Discoverability Adventures: Week 2


This week, I got my feet wet with something I have very mixed feelings about: Content marketing.

That’s like writing for the Huffington Post for exposure.  Of course, they don’t pay the writers.

Even before the internet, fiction writers have always been told to get exposure by writing for free.  At one point, I ran across numerous magazines that made it sound like they were doing a favor by publishing the writers at all, even though they wouldn’t have had any business without the same writers.

Plus the big name publishers have been trying to cut paying the writer out of the process as much as possible.  The advances are getting smaller and smaller.  Some publishers do a “royalty-splt” which translates out as not-much in the payment department.

One of the BookBaby panelists said to everyone, “You need to get over getting paid.”

Yeah. Right.

But I also need to get more visibility so people will discover my books.

So I’m wading in content marketing.

I’m looking at doing them from the woman veteran perspective.   In all the anthology calls I’ve submitted to, I’ve often been the only woman soldier.  There might be other women, but usually a daughter or a spouse of a male soldier.

I tried one site, really on a lark.  It’s site that is an active publisher of military books.  They had a blog up and were looking for content for it.

But.

That part of the site hadn’t been updated in almost a year.  The rest of the site was current, so it made me wonder if the veterans simply weren’t submitting stories.  Writing is challenging to learn to do well for publication.  Writing about military experiences is another story entirely, especially if they’re painful.

So we shall see what they say.

A second one was just an opportunity that landed in my lap, from a class I took about 6 years back.  They have a new session coming in January and were looking for blog posts to promote.

For a third, I’m following the blog and monitoring what they publish to see if I can do something for them.  It’s a site that publishes all things about the military.

I’m also gathering sites that might be possibilities and just thinking about what I can do.  Not all of them are good fits.  I want to make sure my time is being well used.

If any of these get in, I’ll post the links here.

Meanwhile, here’s an interesting site (aside from the annoying pop up) that I ran across that talks about content marketing and has some interesting ideas.  Hmm.  Slide share.  Could I do something there?

I also emailed my local library. They had a WWI exhibit of women veterans that was pretty awesome, so I told them I was a Desert Storm vet and asked if they wanted a Q&A session on “What was it like?”  Or a writing session on how to write military characters if you’ve never been in them military.

Ernest Hemingway – Traumatic Brain Injury?


I grew up watching TV shows where characters got whacked over the head fairly routinely, woke up, and was normal again. Not even a look at by a doctor.  And then, a few years ago, I met a former soldier who had a service dog.  She had a serious concussion and one of the aftereffects was that she lost her depth perception.  If there was a hole in the ground, she could not tell it was there!

The Washington Post published this article on writer Ernest Hemingway.  He killed himself in 1961, well before we started to learn from war what effects concussions do to the human brain.

World War I and Desert Storm


Over the weekend, I made my first real outing (other than grocery stores) to a lecture at the library on World War I.   It’s the 100th anniversary of WWI, the 75 anniversary of WWII, and the 25th anniversary of Desert Storm.

It was an interesting lecture, and I was also surprised at some of the similarities to Desert Storm.

But let’s start with a couple of the really cool facts of WWI:

  1. Prior to WWI, the U.S.’s army was comprised of local regiments.  Like what we had for the Civil War.  After WWI, it became a national army.
  2. We were an agrarian society before WWI started; we change to industrial afterward.

So some big society changes.

The war had been going on for some time when the U.S. entered it.  Because we did not have a national army, the government had to pull one together and fast.  The government started the Selective Service to draft soldiers.  It took about a year and half.  I’m pretty sure they were probably putting the soldiers on ships and sending them over that way (should have asked that!).

In Desert Storm, Iraq invaded Kuwait, which put them at the borders where they could invade Saudi Arabia.  The U.S. had to mobilize its military and fast.  Technology helped us be much faster than WWI.  The Army was sending over the elite forces days after the invasion, and it took until about December for enough people to be over there.

WWI was right around the time women were outspoken about suffrage.  They were viewed as radical.  But then the war started, and the women pitched in.  They were in some military roles and helped on the home front.  After the war, they became more accepted because they participated.

Desert Storm was, at the time, the largest deployment of women to war.  I remember it being new and strange … newspapers reported breathlessly on women who were leaving their children behind  … the sergeants didn’t quite know what to do with us, so they treated us like men.  The Army didn’t have any policies in place for dealing with any problems with women.  That one, of course, has been evolving over the last 25 years.  Women now can serve on submarines.

Like I mentioned above, we were farmers before WWI and after, we were industrial.  People who saw WWI grew up with horse and buggies and at the time they died, they saw jets.

Desert Storm also saw a big change there, too.  We were industrial, but knowledge work also came in to play a very large role.  We went from expensive computers that only a few could afford to people holding a palm-sized one in their hands–and that everyone has.

WWI marketed the war heavily and controlled what information got back to the United States.

So did Desert Storm, in spite of the 24 hour news cycle.  That one has done us as a society a disservice.  I just saw an article the other day about how the government censored out the violent aspects of the war.  The result is just like Star Trek brought up in A Taste of Armageddon.  Everyone expects war to be as neat and as non-violent as possible.  If one civilian is killed, the media parades it as a military failure.  War is messy.  Moreover, it needs to be messy.

It’s why wars need to end.

Finally, both wars are largely being forgotten.  We had some big WWI events just recently, and they barely got reported, and in some newspapers, not at all.  For Desert Storm, some of the veterans have actually heard people say, “That doesn’t count as a war.”

And each was followed by another war that eclipsed it … WWII for WWI and the Iraq War for Desert Storm.