Matthew Wayne Selznick http://www.mattselznick.com author and creator Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:50:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Look, New Focus, New Websitehttp://www.mattselznick.com/2014/03/25/new-website-new-look-new-focus/ http://www.mattselznick.com/2014/03/25/new-website-new-look-new-focus/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 20:11:33 +0000 http://www.mattselznick.com/?p=12630 It’s been about fifteen months since I last unveiled an updated version of mattselznick.com, but it didn’t take that long to realize the site I created fell short. For the last five months, working in fits and starts between client work and creative work, I’ve been tinkering on a new website that better represents my […]

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It’s been about fifteen months since I last unveiled an updated version of mattselznick.com, but it didn’t take that long to realize the site I created fell short. For the last five months, working in fits and starts between client work and creative work, I’ve been tinkering on a new website that better represents my work as it is and as I want it to be.

And now, at last, the new website is, as they say in some circles, a minimally viable product. It’s time to share it with you and get on with things.

A New Focus

At the beginning of 2014, I wrote:

I’m abandoning all personal projects that don’t have anything directly to do with making things with words, music, pictures and people. I’ll also be ruthlessly blocking myself from starting projects that won’t add to either my community or my bottom line.

Author and Creator Matthew Wayne Selznick Builds A New Website To Accompany His Statement of Intent for 2014That’s a pretty clear statement of intent. I should post it on my wall next to my computer. In fact, I just did.

What does it mean for this new website?

It means my website—which I really do consider both my home on the web and also a sort of extension / amplifier of my self—ought to “serve the mission,” as we used to say in the book retail business.

The mission is on the three by five card I just stuck on the wall to my immediate right. It’s simple, but demanding.

Everything I do should be in some way connected to making something… while at the same time, everything I do must either build community or put money in my pocket.

Ideally, both.

So the new website is much more strongly focused on building my mailing list (community) and on selling my creative works (the bottom line / making things). Soon, the community, making things, and selling things will meet in a patronage system.

A New Look

This site is both leaner and, dare I say it, sexier, than the version that came before.

The Home Page

Rather than a home page that serves many masters (latest blog post, links to buy books and short stories and stuff, right-hand sidebar stuffed with everything under the sun), the new home page does three things:

  1. Tells you who I am and what I do in just six words
  2. Asks you to join the community (you’ll get a free e-book sampler!)
  3. Presents a perpetual parade of products to purchase (yay, alliteration!)

Every link on the home page not having to do with the mailing list takes you to my shop. When it comes to serving the mission to build community and add to the bottom line, this home page doesn’t mess around.

Interior Pages

The interior pages are intended to be clean, bright, and easy on the eyes. The header, single sidebar, content area, and footer all float over the persistent and always-changing full-screen backplate featuring art from my various works.

The top navigation menu serves the mission: links to join the community and buy things come first, followed by information about patronage opportunities (more on that very, very soon, gang). Links to an about page, the blog, and contact information come only after the mission-critical stuff is presented.

There are no sub-menus on this new website. I’m going to do my best to keep sub-menus to a minimum. I might try to get away with not using them at all.

The sidebar serves the mission by presenting the shopping cart and a call to action for the mailing list first, followed by a search box. There’s more to come in that space, especially once the patronage system is launched, but for now… that’s it. Sure, it makes for a short sidebar, but I don’t want to fill that space just because it’s empty.

Finally, the footer offers up a secondary menu—I hope you’ll check out the Credits page if you’re interested in some of the plugins and services the site depends upon—and a few select social networking links for folks who might be looking to connect in that way.

Does it seem strange that social networking links are relegated to the very bottom of each page? Aren’t social networks part of the community-building effort?

Here’s the thing: I want to encourage people to be part of my community via my mailing list and, soon, my patronage system. Facebook, Twitter, and the rest are all well and good to a certain, ever-changing, sometimes diminishing degree, but nothing—nothing—beats a mailing list subscriber when it comes to loyalty, dedication, evangelism, and sales conversion.

I hope where I’ve placed those social media icons sends a signal when compared to the number of prompts to join the mailing list community. It’s intentional.

The Blog

In the main menu, I refer to the blog as “News & Views” because I intend to limit blog posts to those two things: news about my creative endeavors and career as an author and creator, and views on related topics. I’ll post when there’s something to post about. The blog is, as I’ve written above, no longer the focal point of this site.

By the way, if you’re interested in more personal essays, those will appear semi-regularly as exclusive content for my mailing list community members. I envision that content to include in-depth explorations of creative influences, the creative process, observations on the creative life from an emotional perspective, and similar topics.

