Category Archives: On Life

More about me, what I’m doing, life as it is: most likely not related to Publicity.

Guest Blogging

It’s been a while and I’m going to throw out an apology to readers and fans: I shouldn’t have gone away but sometimes the plate gets a little full. With some shuffling and a few shifts in work time management it looks like I’m getting back in the swing.

And the first thing to greet those who miss hearing my musings? I’ve written a small article for WorkingInPublishing.com titled “Where do you go from here? From intern to Publishing Professional

You can view the article here and don’t forget to check out the rest of the site. They’re a group of industry professional that blog about entering and working in the book publishing industry. The website is an extension of a new series of ebooks they’re planning on releasing soon.

So now that you’ve either read or ignored the link I think a little on guest blogging is the topic of the day.

I didn’t solicit this guest posting, but was very happy to write. WorkingInPublishing has posted a short blog on Ryerson’s Publishing Program  and included my review from last year. A fellow classmate of mine also did a 3-part series on her experiences in Ryerson and they are helpful to have a clearer idea of just what you’re getting yourself into. Now if you did read the guest post you’ll notice it was… in my opinion… bland. What do you write about when ask ‘tell us a bit about your carreer and how you got there in 500 words or less’?

A credit to WorkingInPulishing: they gave me the creative license to write what I wanted to but a failing on my part for not being able to narrow down some harder points in the short word count.

Ultimately the message of the article is true to just about any profession one might tackle: It is what you put into it. The Ryerson program, my job hunting, my internships and ultimately my day job now with Master Point Press are measures of myself and how much effort I’ve put into being a part of this industry. Some are lucky and fall into positions (pointing at this girl with my first internship) but at some point we all have to work hard for what we want. It may not have been the most detailed, thought-provoking or mind-boggling message but it was one I think publishing professionals in particular need to really get early on. I wish I’d been told sooner, to be honest, but I’m happy where I am nonetheless.

But the beauty of a guest blog post, beyond cross publicity and opportunity to expand connections, is the experience to work with other people even if in small measure. You are reaching a greater audience and having a wonderful chance to expand your own opinions and views. So I would like to send a thank you (beyond the few I’ve already done) to the WorkingInPublishing team. Jude Kahn was cheerful and great to deal with and the posting was quick.

All that aside  there is more to look forward to in the near future. A solicited review or two in the mix along with some personal faves and how-to’s down the road.

Cheers.

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Crawling back to the blogverse

As a publicist I have to be able to make and maintain a schedule. Sometimes for myself and sometimes for others. Either way, ignoring a responsibility is not in the job description and so I’m back to blogging everywhere I feel I should. I’m thinking that this is the perfect time to talk about scheduling and keeping commitments you make to not only clients but to yourself as well. But where do we begin?

I think the basic and sometimes the hardest part of the schedule is realizing your limits. Now this isn’t a repeat of the ‘goals’ post but looking at instead the realistic planning that goes into a schedule for yourself and clients. How long do you need for each task? What do you schedule for? How tight can you make it?

The short answer: loosely fill the time with what you know you’ll be able to accomplish and prioritize the most important tasks first.

If you schedule too much in say a day of interviews your client could a) miss an important meeting/interview due to the benign like traffic or b) be too exhausted to perform up to par. Publicity is about being your best and garnering the attention you deserve for doing so. If you are too exhausted from that 25 minute subway ride, that was delayed so you had to run to the interview, to be able to talk you’ve lost your chance and a good opportunity to reach your audience and publicize yourself and your product.

There must always be a contingency plan for the best and worst case scenario because both are likely. It’s sort of like a relay; when you think of scheduling you plan for it all to go well but also for the chance someone drops the proverbial ‘ball’ and you need another plan to pick it back up. I’m trying to think of some good examples but now I’m still on the inexperienced side and don’t have too many juggling experiences to share. But I do have one a former professor enjoyed telling.

She had an author who was new, completely inexperienced with media. The media training began and the schedule  had to be light to afford any surprise situations around the media hits. There was an interview her client had to conduct on a morning television show. Very brief intro about herself and about the book, maybe a 3-5 minute slot and then it would be over. All the media training in the world couldn’t prepare them for the earlier act taking too long and suddenly 3-5 minutes became 2-3 and then 2 minutes or less. The author, who was already jittery, was starting to feel the pressure and nearly cracked on camera. Nearly. My professor was lucky in this case, had she been given the full 5 minutes there might have been a mess to clean up but all in all it worked out well. They had to adjust and the schedule was airy enough to give them room to breathe and have a relaxing drink afterwards to calm both their nerves.

