Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Twitter Book Parties

Today, Publishing Perspectives posts a piece I wrote about book publishers who are repositioning their marketing budgets (read: shrinking and possibly even eliminating) by throwing Twitter Parties to launch their books and new imprints. This was a fun story to write- I got to speak to @thebookmaven, Bethanne Patrick as well as other lovely book folks who are claiming this virtual territory to propagate authors and their livelihoods. Read it here. If you Tweet, I'd love for you to follow me at @Rachelrooo.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

5:15 a.m.

I shouldn't be awake now- it's Saturday, and I'm up an hour before I normally am. I think I heard the mouse, which means that I need to "deal with" it. The vintage postcard above is of a Ukrainian village in the early morning. The East Village isn't exactly a Ukrainian village anymore, but I suddenly have Veselka on the mind, so in honor of waking up in the neighborhood that can still promise me borscht in my future, I tip my hat to the Ukrainian dawn.

My New School classes have all had some lift off after a full month of classes. If groups are going to gel, it tends to have happened by now. Freelance Features is an enthusiastic, smart group who seem interested in each others work, and who like to read a lot, always a bonus. Digital Media is waking up from a one-month slumber of sorts. Annemarie Dooling, one of my old CosmoGirl interns and now an online superstar with an amazing travel/culture/fashion blog called Frill Seeker Diary, came to speak two weeks ago, and as always I learned so much about the lightening fast changes in the industry from her. The 8 p.m. slot always seems to bring with it exhausted students, but who can blame them after a full day of work? It still would be nice if more than one person contributed regularly, but we're collectively working on it. A gigantic Earl Grey with milk and one sugar seems to be my savior for the 8 p.m.; but don't buy it the French Roast because it will cost you $3.25 for a large tea to go. Instead, cross 6th Avenue to the Korean deli and pay $1.25 for the same large tea with the same dependable teabag, and no need to tip the bartender for pouring hot water because you did it yourself.

Don't get me wrong--I love the French Roast. I've been going there for years and years, harkening back to 1994, when I had a crush (one of many, I'm sure) on the brown haired Muffin Guy who knew exactly how much milk to pour into my coffee to turn it that lovely color of Cancun Sand (okay, that's a Benjamin Moore color, but whatever). If there's a coffee border between too much milk for coffee to be strong, and just the right amount for coffee to be milky and strong at the same time, this boy hit it each and every day. This Muffin Guy sold me my breakfast every single morning before I went to work at American Heritage, back when I could eat a muffin the size of a cat's head every morning.

My Parsons Fashion Publishing students have started turning in their blog posts for the 560 Parsons online magazine that we contribute to every Friday. This process always takes a few weeks to get off the ground, but Fashion Week and Social Media Week lent themselves nicely for sending journalism pups into the woods to forage for their first stories. So far we've covered two Social Media Week events and an Oscar de la Renta show. Up next will be a Parsons faculty Q&A.

As far as my own writing goes, it's taken a backseat to the beginning of Spring semester when I always move from two to three classes, always a surprisingly exponential difference in the work load. I have, however, finished co-writing my first grant proposal with my friend Kathleen Sweeney, who also teaches for the Media Studies department. She's dizzyingly talented and smart and you can check out her work here. More details about the grant to come when the time is right, but I believe it promises to pull together our diverse but complementary backgrounds in print and video, so fingers crossed. I'm also pulling together a feature for Publishing Perspectives about Twitter Parties, which I hope to turn in within the next day or two. My editor Ed Nawotka has been beyond patient about this slipping deadline. In my spare time I've taken on a bread and butter copy writing gig for, a wedding website, which reminds me about why I'm glad I didn't go overboard on my own wedding. Keychains for your bridal party? Pet tuxedoes? Awesome. Oh, and then there's that thing called living with a super cute 7 year old that I forgot to mention...Ciao!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy (?) Social Media Week!

I just attended a Parsons panel on the influence of Social Media in the fashion world. Four entrepreneurs in the fashion digital world spoke very eloquently to a room full of hopeful [fill in the blanks] about finding their passion, and utilizing social media to their advantage. They were full of helpful tips, and yet I found myself feeling like the bitter Kindle-hater in the audience. I sat, practically in rebellion, writing in a paper notebook with a pen, while everyone around me Tweeted live from the event using the same hashtag. Here was some advice:

Network, obviously. Write about what you love, do what you love, blog about what you love, and the money will follow. Be strategic. Taking swag is okay: Everyone's doing it and journalists have always sold out anyway, so who cares. Stick with one theme, and if you become a really successful blogger by pigeonholing your interests, you can hopefully find brands to be interested in you. They will give you money to have you write about them, and wear their stuff, and talk about the brand. Just look at this case study of Kenneth Cole, who will give you shoes after a cool marketing dinner that you'll be invited to personally by him (via video blog).

Oh, here's another thing: There are two oceans. A red ocean, where writers live, and a blue ocean, where the opportunities live. The red ocean is full of blood, so writers should consider moving over to the blue. Oh, unless you're an Author, and then you can perhaps make a living writing. Here was a useful piece of advice: If you're a fashion writer, you can "call up a fashion blog that is written terribly and tell them you'll write it for $5,000 a month." I'll get on that! Also, "there are no blogs for women over 35, so if you have something you're passionate about, you should get out there and do it! [They] need you!" Finally, "You need to pivot what you're doing if it's not working." Oh, and traffic doesn't even matter if it's the wrong traffic.

Years ago, I stood in the back of the Barnes and Noble bookstore on 8th Street and 6th Avenue (or should I say Avenue of the Americas), and felt shame spread over myself as I read the management survival guide "Who Moved My Cheese?" from cover to cover. My cheese had moved 7 or 8 times in the same job. You see, the business world is a rodent world where we go to eat cheese. When new managers come in, they like to move the cheese around. There are those rats who will only complain about it and end up starving, because they don't adapt to the cheese's new location. Those smart rats who remain enthusiastic and follow the new cheese will survive, and perhaps even thrive under the new management.

I need to decide to be that second kind of rat and follow the new cheese. Does anyone know of a crappily written arts and culture blog about New York City, or a blog about parenting in New York that needs to be rewritten? I'd be happy to do that for you for $5,000 a month.
P.S.: The optimistic blogger and writer will reemerge shortly, filled with a new vim and vigor. I need a moment to catch my breath.