You should subscribe if you haven’t already done so.

The Shopping Cart

While I’m a big fan of Gumroad, the digital distribution and payment processing platform I used for much of the last year, I’ve shifted over to an on-site shopping cart.

Not only does this offer me a lot more flexibility in how I present the things I sell, it’s built to tie in directly with membership and affiliate systems from the same software house.

And yes, that’s a little hint at things to come.

The shopping cart depends on PayPal to handle processing… and no, you don’t have to have a PayPal account to use it. All major credit cards (and debit cards) are accepted.

Please Test The New Website!

I’ve designed the new website to look great and work great in all modern browsers. Rather than attempt to make it universally compatible with every version of every browser at every possible screen resolution, I’ve focused on the configurations my analytics tells me are the most common for my visitors.

I know as well as anyone that stuff that works in development sometimes falls short in the real world. So, if you notice anything odd, missing, or just plain broken, I hope you’ll take a moment to let me know. A comment on this post is fine, but if you have the time, an e-mail is better… and either way, please let me know as much information as possible regarding your browsing environment (operating system and version, browser and version, screen resolution, and so on…)

Welcome!

Thanks for checking out the new website. If you’re reading this via RSS, please click through and take a look at this post in its natural habitat!

And in case I haven’t mentioned it enough: please join the free community mailing list! I’ll send you a free e-book sampler with over 20,000 words excerpted from my novels, short stories, and non-fiction works. And while I hope it goes without saying, I will not sell, rent, lease, or otherwise share your information with anyone else.

Finally: for the authors, poets, musicians, and other creative types reading this: does your website serve your mission? If not… how can you fix that? I’d love to talk about it in the comments!

This post, New Look, New Focus, New Website appeared first on the website of author and creator Matthew Wayne Selznick. If you liked it, please click through and comment, or subscribe to the mailing list for a free e-book! Thanks!

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Authors: This Secret To Selling Books On Social Networks Will Completely Change The Way You Sell Books On Social Networkshttp://www.mattselznick.com/2014/03/05/sell-books-on-social-networks/ http://www.mattselznick.com/2014/03/05/sell-books-on-social-networks/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 18:46:05 +0000 http://www.mattselznick.com/?p=10715 Author and creator Matthew Wayne Selznick shares the secret authors need to know when they want to sell books on social networks.

This post, Authors: This Secret To Selling Books On Social Networks Will Completely Change The Way You Sell Books On Social Networks appeared first on the website of author and creator Matthew Wayne Selznick. If you liked it, please click through and comment, or subscribe to the mailing list for a free e-book! Thanks!

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My goodness, that’s a keyword-laden title, isn’t it? It’s sure to bring indie authors like you clicking over, keen to find a quick way to replace Amazon KDP Select, book-matching advertising networks, acronym-heavy hashtag clubs, or whatever it is that used to work to sell books on social networks last month.

Good thing you got here first!

Well, now that you are here, dear author, it’s time for some tough truth regarding just how to sell books on social networks.

If you’re on social networks to sell books, you are, as the kids say, Doing It Wrong.

I know, I know… you feel a little betrayed right now.

It hurts.

I know it hurts.

After all, the headline led you to believe you were going to learn how to sell books on social networks, and right off the bat, here I am, following up the bait with the switch and telling you that’s just… silly.

But seriously… is this your first day on the Web? You didn’t see that coming? Have you never read Upworthy? Buzzfeed..?

Oh, come on. Be honest. You know you have.

Anyway, wipe your eyes. There really is a secret, of a kind, but frankly, I find it baffling that that it seems to be a secret at all. But it really will change the way you sell book on social networks, assuming you’re one of those writers who tries to sell books on social networks.

At least, I sure hope it will.

The Big Secret

Social networks are not for selling books. Social networks are for being social.

Now, you’re probably a writer, so I’d like to think you’re pretty clever. I’d like to think we can both stop right here, because you get it. You’re shaking your head and laughing to yourself, looking at the screen and muttering, “Hah. Of course. Social networks are for being social!”

On the other hand, I’ve been on social networks for most of a decade. I’ve seen how writers are. Especially indie authors.

So… yeah, stick around for a few more paragraphs, would you?

You Are Very Not Good At Handshake, by Drew at lefthandedtoons.comHave you ever gone to a party or some other social gathering where you’re likely to meet new people, and some bozo hands you a business card right after (or, heaven help you, while) you’re introduced and shake hands?

Have you ever followed someone on Twitter, and the very next communication from that person is an automatically-sent direct message including a link to their book?

