having a vision and the process of defining one for yourself. But, I’ll be honest with you. I would have written about her and this experience even if she weren’t a sponsor. Lois’ workshop made me a true believer in the power of knowing your “True North.” Two weeks after that workshop I hired her to help me with See Jane Write. With Lois’ help I am going to define a clear vision for See Jane Write and for my writing career and I am confident that after that I will be unstoppable!
What’s your vision for your blogging or writing career?
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Church Street Coffee & Books, one of our sponsors for the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design.
There was a time when self-published authors got little respect from the literary world, but things are changing. Slowly but surely, self-published authors are being seen in the same light as talented independent filmmakers and musicians — artists producing great work that they are determined to share with the world no matter what.
Unfortunately, however, it can still be pretty tough for self-published authors to get their work sold in brick-and-mortar bookstores.
Carrie was kind enough to do a guest post for us listing the dos and don’ts for how to get your book in bookstores.
From Carrie Rollwagen:
Don’t be pushy.
The number one problem self-published authors have is being pushy and aggressive. This makes sense, because being proactive is a good thing in some sales situations, but bookselling just isn’t one of them. When approaching a bookstore, remember that it’s our job as authors to make our books attractive to booksellers and to make a convincing case that our books could make money for the bookstore — it is not the job of a bookseller to put time and effort into promoting or selling our books for us, or to give us shelf space just because we put time into writing a book.
Do offer your books on consignment.
This is one part of the process that self-published authors almost always mess up, and it’s the one that’s most likely to mean you’ll never see your books in stores. In order to be considered for shelf space in most bookstores, you’ll have to offer the store at least 40% off the cover price, and you’ll need to offer your books on consignment instead of asking a store to buy them outright. It’s true that this makes the process much more annoying for us as authors because we’re never sure if our books will be returned, and we might even have to pay shipping for returns. But if we’re going to ask bookstores to give our little books a chance in their stores, we need to offer terms similar to the returns policies and discounts they get from more established publishers. A 40% discount and consignment agreement is really the only way to do that.
Do leave a free copy of your book.
When you self-publish a book, it hurts to give copies away for free, especially when you’re fairly certain they won’t be read. But it’s important to give free review copies to booksellers anyway. Don’t leave a copy of your book and ask that it be returned to you — booksellers receive anywhere from dozens to hundreds of review copies each month, and they just don’t have time to keep track of returns. Giving away review copies for free is just part of the cost of doing business in the world of publishing.
Do be willing to wait.
Booksellers and managers are often very busy, so don’t walk into a bookstore and expect someone to have time to meet with you (although you should be prepared with a copy of your book and a consignment agreement in case they do). Tell the bookseller you’re an author who’s hoping to see the store carry your book, and ask what the best way is to reach the manager — usually that’s leaving a copy of the book so they can look at it when they have time, or sending an email with a summary and contact information. (Never interrupt while customers are buying books or when a bookseller is trying to make a sale.)
Don’t tell a bookseller how to display your work.
It’s a great idea to provide marketing materials like free bookmarks or posters for book signings, but do not tell the bookseller that they SHOULD use these materials. Do not tell a bookseller how much shelf space to give you, or tell them that they need to set your book face-out, or tell them that if they would only sell your book, they’d be making tons of money. Give the bookseller enough respect to assume they know their business better than you do, and let them be the ones to decide how to market and sell your book.
Do be a customer.
If possible, buy something at the store when you visit. This isn’t always doable, but proving that you’re a smart bookstore shopper who cares about the financial health of the bookstore will usually go a long way toward getting you an audience with the store’s book buyer.
Do follow and communicate with the bookstore on social media.
The more the booksellers know that you understand their store and pay attention to what they do, the more likely they are to give you a hearing when you come in and ask them to pay attention to your book. Follow on social media, favorite a post once in awhile, and retweet when you can — often the person running the social media account is the same one you’ll be talking to when you pitch your book (or at least those people work closely together), so a little positive attention can really help.
Don’t mention Amazon.
Amazon is an incredibly touchy subject with a lot of booksellers because the company is actively trying to destroy local bookstores. Most customers, and sadly, most self-published authors, don’t understand this, and try to use Amazon numbers, Amazon reviews or Amazon rankings as reasons for stocking books. There’s no need to attack Amazon, but it’s probably wise to avoid mentioning them when talking to independent booksellers. (Also be aware that if your book is published through one of Amazon’s self-publishing services, you could meet a lot of resistance with brick-and-mortar stores.)
At this year’s Bloganista Mini-Con you could win a free copy of Rollwagen’s book The Localist and an adorable Shop Small tote bag designed by Rebecca Minkoff. Be sure to bring your business cards to enter to win this and other door prizes!
Planning for the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design had been stressing me out! In fact, I’d been so stressed I was started to doubt myself and everything I do.
Who am I to think I can empower women with See Jane Write, I asked myself.
Then Thursday night happened.
On Thursday, July 23 See Jane Write held the 2015 Bloganista Mixer presented by Collage Designer Consignment and it was fabulous!
How amazing it was to see so many bright and beautiful women gathered in one place all because they believe in self-expression through blogging and writing.
What I loved most was how all the women in attendance treated one another like family. Even if you were “blogless,” as a few women described themselves, you were welcomed with open arms.
I loved learning about the blogs these women were building or the ones they wanted to created. Women shared with me their writing hopes and dreams and the fears that are holding them back from pursuing them.
We chatted about fashion, food, fitness, and so much more.
Only with a group a lady bloggers and bloganistas can you have a serious conversation about aging and a silly conversation about barbecued pig ears in the same night!
Of course, some ladies did some shopping and they were quite impressed by Collage’s wide array of sizes and styles.
Thursday’s mixer wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Collage Designer Consignment. I can’t thank Collage owner Tracy True Dismukes enough for opening up her Vestavia store to us. The ladies of the Collage team were the most gracious of hostesses, treating us to delicious hors d’oeuvres and even giving each of us a free Collage tote bag!