But there’s also your own schedule, and this I have much more experience in. I often try to take on too many ‘tasks’ or ‘activities’. You could probably call them hobbies or chores, but whichever they are I have too many and promise myself too much. In an experiment I’m trying something a little more straight forward and treating myself like a client: What can I actually, physically and mentally get done on my epic ‘to-do-list’? Not what I want, but what the client ‘Lisa’ can do and where I can make room for flops, early arrivals and disasters alike.

I need to rank my tasks by what’s most important to me and then work out how they work into my already existing life schedule. Blogging is a good start. I’m making a weekly schedule to try to keep on top of the blogosphere and produce the content I like in the time frame I think is reasonable. In the mix I need to devote considerable time to my new clients at ComixTribe and remember to have fun with family and friends. If I don’t, what’s the point?

This is the beginning of an organizing attempt for this new 26-year-old (My birthday was this weekend and with it I remembered how to have a good time). Here’s to hoping I can keep up this new schedule and continue to please my most important and demanding client; myself.

Do you have any scheduling tips? Geared for publicity or not I’d love to hear them.

 

Never gone, just preoccupied

I’ve been gone a long while. I should have posted weeks ago but this month has been hectic. Christmas, family, car accident, New Years, moving downtown and a second job.

Officially I am the new Publicity and Public Relations Manager for ComixTribe.

Neat, huh?

I’ve been working on a few things this new year with them that will all be revealed in the next few coming weeks. It’s been a great deal of exciting coupled with my new found ‘time management skills’. In all honestly I’m still trying to find them.

But I’m pleased and excited. New work, new tasks. The day job keeps me busy and so does the night but I am enjoying myself on all sides. Even despite the fact that moving in has been a frightful mess of time consuming unpacking I’m liking the turn my life has taken.

On ComixTribe.com, our publisher Tyler James made a great post about making and setting goals for the year.

Setting Your #MakeComics Goals for 2012

I’ve read through it and for a girl who loves lists I find myself hesitant to make goals right now. The beginning of this year has been hectic and although I like the progress and the turn my life has taken I do not enjoy the pace. A little too much in such a short time does not make for a happy camper.

So keeping some of Tyler’s suggestions in mind I want to add a criteria of my own: think long and hard about these goals before you  set them. I’m easily discouraged by negative reactions when stressed. Any other day and you couldn’t stop me but in the hustle and bustle sanity always comes first. Remember that when making your goals.

With that said and done I have a special surprise for you tomorrow morning. Watch, wait and learn!

As always Cheer and happy reading.

I hope to bring you a nice new set of reviews shortly : ComixTribe Title Features!

Multitasking During the Holidays

I have decided this year to give myself the gift of MADNESS. Not just because I love myself, but because I felt the need to gift something I truly needed in my life this time of year.

</Sarcasm>

I’m moving January 2nd. Excited by the prospect of making my own delicious food and not living in a basement anymore, this is something to look forward to. And I am, very very excited.

But this was a bad idea.

Christmas Holiday season is that wonderful time of year when us procrastinations suffer for our yearlong pastime of not taking care of shit. This of course leads to a multitasking nightmare that, each year, I’ve progressively become better at managing.

2011 though has smacked me in the face with awesome.

1)   Making a cookbook from scratch at my day job, while still conducting my other duties

2)   Christmas Gift shopping (which is done) but sacrificed my NaNoWriMo for

3)   New freelancing opportunity of fantastic that will be elaborated on soon. It is perfect, and although the key word in this freelancing activity is ‘free’ I’m going to love every time consuming minute of it.

4)   I will be going to four Christmas Dinners; the 17th, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th.  Wait, scratch that, FIVE Christmas dinners. I will say this (and not as bitterly as you might assume) Divorce =’s LOTS of turkey during the holidays.

5)   Oh, and you know. Moving.

