I’m not the product here

Let’s see here.
Now I worked in PR for twenty years in NYC.
I started out as a wet-behind-the-ears junior flack at Columbia University.
Later I slogged it out for a number of years in the PR dept at the Museum of Natural History.
Then I spent a few years dealing with various prima donnas on the board at the Animal Medical Center on the Upper East side.

I worked at these jobs because I wrote good copy and had a flair for generating publicity.
Annual reports, press releases, events and fund-raising promo: you name it, I wrote it.
Now I am a self-made entrepreneur.

I work for myself.  I no longer have to make nice with people like Barbara Walters and haul ass to her apartment like the good little flack I was, ready-made gala speech in hand.

And I write to help promote my business, which is Needlepoint Land, but also because I enjoy it.
I think you can only be good at something if you like doing it.

With writing in particular, I think readers can immediately discern when someone is being dishonest in their writing and struggling to put “on paper” a coherent thought or two, because they feel they must pimp, sorry, market their products incessantly, versus reading something that is written because the writer genuinely enjoys writing.

By the way, tweeting is not writing.

The problem is this.
My blog (the .com side of my business) is pretty successful, as needlepoint blogs go.
Not financially, because I get nothing directly out of it.
WordPress gets all the money for any of the ads that appear on my blog.

Now we all know that no one shares numbers in this secretive business (I am talking about needlepoint, probably one of the most non-transparent industries I have ever seen), but I will say that I get about 7 to 8 units of readers, day in, day out.

You can convert this unit to singletons, hundreds or thousands, if you wish; I’m not telling.

I just launched the .land side of my business on Friday.
Meaning I launched (finally!) my e-commerce site, Needlepoint.land.
Initially, there was a buzz in the air – or so I imagined.
The site achieved 4 units of traffic on the first day of launch.
There were sales.
Total awesomeness.
Finally my umpteen hours of laboring on uploading canvas pics were coming to fruition!

Then on Saturday, traffic at .land fell off a cliff.

1 unit.
1 measly unit.
And no sales, despite the promo code I released.

But on the blog, traffic was booming.  In fact I set a record for the most views in a day in the history of my blog.

But what to make of its poor little new-born cousin, .land?

If they hated it so much, why were they still coming back here?
I’m reading in the carny barker e-commerce trades that now is the time to learn all about this Edward Snowden-type thing called Google Analytics, which quite frankly I find more than a little creepy.

Call me naive, but I don’t practice surveillance of my customers in my B&M, and I don’t intend to do so online.
You should see what Google and Facebook send you when you run your own self hosted commercial web site and outline the things they are able to track if you put all these secret little  “tags” in your web site for them to follow your customers around with.
It’s disgusting, and not that far removed from B&E, IMHO.

So my dilemma is this.
My product is not my writing.
I don’t write this blog in order to ultimately package it into a best-selling non-fiction book about Erin, a plucky woman entrepreneur trying to make it all alone in a cold, uncaring world.

Although I could do that.
In spades.
In fact, I can see it all now.

Blogger par excellence, chart-busting author, invited opinion-maker at the TNNA’s trade shows, Women in Biz thought leader, national book tourer, paid speech-maker at Woman Entrepreneur of the Year conventions, and of course trusted advisor to various female Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle — the vanity list is practically endless.

And it’s all just so… not me.

I do write this blog in order to shine a bright light on the beautiful canvases that my needlepoint designers create in their ateliers.
I am not the product here.

Needlepoint is.

At first, I used to think that my traffic consists of mainly of competitors “spying on me” through my blog.
Other store owners do come here no doubt, but I’m not that paranoid anymore.
Quite frankly, I think they could probably care less about Needlepoint Land and its problems and/or successes.
After all, they have their own problems to deal with.

Instead, I sense that the majority of my readers — though they certainly do not comment much — like to read my blog because they derive a sort of vicarious interest in the tribulations of a woman such as myself who is trying to make an entrepreneurial go of it in needlepoint retail, without the benefit of some Sugar Daddy or, say, a juicy pension or 401K.

They, too, wonder what it might be like to quit their day jobs and run their own business for an actual profit, independent of all that you have to put up with when you work for someone else.
And so they read my blog, and perchance dream.
I believe that’s why I get so much traffic, and why TL;DR does not seem to apply to my posts.
After all, you’re still reading, right?

But then… umm… how to put this… my writing is still not the real product here.
I shouldn’t really put my posts of the last 3 years or so together into a tell-all book, right?
Or… should I?

I’m so lost.

The thing is, *cough*  are there any publishers out there reading this?


needlepoint Mary Engelbreit

2 thoughts on “I’m not the product here

  1. hi mj, sorry for the trouble you are having accessing the .land site. i clicked on the link you provided, and it worked. you might want to try this:


    alternatively, you might want to google “needlepoint.land” and follow the first link it comes back with

    the site had hundreds of visitors today (and over a thousand views), so it is working for some!


  2. First, I enjoy your writing and the way you display your canvases and your ideas. This keeps me in touch with you as well as your shop. Secondly, I have been able to access your web page one time out of at least 10 try’s. No matter how many times I enter http://www.needlepoint.land the computer throws me back to needlepointland.com. What am I doing wrong and maybe others are having the same issue. MJ

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