Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Maven

Here's my huge shout out to "The Maven". I met her by chance, our daughters are in the same dance class together. She's pretty high profile, so most would know her on sight if they are Canadian. The Maven has been a staff writer for major newspapers, a mommy blogger, and is a published author, releasing her third novel this month. She has some clout, and she has connections. It so happens that I went to high school with her, and was in the same elementary school class as her brother. In fact, when I first met her, I didn't associate her with her high profile world - I instantly had an image of her walking my classmate home from school. So that's how I approached her, not knowing how pivotol the meeting would become for me.
I would say for the first few months I knew her, it never occurred to me to speak to her about what I was doing, and I'm a little gun shy that way. One day as we were waiting for our lovelies in dance class, she noticed I was reading a book (Idiot's Guide to Small Business, only recommend for US customers, honestly wasn't applicable enough to Canadian law) and of her own volition, asked me what I was reading it for. I hesitantly, shyly, almost apologetically told her in a roundabout way about Smicko'z. She knowingly rolled her eyes at me, and gave me my first and best lesson : speak loudly, clearly, passionately, and with knowledge and intelligence about your start up. And then she jumped in with both feet. Offered me every contact she could. Supported and gave advice via email and at Saturday class. This past Saturday after not seeing each other for a month, she immediately wanted the update.
Ask yourself if you know any Mavens. Mavens are some of the 'good people' I discussed earlier. Some Mavens may eventually want something in return (which is fine, honestly, don't be turned off if your Maven comes up with a way to cross promote in the future, they are entitled.) Also remember that there's no such thing as a free lunch, so be ready and able when a favor may be asked of you. But you're thinking, I'm so small, what could I possibly do for someone who already knows so much success? Don't know. But you will when the time comes.
The Maven is inviting me to her book launch party. Not because we are BFF's, but because every important person in the Mom-Universe of Toronto and possibly Canada will be there. She's inviting me because she know's it's an opportunity for me to network inside her network. She's doing it out of the kindness of her heart. Now I also know, being there, that all she can do is invite me. The rest is up to me. I can sip cocktails and pretend I'm 28 and out on the town again. (which trust me at this point has a great deal of attraction attached to it) OR, I can put on my big girl knickers and order the seltzer with lime, and walk around introducing myself and talking to anyone who will listen about why they need to write about me, promote me, and cross promote with me. I choose the latter. I am terrified of the latter. Yes. After all I've shared with you about the sales cycle, and the selling and rejecting, I am still weak in the knees about the rejection or snubs. So thanks Maven for the invite, I'll be there. I will hire the first babysitter I find that's breathing, and I will be there. And thanks for giving me another challenge to stand up and take a deep breath and make things happen for myself.
And what will I do for the Maven in return? I'll cross promote her any chance I get. I'll link the sales site of her new and older titles to my sites. I'll link her blog to mine. I'll thank her publically every chance I get, and if the media comes my way, I'll mention her there too.
So that's how I intend to use my limited resources to pay it back. What will you do to pay back your Mavens?
Oh, and who's this Maven I speak of?
Rebecca Eckler.
1st novel : Knocked Up
2nd Novel: Wiped
3rd Novel: I'll report back when I have the title

I read Knocked Up when I was pregnant, and on bedrest, and let me tell you, I enjoyed it from front to back. Rebecca accurately conveys the feelings of going from cool hip scenester to suddenly pregnant and emotional and scared, and everything in between. Had I been up and on my feet at the time, I certainly think I'd have been eating pancakes with the veracity that she seemed to. And Mcd's.

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