Ultimately I plan to have a mental breakdown on the 25th in the morning after all my presents are unwrapped and then realize I haven’t packed a thing and now must re-wrap all said unwrapping to prepare for the move.

So, for those who’ve done the same and have decided they want to challenge of maintaining sanity this holiday season here are my ‘Multitasking Tips’ to share with loved ones.

Don’t go to lots of holiday dinners: They won’t miss you. They’ll be too busy eating all that food you ate the last three nights so there’s nothing you’re missing. Turkey comas are great, but remembering the holidays is a nice treat, you should try it.

Use your vacation time before the end of the year. 2012 you might be pissed but 2011 you will love the sleeping in and the cuddling with stuffed animals you swore you’d get rid of when you were 12. And, if you’re a work alcoholic, do your other job while vacationing from your main one!

Give cards, not gifts.  They come in bulk, easily wrapped and is a perfect space for money. Because that’s all that will fit in there and for those distant cousins who you never really have anything to say to: it’s all they really want.

Don’t take on more jobs unless you just really can’t turn them down. And then, when you accept them forget how wonderful sleep is. Believe you are a vampire (sans sparkles) that needs no nutrition or sleep. Stay out of the sun too; you’ll probably burn up if you’ve been hunkering inside on your computer all day for the last month.

Stay away from malls.
Stay away from mall parking
Stay away from mall Santa
All of these things ARE holiday vampires that will suck and consume not just your soul but your precious multitasking time. Not done your shopping? Refer to the Cards cop-out. The only shop you need: Bank Machine.

Have that extra drink and decide you are not the DD tonight. If you need my tips, first I say you should seek real help, and second I know you are stressed. I don’t condone alcoholism, but I do think we need relaxants from time to time. Alcohol happens to be an effective and quick working one readily available at most holiday functions.

Ultimately try not to burn out. If that means putting some things on hold until the New Year, do that. You can’t always multitask everything: you can try, but it won’t end well.

My little holiday gift to you.

Cheers and Happy Hunting.

I’m sorry NaNoWriMo

The date: December 2nd 2011.

The task: Complete a 50,000 word novel in the month of november.

Status: 16,000 words complete.

Summary: 

FAIL!

I’m sad (but not ashamed) to say I failed to meet my NaNoWriMo goal this past month. I was doing quite well, had exceeded my daily word target until about the 12th when my life started becoming hectic.

  • I’m making a book from scratch for my job
  • My job is a job and takes up a great deal of my time and though
  • Friend came up from the states for a visit resulting in drinking and ignoring ‘To-Do’ list.
  • Christmas shopping was necessary this November because…
  • I am moving January 2nd
  • Became distracted with comic script writing…

Most of that is primarily awesome, if not al, so I’m not too ashamed about not meeting the deadline. My friend Tricia did and despite my distractions and her writing a freaking novel, she found the time to encourage me and keep it all going. I appreciated it, always will and I felt like I had lacked in the support department.

 

BUT all is well. It’s not the end of the world, as I had thought on November 20th when I was several thousand words behind. It was a goal and not every goal MUST be reached. The story idea is solid and I think I’ll keep going with it. Who knows, I might pick it back up next November, and try to add another 50,000 words to  my 16k total.

 

So now, I ask, how did everyone’s NaNoWriMo go? Finished? Never tried it?

Off the NaNoWriMo Wagon!

And I’ve done it.

I fell off the proverbial wagon; I am only at 15k words for NaNoWriMo and it’s Nov 17th.

It’s not the end of the world, I’m fully aware, but I’m a little disappointed in myself for doing so because I’m pretty sure I won’t make the 50k deadly in 2.5 weeks.

It all started when the boyfriend and I decided we should move. This of course meant all my obsessive attention that I lavished upon my novel went to ViewIt.ca, MyHood.ca and Ikea. And my lists (did I mention my obsessive compulsive list making?) It’s a shame, as I was doing so well and this idea I have is fun. Everyone I tell about it gets a little giggle and it’s so refreshing to write something a little off the wall compared to contemporary styles. From day-to-day I try to throw some more in but my head and heart are firmly distracted by this new shiny task set before me.

Then, I was given an amazing, special, stupendously wonderful opportunity at work.

To design, photograph, assemble and partly author a cookbook!