Do either of those situations leave you thinking, “Hey, what a neat person I’d like to get to know?”

Do either of those situations leave you thinking, “Hey, thanks! I can’t wait to do business with you!”

Probably not. When’s the last time you bought insurance from some stranger you met at a mixer? When’s the last time you bought a book as a result of first contact with a new social media connection?

Oh… wait… oh, this is a little awkward, isn’t it? Some of you reading this are that person… the one quick with the business card… the one with the automatic direct message set up to fire whenever someone follows you.

Okay, listen. Really listen:

Don’t be that person.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: No one shows up at a party wearing a sandwich board. If you do, you’ll be ignored at best; ridiculed at worst.

Social networks are not for selling.

But I Want To Sell Books On Social Networks

I understand. You’re on the damn social networks all day, after all, chatting it up with fellow writers, opining at the drop of a hat on things you known nothing about, complaining about some has-been, traditionally-published author’s Guardian opinion piece, sharing cat pictures and memes and videos and whatnot… hey, why not also make a buck?

Resist.

Remember: social networks are for being social. So just be… social. Be human.

Watch What Happens When You Stop Trying to Sell Books On Social Networks

When your primary focus is on being social rather than looking for sales all the time, you’ll gradually notice something neat.

Some social network friends pop up more than others… or maybe you simply notice them more because you realize you like them… and they like you!

You share interests, sensibilities, a common background… where have they been all your life?

They may have always been there… but you were too busy showering the web with your hashtag firehose to see them.

Before you know it, those people are your actual friends. People you care about, who care about you. Just like in “real life!”

Some of them, while you weren’t looking, even without you asking, might have actually read your books. Especially if you’ve made friends in social networks that have something to do with the subject matter of your book (that’s a hint, dear reader / writer).

And because they care about you and your success, they want you to succeed. It’s not a matter of selling any more, not with these folks.

They’re the best kind of readers: they’re your tribe. They’re your people. Many of them will become unprompted evangelists for your work.

They’ll retweet you, and you won’t even have to ask!

I know. It’s weird! But it happens!

Change Your Perspective

Don’t expect social networks to make you any money. You can’t monetize a handshake. Please stop trying. You’re getting your snake oil all over your colleagues and peers.

Don’t try to build a platform. Don’t try to build an audience.

Use social networks to build a community. You know: A social. Network.

Your career will benefit from that. And no one will be reluctant to shake your hand for fear of what you’ll slip into their palm.

Whether you’re an author or a reader, or, like (gosh, I hope) most authors, an author who also reads, please leave a comment on what you’ve just read. Authors, it would be neat if you would share stories about your community of readers. Readers, I’d love to hear about a moment of true connection you’ve had with an author, and why (or why not) that inspires you to support their creative endeavors.

Thanks!

This post, Authors: This Secret To Selling Books On Social Networks Will Completely Change The Way You Sell Books On Social Networks appeared first on the website of author and creator Matthew Wayne Selznick. If you liked it, please click through and comment, or subscribe to the mailing list for a free e-book! Thanks!

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Two Independent Creative Projects That Deserve Your Supporthttp://www.mattselznick.com/2014/02/19/support-these-two-independent-creative-projects/ http://www.mattselznick.com/2014/02/19/support-these-two-independent-creative-projects/#respond Thu, 20 Feb 2014 01:32:32 +0000 http://www.mattselznick.com/?p=10687 Allow me to share with you some new and upcoming creative projects by two authors I think you should be aware of.

This post, Two Independent Creative Projects That Deserve Your Support appeared first on the website of author and creator Matthew Wayne Selznick. If you liked it, please click through and comment, or subscribe to the mailing list for a free e-book! Thanks!

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The last three Scribtotum posts have been self-promotional. That’s not only okay, it’s pretty much what you should expect from this site, seeing as how this blog is the megaphone of a guy who earns a chunk of his living making things for people to purchase.

But (at least for (most of) this post) enough about me!

Allow me to share with you some new and upcoming creative projects by two authors I think you should be aware of. Granted, both of these authors are pretty darn well known in their own circles, but you might not be aware of them or their work.

So. Consider this my personal endorsement of these guys.

J.C. Hutchins: The 33

I’ve been J.C. Hutchins’ patron, consultant, customer, editor, collaborator, and most importantly, pal since January of 2006. His name is written on one of the fingers of the hand I use to count the people I’ve met through the Internet and consider actual, last-century-definition-friends.

