Try Something New (The Business of Creativity) (To Write and Have Written)

It’s important to try new things! Don’t get in a rut with your marketing; experiment. It’s both useful and fun. Here’s what I’m trying (and it might not work!)

That AppSumo affilate link mentioned:

See for privacy and opt-out information.

Video (from Twitch and YouTube):



Try Something New (the Business of Creativity) – powered by Happy Scribe

What if we try it with 100 percentmore sound, how does that work?

Oh, yay.Thank you.

Thank you,friendly chat minions to tell me that I

forgot to turn my micon while I was panicking.

So what you did not hearme explaining was that

I was all ready to go and I got an errormessage that my stream key was invalid,

which, you know, it’s the same streamkey and I haven’t changed anything.

And I’d been streaming my prep screen,so I don’t know what was going on.

I’ve angered some streamingminor deity somewhere.

And so this is, we’re fixed now.We’re good.

We’re ready to go, OK?

All righty, so how’s everybodydoing this week?

We’re in September, which is crazy.

I was telling a friend this week,I’m like, how can it be September?

Like, on the one hand,2020 has lasted for seven years.

And on the other hand,how can it be September?

Because I haven’t done anything this year.

So it’s this really odd dichotomy of feeling,

you know, just completely strung outand compressed at the same time.

So, OK, so this week we are going to dosomething new and that is literally it.

That’s literally the topic.

We are going to do something new.

So I just was asked about that a few

minutes ago and I was like,oh, we’re doing something new.

Oh, no, no, seriously,that’s that’s actually what we’re doing.

So we’re going to get on that.

I do want to share somenews to start as well.

So I have been calling this “the thing”for, since late July.

I think, whenever it was that I got startedhere and, you know, I didn’t want to call

it “the show’ because it sounded way toopretentious and it didn’t want to call it

the “Laura talks for a while” because,well, way to sell the product.

And I didn’t, you know, just, Ididn’t have anything I wanted to call it.

I was, what, this is like me and mymicrophone and blah, blah, blah.

But I realized that I was going to haveto name it if for no other reason then

after we’re done here, I take thisrecording and I put it on YouTube and

I need a way to tell peoplehow to find it on YouTube.

So where I know people have been listening

to the replays there and commentingand such, which is great.

Thank you guys for for being therewhen you’re hearing this later.

And then I’m also going to put itinto a podcast so that we can, because

seriously, nobody needsto see me while I’m talking.


So there has to be a title ifyou’re going to do these things.

So we have a title.

I hate titles, by the way, like

when we’re doing this,if anybody has any great creative input

on how to title things,that’s what I need you guys to do

for me, that is my weak point.

So anyway, we are — drumroll –To Write And Have Written.

A Writers Guideto the Business Side.

There we go.That sounds, I don’t know,

it sounds very pretentious and faintlywizard like and it’s what I got.

So that’s what we’re doing.

So I will be putting in.Oh, wait.

I actually, do I have.

Let me see, hold on.

We were going to oh, that’s notwhy I wanted to be sorry, hold on,

but this is what the.

There we go, look, look, a visual, hurray.

All right, if you’re on the podcast herelater, you will not be able to see that.

But it’s the same album art that youwill see in the podcast.

So so thank you guys fortolerating my fun little thing on that.

I’ve been working on that that title

for way too long because I’mnot great at titles, so.

Oh yeah.Thanks.

Chat people.I like it.

I like that you like it.Hurray.

Thank you.OK, so.

Yeah.So we’re doing this live.

I always love people to come and,and chat and ask questions and let’s make

this interactive because seriously nobodywants to listen to me talk for an hour.

Right.So please, please talk and make

interactive, make this interactiveand fun, but then it will be on YouTube.

It always takes a while to get up

on YouTube, usually about 48 hours, butthat then goes up with closed captions.

We’re not doing closed captions live

on Twitch because,I mean, that would be hilarious.

But I’ve found that the closed captioningservices don’t really like what I say

naturally, especially when I was doing mytalks about Japanese history and whatnot.