It’s for work and more details will come when it’s actually posted online bu by this time next month it’ll be finished, because I’ve focused on this project most of the time. I just need more recipe’s from a few people and it’ll be ready for all the photography, which I’ll be doing mostly by myself! I’m really excited and pumped that I get this chance, it will look amazing in a portfolio and is teaching me soo much about production. It won’t be perfect, not by any standard, but I’ll like it all the same.

So stay tuned and excited. Only a month to go. I am sorry NaNoWriMo, but at least it’s sort of the same thing! I will be making a ‘book’ in a month from scratch. Just not the way you mean me to!

Cheers and happy writing/reading.

Managing People: Never Easy

I’m not a manager in terms of title but on a day-to-day basis at my job I am in charge of up to 10 freelancers. It’s a wonderful aspect of the job, I get to talk to them about the projects (proofreading and .html epub ‘fixing’), most of them are or were in the publishing program so we have a great deal in common and we’re all in the same boat: trying to get into the industry.

The opportunity is fantastic, and although the pay isn’t amazing most of the freelancers express a sincere excitement to the process and we always encourage teaching and expanding their knowledge in any way we can.

I like managing them, keeping in touch and answering questions. Why just yesterday I created a lengthy walk-through on how to create a TOC and meta TOC in Sigil for our epub’s and quit a few thanked me for the walk-through and have already started including it in their work. It’s is probably one of the best introductions to a management position I could imagine.

But with the sweet comes the sour. And when you manage people you have to manage the problems. It would be unprofessional and disrespectful to relay any specific issues but this morning I had to tell an employee to find new work. It was not fun and I did not like it in the least. But when managing people you have to do just that: manage them, and if they are unmanageable or not meeting the goals required it is best for you and them that it’s said and dealt with.

I at first went online looking up standard policy as in this profession there is a high turnover rate, most freelancers leaving us instead of the other way around. Standard policy was cold and cruel so I started approaching it my way, which was not clear, and probably misleading in some way. So I turned to my mother, who despite not being a ‘manager’ manages people everyday.

She helped. Helped me understand people don’t always need the traditional helping hand, that although kind I also need to be clear, firm and unwavering in my decision and that I should prepare for a bad reaction no matter how kind, clear, understanding and friendly I may be.

The message is delivered and I still don’t know how I feel. I’m not comfortable with the uncomfortable, and I expect the worst in all cases. But I did my job and that is why I am in this position.

I don’t have any real advice if you’re looking for it. I don’t know if I’ve been fair really, and even if I think I have the employee may not. All I do know is that managing people has it’s up and downs, and someone has to look out for everyone even if it means they are the ones to say the hard things.

-Lisa

NaNoWriMo – Week One Complete

‘I am a sleepy bear’ I said on Saturday, code to my boyfriend that I am too sleepy to write and so I didn’t.

On Friday night I had met my weekday goal of two thousand words a day. It was easy, spent some evening’s writings and on my lunch breaks at work. It was great practice and didn’t’ take a lot of effort. All those years of writing ‘novels’ and stories coupled with shameless role-playing instilled a confidence that I would be fine.

Buuuut then I didn’t write much Friday night and Saturday due to visiting friends, personal self-indulgence and laziness; emphasis on the last one there.  At first I kept telling myself, ‘Oh it’s nothing! Just a few thousand words’ but when Sunday rolled around I began to panic (for no real reason as this is 100% voluntary).

Panic suddenly means I MUST WRITE IMMEDIATELY! So on to Facebook to pester other NaNoWriMo writers (specifically my friend Tricia, Trewest on NaNoWriMo and  her story The Tales of Twisted Felix Katt’ on Wattpad.com where she’s putting up her story in sections for feedback and early reading) in an attempt to justify my procrastination as ‘on topic’, open up word and type type type! Most of what I am writing is nonsense, applicable nonsense but silly just the same. And in turn, I was rather foolish as I left all my notes at work and had to go off memory, which now as I can see my notes before me, emphasizes that I have a pretty shit memory.

Week One Advice: Don’t ever stop or take a ‘day off’. it’s super BadNewsBears.

I’m almost back on track with my two thousand  a day goal (which will give me about 5 days to attempt to upload my word count and try to make sure the story actually has an ending). If I write another two and a half thousand words today all will be well until there comes another day I feel I can’t write and won’t and so begins the process again.

