What Skillz I Bring to the Table

title image for ASMDD post

Now I think it’s time to discuss my unique skill set that I bring to this endeavor.

The first skill is, naturally, the writing skill. I’ve been writing a long time, starting while I was still in middle school. Before that, I liked to make up stories and draw, but while I was in seventh grade I started writing. Once I got to high school, the journaling became a bit more formal, and in junior and senior year, I had to hand the journal in periodically to be graded on frequency and content. I did not give up writing once I left high school, however. Instead, I accumulated thousands of pages of writing that most likely will never see the light of day, especially in its current form. Other writing was done where people could read it and comment on it, and I honed a lot of my writing skills on sites like Fiction Press and Wattpad.

The second skill I have, which isn’t mentioned much in the toolkit of the author, is HTML coding and website building. I became interested in website building long before I could use it as an indie author, and for years I experimented with building some sites on GeoCities (remember them?), Angelfire, Tripod, anywhere I could host something for free. It wasn’t until much later on, once WordPress and Joomla and Drupal appeared and took a lot of the hand coding out of the equation for many would-be website builders, that I realized that I could still use some of this knowledge…

code view in Sigil
Cue in Halloween screams here!

One of the most important marketing skills an author can have, IMO, is the ability to offer a beautiful product to their customers. Many authors have to have formatters and cover designers, either because they cannot do those things themselves or because it is too time consuming for them to do it themselves. Because I don’t get frightened by that nasty looking coding in that image, I can format my own eBooks using Sigil to fine tune the compiled EPUB I get from Scrivener (there are more details about my work flow on my other blog, and this is the first post about that process). More importantly, going forward with the Author Social Media Deep Dive, when I venture into creating Twitter Cards and putting tracking pixels in landing pages for Facebook, I can handle it without calling my webmaster…

Speaking of covers, I can say that I’m getting my more skilled with image manipulation than when I first started indie publishing.

This is the very first book cover I put on The Inventor’s Son when I published it:

iscover1800by2880 (2)
If you dig around on Goodreads, you might still actually see this one!

And this is my 2015 redeux (one of many, as followers of my other blog can tell you) which, I can safely say, I’m happy with:

The Inventor's Son
It took me three different programs to create
this cover (well, actually, it’s technically four)!

I can apply these skills to creating posts on various social media, where, anyone who is even slightly knowledgeable can tell you, images and video are where posts are headed, not merely text in 144 characters or less. While it’s true that I’m not going to need to go crazy with every image I have to create, and there are lots of free or inexpensive sources for images and such (like Canva), I still like the ability to manipulate an image freely and quickly.

Now I can talk about resources I don’t have and need to build up:

My most precious resource is time, which I don’t have very much of, TBH. I’m not sure many indie authors, or anyone else, does either. I just read someone else’s blog post where he states that he deactivated his Facebook Profile. While I can understand doing that, I know, in order to fully participated in the Author Social Media Deep Dive, I’m going to need Facebook. And Twitter. And Pinterest. Actually, any social media site has the potential to be a time suck. One of the most important questions that can be answered by the Author Social Media Deep Dive is “Can I get the maximum benefit from this site without putting lots of time into it?”

My next deficiency is the eagerness to participate in a lot of social media discussion, retweeting and other things that the more gregarious among us have. I know a lot of authors aren’t into all that social stuff either. Yes, I went to see the Star Wars movie, and no, I really don’t have the time to write a whole long blog post about what I thought about the movie, nor do I think most of my Facebook friends want to discuss all that either. This tendency to believe that no one cares about what I’m posting might be the biggest blind spot I have. Obviously, someone cares that I’m posting; I actually do have people reading this blog, my other blog, and visiting my website.

This is going to be a very interesting experience going forward: I’m challenging myself with all this, and I think it’s high time I challenged myself in this manner.

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