For some reason, Aizuwakamatsu is nota default in the dictionary, who knew?

so it gives me a chance to runthe the transcription and check it for

readability, sensible words.

And then that goes up on YouTubeand then it will also be on the podcast.

So that’s where we’re going with thatand brief update in the land of Laura just

because because it’s my showand you can’t stop me.

But yeah, I’ve been workingon Kin & Kind this week a lot.

I went back and oh my gosh, I haveactually quite a lot of words in this

manuscript and some of themare really good words.

And there are some partsthat are really good.

So.So there. Oh hi, Joe.

Welcome.So so that’s that’s what’s going on.

I am wearing, I will throwthis as a video.

I’m wearing my my personal

Shard of Elan swag.

This is one of my favoriteshirts.

It’s just a shirt that says

“Luca deserved better,” which isa extremely accurate line in the book.

So there you go.

So yes, I’m wearing my own swag today.

And the last couple of weeks you’ve beenhearing me talk about the story that was

due at the end of August that I was kindof panicky about because I was like,

oh, deadline, I’ve gota month to write this.

I need to get it up there.

Well, it turned out that story isnot due until the end of September.

So, yeah, I’ve gotgot a rough draft.

It’s not great, but it’s there.

But I’ve got a littlemore time to work on it.

So that was good.

And then

the end of last week,I got a little email saying, hey,

just a reminder, if you haven’t turned inthat ghost story that you agreed to write

eleven months ago and then forgot to writedown in the proper way so that you didn’t

realize that deadline was coming upand you completely haven’t even thought

of a plot for it, much less workedon a draft or anything like that.

Yeah, that’s due on the first.

Make sure you get it in.

And I kind of went, oh yeah.

So so that’s what I did this weekend.

And I wrote this fun littlehorror story in two days.

And I have I posted this on my on my pageonline, if you’ve seen it already,

where, you know,

for all that we talk about,you know, I’ve talked before about

there’s definitely a reasonto practice

cramming as many words into an hour as youcan, just working on output, you know,

turn off the inner editor,just crank as much as you can out there.

That’s not the way youneed to work all the time.

Absolutely not.

But there is an advantage to working on itperiodically for both craft

and development, which we’reactually going to talk about

in October,

I think that’s on the calendar for that,but it’s also very helpful for that situation

when you realize that you totally forgotthat you had a hard deadline

with absolutely no extensionsas per the editor’s email.

There we go.So it was like, hey,

let’s get this done.I’m actually pretty happy with that story.

It’s it’s got the surrealists in it

and post-modernism anda little bit of ghost action and.

Yeah, it’ll be fun.So.

So Natalie says that.Yeah.

“Good words.I love that.

‘Oh hey, this doesn’t even suck’feeling when reading my own work.”

Oh my gosh.

That is,you know, because we’re all used

to the to the you’re readingyour work and you’re like, hmm,

we had to have a first draft.This is it.

Hurray.OK, but then there’s those moments where

you read it and you’re like, oh wow,this isn’t awful, you know?

And then there’s also moments whenyou’re like, this is fantastic.

Who wrote this?And sometimes it appears on my computer

and I have no memory of writing it,but it’s in a file that only I have.

So it probably was me logically,

but I’m holding out possiblythe theory of the little

cobblers of the elves that make the shoes,

possibly writers have little elvesthat come in and put good scenes in their work.

I don’t know.So, OK, that’s enough of that.

Let’s oh, do we want to do a briefreminder recap, I guess, from last week.

Last week, we talked about

getting started with marketing and

just defining branding and starting to puttogether the pieces of an author platform

or let’s be more generala creator platform.

And so, again, it’s not a kit.

You’re not going to get itall done in the first day.

But you can you know,we’re starting to get those pieces in.

And one of them, one of the things I asked

you to do at the very endof that was to create a spreadsheet.

We’re going to track what we’recalling author snapshots.

I did not come up with that term,but I don’t know whom to credit.

I’m so sorry,

but it’s just the first of every month

we’re going to say, OK, this isthis is what our data is.

And then we can use that datato make good decisions.

And I was supposed to do that today,but my day did not go as planned.

I’m supposed to do a lot of things todaythat did not get done before this video.