Even if I didn’t know him from Adam, whatever in the hell that means, I would tell you he’s a creative powerhouse whose imagination has amplified and enhanced creative franchises, people, and brands like the X-Men films, David Cronenberg, Almost Human, Jordan Weisman, Stephen King, and many others. Like many in-demand creative professionals, he’s written stuff you’ve dug, and you don’t even know it.

Which is why I get excited when “Hutch” has an opportunity to release his own creative projects. His latest is The 33.

The Best TV Show You’ll Ever Read

promotional image of the 33 by j.c. hutchinsThat’s the best capsule description of The 33 I can offer. Presented as a series of monthly e-books, The 33 is structured like a season of a television show, including stand-alone “episodes” and what promises to be a mind-blowing, powerfully entertaining season-long arc. It’s The A-Team meets The X-Files with a 21st-Century, AMC / FX / HBO sensibility.

Each installment is available as an ebook and an audiobook read by the author. While the first four installments are intended as a four-part “pilot,” this is not a serial in the traditional sense. Each can be enjoyed on their own.

Which is exactly what you should do. The first installment is available now; the second drops very soon. Get in on it.

Get The 33 by J.C. Hutchins

Tim Pratt: Lady of Misrule

I don’t remember the first Tim Pratt story I read, but I do remember with great fondness the first Tim Pratt story I read out loud: the 2007 Hugo Award winning “Impossible Dreams,” for the venerable and excellent podcast magazine Escape Pod.

Since that time, I’ve connected with Tim on the social networks and found that he seems to share my attitude of accessibility and openness when it comes to the relationship between reader and author. Inasmuch as one can discern such things from virtual interaction, Tim seems like a genuinely nice guy.

Of course, Tim Pratt the person could be a black box of inscrutability (yes, that’s redundant, but imagine the unknowable-ness!!!) and Tim Pratt the author would undeniably still be a versatile storyteller with a deft touch for exploring both deep humanity and uncanny wonder.

His prolific career has earned him a boatload of nominations and awards, he’s been enlisted to write in both the Pathfinder and Forgotten Realms storyworlds… but by his own admission, his favorite character is Marla Mason, part-time Goddess of Death.

Tim’s written a bunch of stories and seven novels featuring Marla (under the name T. A. Pratt), and he’s just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the eighth, Lady of Misrule. As a fan and a patron, I’d like to see that campaign succeed. You should, too!

Here’s Tim to tell you about it:

Why Support Lady of Misrule With Your Patronage?

Let’s not be coy, gang: Tim Pratt is not going to have any trouble reaching his funding goal for this project funded this project minutes after I posted this. That’s no reason to sit it out.

Like many author crowdfunding campaigns, the Kickstarter campaign for Lady of Misrule includes a bunch of nifty pledge rewards. The best deal, especially if you’re just discovering Tim’s work, is the $40.00 level. Included:

  • Your name in the Acknowledgements section of the book
  • An e-book bundle of Lady of Misrule in various formats
  • A complete e-book collection of Tim’s stories to date
  • The seven previous Marla Mason novels in e-book format

Eight novels and over 130 short stories for forty bucks? Seriously? That’s a desert-island collection of fiction for nano-pennies per word. And I’m telling you: these stories are worth many, many times that price.

So get to it. Pledge your support of Tim Pratt’s Kickstarter campaign to write the eighth Marla Mason novel, Lady of Misrule.

Okay, Just A Little Bit About Me

Hopefully, you’ve already clicked away and you’re busy cracking your wallet for the works of J.C. Hutchins and Tim Pratt. But since you might still be reading, I want to make sure you know how you can get a free sampler of my own fiction and non-fiction.

Simply subscribe to my free e-mail newsletter and I’ll get you a link to an e-book collection that includes generous samples of everything I’ve written through 2013:

But Matt, I’ve Been A Subscriber For Years!

YOU ROCK! Unless you’ve signed on in the last month or so, you should still subscribe to this list — it’s going to replace my old one before too long, and it’s the only way to get the sampler.

But Matt, I Already Own All Your Fiction And Non-Fiction

YOU REALLY ROCK! I hope you’ll still consider subscribing for free, since I’m going to be writing exclusive content for members of the list that won’t appear on my blog or anywhere else on the web.

Plus, every time I release new fiction, non fiction, or other creative products, my mailing list subscribers are always given first crack at pre-orders at a deeper discount than I offer anywhere else.

Ya gotta do it!

Thanks!

This post, Two Independent Creative Projects That Deserve Your Support appeared first on the website of author and creator Matthew Wayne Selznick. If you liked it, please click through and comment, or subscribe to the mailing list for a free e-book! Thanks!

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