If I can keep this panic down to one day a week I will feel successful.

So update done.

If you’re interested in word count and NaNoWriMo stalking please see their main page, NaNoWriMo.org dutifully run by the Office of Letters and Light Programs who have a OLL blog!

And of course there’s me, UpsetAppleCart on NaNoWriMo. Sorry stalkers, only a summary and excerpt is up at the moment. Perhaps a Wattpad.com full entry will follow.

Cheers and happy writing (reading if you were not brave enough this year to join).

Promises and Purchases

I’m off to a pretty shitty start aren’t I? Promising a review a night, and it’s been three days but only one review. Instead of working hard to bring you little one night reviews, I went out and bought more comic books, the boyfriend taking the blame this time and having a good hearty chuckle at my after thought : I can’t afford rent, why am I buying more comics?!

But here I am. Three more books purchased. Only one read and finished from before. Leaving oodles and oddles left to read. Well I’ve gone through several of my comics but haven’t sat down and really considered them since Sherlock. The books that caught my eye though are worth noting.

Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 (Series 2)

Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 by David Petersen

Mouse Guard . Net

A few months ago I’d picked up Issue 1+2 of the The Black Axe. The art won me instantly, and though I’ve only flipped since, the story has brought tears to my eyes. It’s powerful, cruel, wonderful but this isn’t a review. This is a purchase list! And this is why I bought Winter 1152 .

1. Mice are cute. Hate me, calling me a wuss and a chick but I’m always drawn to comics that portray animals as heroic. It hurts the most, like movies where animals die (though never for real) but heroic mice, evil ferrets and other creatures living the grand and simple lives of men is such a romantic thing. And… mice are cute.

2. I have the The Black Axe, which is Series 3, and not series 1 or 2? Remedy must be made Winter 1152  was first, so next is Fall 1152 to complete it and catch up!

3. Hardcover. There’s something pleasant about the aesthetics of a book. Comics are visually appealing but holding a hard bound cover, in the pleasing 8.5 x 8 format, is something I feel should be cherished and kept safe. An old tome to hold onto instead of shoving it in a box with some cardboard and plastic wrap.

Cover:The Black Axe Issue 1

4. The art is wonderful. It’s not the last thing, it really isn’t. David Petersen (his Blog) has done something wonderful in his art and story, reminding me (and this is all still at the comic book store mind you, I haven’t even read it yet) of something I should have read in my childhood. Please take a look at all the fabulous cover art and images you can find on his website: Mouse Guard . Net. You will not be disappointed.

But make no mistake this is not your simple children’s story at all. It’s real, real and cruel. Which makes it soo much more beautiful.

The Sixth Gun 1+2

I can’t remember who I was talking to about this title, but it lead to a purchase. It might have been with the Oni Press fiends on twitter(@OniPress), but who knows! They’re mine now and they will be read.

The Sixth Gun Issue 1

The Sixth Gun Issue 2

It does raise the question: Why do we buy the comics we do?
I know I have a preferred style which none of these represents, but I purchased for interest and familiarity when it comes to Winter 1152 and The Sixth Gun.

Why do you buy comic books?
What drives you to pick one up off the shelves?
Is it the name, the publisher, the story, a particular character?

Cheers and happy reading.

I’ve got the bug

There’s always a time of year when you start to feel the itch. No it’s not the sickness kids are bringing home from schools, or interoffice cold going around.

The writing itch.

I’ve picked up pen and paper (ie. keyboard and my precious memory stick) and trying my hand at my favourite, but sorely dismissed as of late, hobby of writing. Right now it’s touching up scripts on my lunch breaks, poking at page layouts while the boyfriend marks children’s papers and the new task: Comic book a night until my stores are complete.

THEN I can buy more.

So are the reviews back? YES! Though probably less thorough as it’ll be one a night.  And maybe more that just comic reviews. I’m not just a publicist (now sadly unemployed publicity wise) but I’m a writer and lover of art and words. I’m turning now to the successful authors and artists for inspiration and guidance.

Want to join me in my little mini quest? And read all your unread comics before you buy another? I’d love the company. And I always want to know what authors and artists out there are thinking.

What comics do you go to for inspiration?

Who were your muses?

As always, happy reading and writing.

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