So I will be doing those later tonight.

Yay midnight. So

I wanted to just ask, did anybodyout there in Chat Land do this?

And so one of the things that I actuallystill have mine open because I did just

a little bit of it while we weretrying to get organized here.

So I noticed I wanted to share my

email subscriber lists and

excuse me,

my my list is several thousand people.

But I just wanted to say overthe last few months, the the

it’s been fluctuating by upto about 100 and people.

So I just want to say, like in April,

it ended in 655and then May 643

637, 669,650, 587.

So it’s been going up and downover the course of the year.

And I’m not been, I’ve not been doing

a lot differently in marketingover the last six months.

But I just noticed that when I was

entering that, that’sfluctuating about 100 people.

And I just wanted to say again,that’s totally normal.

If we remember last last week when I saidI’m not worried about a change from one

snapshot to the next,I’m worried about trends.

That’s what I’m more concerned about.

So, again, don’t stress out.

You get on the scale in the morning,you’re up a pound.

Who freaking cares, it’s twenty four hours.

You can’t tell anything, right.

You don’t freak out about a pound anyway.

Just don’t, don’t do that to yourself.

But my point is like we’re interestedin trends. So.

OK, Grace is waiting for a new cover soshe can start data on a good baseline.


“So there’s no there’s noreally no data right now.”


And this is what I’m saying,like just start collecting the data.

You can process it later.

You know, Grace says “that sounds better

than I forgot,”but trust me, I’m so with you.

OK, I did.

I was supposed to do workon my ads this weekend.

So Monday I opened up my ad spreadsheet

and I was like, I am justgoing to log some data.

Look, I’m done.There we go.

And I’m not going to process it.

I’m not going to make any decisions.There we go.

Also, I accidentally let all my ads expire

so I don’t even have newdata to enter on some of them.

So that’s on me.

So I got to do some cleanupthere and we’ll get restarted.

So Natalie says she is still under a rock,

but did write it down as a thingto do later, which is fantastic.

Yeah, you know, and here’s the thing.

I just want to reiterate,

like I tell myself this all the time, soI’m just going to reiterate for you guys,

the data does not judge you.

It is just a number.

Nobody like, really, don’tgive it more power than it has.

You know, it’s just a number.

So if I look at my newsletter subscribersand I’m like, oh, my gosh, like this,

you know, this is this isless than my friend has.

You know, I have fewersubscribers than my friend has.

Who cares?

OK, like, again, first of all, a numberof subscribers is a vanity metric.

We talked about that the engagement rate

is far more important thanthe number of subscribers.

So if you have 30 percent of the people

opening your letters, and that personwith more subscribers only has five

percent of the peopleopening newsletters,

that’s a significant differenceand that’s much more important.

So, yeah, anyway, collect the data.

You can make decisions about it later.

So there’s your homework.

I’ll be doing my homeworklate tonight, so.

All right, let’s get back to.

So tonight we are goingto try something new.

And just to give you the full,

full view of where we’re goingtonight, it’s trying something new

in marketing and next week it’strying something new in craft.

So you’re going to see “trysomething new” both weeks.

But we’re still on different topicsbecause we are on our weekly topic change.


Oh, “rejoined Twitch there.

My spreadsheet is off to a good start.”Yay!

Thank you, Kate,and thank you for joining us.

Awesome.So yeah.

And then like you said,

you’re always going to adjustyour spreadsheet as you go.

So this this month I had to add a column

for Twitch subscribers because it’s thefirst time I’ve had Twitch subscribers.

So thank you guys.All right.


When we’re going to try something new,

so I’m going to talk about things that Iam attempting, things I have attempted,

things I probably shouldattempt to someday.

But here’s the thing.

Now that you’ve got that fantasticspreadsheet,

use it because you want to log it beforeand after so you can make an educated

decision on whetherwhat you tried was useful.

You want to be able to find outwhat your return on investment was.

And I’m going to say there’stwo ways to evaluate this.

One, is it making you money?

And, that is, where I’m going with that is

we’re going to skip the vanity metricsand go straight to, is it productive?


