An Interview with Author, Janet Thaeler
Looking for more social media help? I had the opportunity to meet Janet Thaeler, another LinkedIn success story in the making. While talking with other online experts in a group on LinkedIn I got a chance to connect with her. I was intrigued with her book and took the time to get to know her, her unique edge in online pr and her generosity. Want to know more? Following is an interview Janet recently agreed to doing, one I know you will appreciate.
1. Tell us about your book.
I Need a Killer Press Release, Now What??? is about using press releases as online promotion tools. Using my background in internet marketing and SEO I talk about how a press release can get online visibility and leads – even if your story is not picked up by the media.
The book idea came from seeing results I’ve had writing press releases for clients. It started when I took a press release from a PR firm, added keywords and distributed it online. I watched it bring traffic to our web site for over 5 months. Bottomline: press releases are not the same as they once were. PR pros and small businesses can leverage news to get to the top of search engines and to get more customers.
2. How did you get started as a writer?
I wrote in college for two newspapers and then as a freelancer for the local newspaper and also online at Citysearch. I wanted to be an environmental journalist but the hours and pay were terrible – and I didn’t stand much of a chance of getting a decent job in Utah. So I fell into web site development and wrote on the side.
I love the creativity and self-expression of writing. It’s rewarding to see my name in print, but what is most rewarding is hearing and telling stories of people and their businesses. I started blogging in 2005 and wrote my first book this past November. I plan to co-write another book about social media with a friend of mine this year.
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
Most days I write or submit a press release. I tweet and I blog. Since writing the book I’ve been asked to speak at conferences and be a guest on radio shows and webinars. I work for OrangeSoda twice a week and the rest of the time work on developing online PR products. For example, I’m working on my set of press release templates that integrate my philosophies on press releases.
4. Describe your desk/workspace.
I work at home in the office that faces a large window. While the rest of my home is clean and organized my desk, no so much. I’m a piler. I have a calendar, a picture of my husband and son and various piles of papers and things I’m reading.
5. Favorite books (especially for writers)
6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you.
1. I’m prone to hero worship and can be very forgiving of whomever I admire and their faults.
2. I adore these 3 bloggers for what they have accomplished and overcome. I’m always inspired and moved by them: Stephanie Nielsen, Jeremy Schoemaker and Josh Hanagarne. I’ve met all but one – Stephanie – even though we live within an hour of each other.
3. I once convinced someone to hire me for a job even though we had been on a horrible blind date several years before the interview. He said it was the worst date of his life. I didn’t like it either (we could’ve been arrested). I really needed the job and I got it – despite the stiff competition. One of my friends says I get jobs faster than anyone he knows but it’s mostly because I really am fascinated by business. Plus I’m just a curious person. If I like what I see and hear I’m pretty good at convincing someone to hire me.
7. Favorite quote?
This took a long time for me and the reason why I didn’t finish this interview sooner. It’s so hard to choose between quotes by Oscar Wilde, Annie Dillard, Gordon B. Hinckley and Ghandi. But I settled on this one because it speaks to some lies we tell ourselves. We think that others have what we want, that their lives are constant streams of happiness when really most of life is ordinary (but beautiful.) Somehow we cannot always appreciate that until it’s somehow threatened.
Jenkin Lloyd Jones wrote: “Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just like people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is just like an old time rail journey … delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”
The best part is that after the aloneness of writing your book gives you a reason to get out from the desk and talk to people. Once I wrote my book lots of other opportunities have followed. Of course I love reading how my book has impacted people’s business. The worst part to me is the editing and I really need to hire a strong editor next time around. I skim information and am slightly ADD so it’s tough to focus on the small details.
9. Advice for other writers.
Finish even if it’s not perfect. You can always write an update.
10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. Can be funny, embarrassing, inspirational, etc. (“I once pitched an agent at a urinal. It did not go well.”).
When I was writing the book, I wanted it to be titled “Superhighway Road Trip.” I didn’t know it was supposed to be part a series. The title was inspired by someone who created a very successful PR campaign around a roadtrip. The example is in the book and it got him over $90k worth of publicity without an agent and while it took work, it also looked like a lot of fun. Ultimately, I hope that applying what people learn in this book will not only be an adventure but that it will be fun. Though I work hard a lot of my “work” is something so enjoyable that I forget that I’m working and it’s tough to stop.
Wondering where to get Janet’s book? Check it out on Amazon. Consider doing a review. Let me know your thoughts. Let me know what other kind of books you would like me to review or other authors you admire. We’re all in this together. Hope this helps!