I’m not necessarily going to worry about “Ineed more Pinterest followers than,”

you know, whatever the set number is, thearbitrary number I’m going to make up,

because we know that social media isnot really going to turn into sales.

Social media is great for other

It’s great for other things,

other aspects of marketing,but it’s not really great for sales.

So I’m going to lookat what is the actual worth,

the actual monetary value of this

time and effort that I’mputting out in this new thing.

The other thing is, do I enjoy it?

Because if you hate it,you’re not going to keep it up.

So don’t do itbecause you won’t do it well.

So it’s not going to work or be worth your time.


sometimes you can do thingsbecause they’re fun.

I know, right?

But even in business, sometimes youcan do things because they’re fun.

You just have to make sure that you don’t

only do the fun things and not do anyof the productive things.

At that point, it is not business,it is a hobby.

And there’s nothing wrong with having

a hobby, so let me get that out there,but if you’re

if you’re working at it,calling it a business,

trying to make it a business, then it needsto be handled as a business

and not as a hobby.

If you’re approaching itas a hobby, more power to you.

OK, but if you want it to be business,if you want it to be a career,

then you’ve got to do at leasta little business work, I’m really sorry.

But that doesn’tmean you don’t get to also have fun.

So, for example, I’m just going to

I mentioned last week

that I technically have a Tumblr presence,but I don’t consider it

really part of my marketing because Idon’t put any time and effort into it.

I don’t develop it.I don’t maintain it.

It’s it’s not really part of my marketing,

but I occasionally have funscrolling through Tumblr.

OK, so so that’s allowed.

All right.

And then as you’re assessingthis return on investment,

some of this stuff isgoing to be a long tail.

Some of the stuff is going to takea while for you to see results.


what I know from my day jobwhere we’re we’re working on behavioral

changes and we’re using dataand all of this wonderful stuff,

there’s there’s two aspects, two reasonswhy you might need to be tracking data.

One is if it takes a while to see results,your memory is fallible.

And if you’re like, oh, well,

I think I have more Twitter followersthan I had three months ago.

But why would I remember the number

of Twitter followers I’vehad three months ago?

I like first of all, it’s 2020, andthree months ago was seven years ago.

And secondly, you know,I’ve got other things hopefully going

on in my life than staringat my Twitter follower count all day.

So your memory is not going to benot going to be super reliable.

And the other part is your memoriesare incredibly subject to emotion.

And as I mentioned, it’s 2020.

And emotion is not your most, your bestdecision making metric right now.

So I absolutely — I mean, I’ll tellthe story from my from my behavior life.

I had a client.We were working with a service dog.

And, you know, she was trying to get

the dog to to move through doorways in acertain way with her that assisted her.

And so I gave them some homeworkto work on with with the doors.

And she called me.She’s like, there’s no way I can do this.

This is insane.

It’s taking us three minutesto get through every door.

I can’t live my life to takethree minutes to get through a door.

I was, ok,OK, OK.

Let me come out.Let’s see what’s going on.

And so I came out and I timed her.

I was like, show me.

Go through this door five times,show me how long it’s taking.

Show me something.What’s going on.

And I timed her and it was seconds,

literally just a few secondsto get through the door.

And when I had actually timed her,you know, I had numbers.

This wasn’t three minutes.

This was eight seconds or whatever it was.


then she stopped and she’s like, oh, OK.I see that.

She’s like, you know,I’ve been really stressed.

I’ve been really upset.And I’m like, yeah.

So everything felt bigger and more

difficult and it felt like you were makingless progress than you actually were.

Emotions.Absolutely, absolutely

filter and influence our memories.

So don’t do that to yourself.

Give yourself hard data to work from.So.

All right, sorry, bunny trail, whee!



You’re tracking your data,you’re writing things down,

you’re going to see whether or not itactually does anything for you,

whether it’s just fun,and then you get to make a decision on

if it’s not doing anything for me, if it’sjust fun, do I want to spend time on it?

And if it is doing something for meand is fun, that’s the ideal.

That’s the sweet spot.

So OK, so and so I would say set whenyou’re trying somethi