Tag Archives: Music Success in Nine Weeks

Music PR in 3-Months: 1 Week In

I am now one week into my Cyber PR campaign. (If you’d like the backstory, read my post last week here.) So, how is it going? A better question perhaps would be, what is happening? What is supposed to happen? Here’s the publicity workflow in a nutshell:

  1. CyberPR searches for media resources that may have interest in the type of music I do. These resources include blogs, podcasts, eMagazines, etc. They send them a VPK (virtual press kit).
  2. When a resource is interested, they interact with the VPK on Cyber PR’s site
  3. Eventually (hopefully) the resource will feature the music on their website by posting a review or including it in a music podcast
  4. I can build on the buzz by referencing the feature placements in my social media. The whole idea is to get buzz (i.e. “press”) that will intrigue people to check out my music

So far, the Cyber PR folks have reached out to about a dozen resources, fitting into the following categories: 4 blogs/audio blogs, 5 podcasts/internet radio stations, 2 general websites, and 1 newspaper. Here is a partial list: Blissology (yoga), DailyOM (yoga), It’s Your Health Network (radio), Outsight (indie radio), Erk FM & Insomnia Radio, Paranormal Ghost Stories, Lobstercast (comedy), Gaming Girls Want (gamers).

I am not sure of the relevance of some of these choices. Nonetheless, I am working on engaging with these folks through a combination of  commenting on blog posts and twitter interactions (mentions, retweets, and direct messages). The point of such engagement is to differentiate myself from the pack of people who may have VPKs (or other solicitations) sent on their behalf and do not interact at all. After a few days of rubbing cyber elbows, my next task is to contact them directly and ask if they would check out my VPK. I am not sure how much elbow rubbing is required, we’ll see.

I am rediscovering the value of Twitter, and I have been interacting with people, following them, them following me. I have discovered the importance of Twitter lists and have put all the resources in a list so I can scan what people are up to.

Well, that’s about it for now. As things heat up, I will be blogging about them.

Here’s what my CyberPR dashboard looks like for the resources that are added daily:

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Music PR in 3-Months: Day 1

I am quite excited to say: And so it begins!! For those of you who have been tuning in for awhile, I entered a blogging contest (way) back in the summer of 2010, blogging about my experiences working through the book Music Success in 9 Weeks by Ariel Hyatt. Ariel (pronounced like the initials “R.E.L.”) has a publicity firm called ArielPublicity which specializes in internet-based public relations. Her brand name is “CyberPR” and you can check it out here.

Anyway, as you may know, I won the first wave of three blogging contests her firm held. And the prize? A complimentary 3-month Cyber PR campaign. SWEET!! What does one get in a Cyber PR campaign? To quote their site “a Cyber PR campaign:

  • Gets you prominently featured on blogs, podcasts, & iRadio worldwide
  • Supercharges you Facebook, Twitter, & social media profiles
  • Creates a virtual cornerstone upon which to build future success”

I wanted to wait until I had my new CD finished before I “launched”; however, once I started the intake process, I realized I wanted a professional bio written. I will share the bio in a subsequent post. With that finally done, we are now officially launched!

I have a lot to learn and a lot to do. This is not something where they just run off and do their thing on my behalf. They are connecting me with various handpicked internet media “resources” (blogs, podcasts, and internet radio stations) by reaching out to them with my virtual press kit (VPK). It is my responsibility to cultivate a relationship with these resources now that the doorbell has been rung, so to speak. This initially can be as simple as a Twitter Follow or Facebook Like or blog subscription. Then it will move on to more direct messaging. I will be blogging about my progress.

Well that’s enough blog blabber for one day. I have some resources to connect with.

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Where’s Kelly? (ep. 3214)

Yeah, I know I haven’t been blogging much lately. And when I venture out of my man cave and interact with people in the real world, they tell me “hey, I’ve been really enjoying reading your blog”, so I figured perhaps I should at least blog about why I haven’t been blogging lately, just in case people are curious. Truth is: I’ve been really busy. “Busy doing what?” perhaps you did or did not ask. This particular chapter of everything about my latest CD “Passage” is about ready to close with two main events.

The first, which took a long time to prepare, is my upcoming CD Release Concert next Friday, Nov 18 at Fremont Abbey Arts Center. (Get tickets here.) It is a joint release concert with good friend Jessica Ketola, who’s CD “Sea of Tears” also just came out. If you are in the Seattle area, please come to the show. This will be fun!! We rehearsed my set on Monday and I am quite pumped about it, the musicians I recruited are going to do a great job. They will also back up Jess and I know they will do her material proud. There are a lot of little details that still need to be firmed up, just like any event. I’m planning on audio and video recording the concert as well. If you are thinking of coming to show and have a digicam and tripod  you would be willing to lend for the event, I am thinking of setting up a few and just leaving them on.

The other piece of the puzzle is the kickoff of my 3-month PR campaign through Ariel Publicity. If you recall, I entered a contest last year blogging about my adventures working through the book “Music Success in Nine Weeks”. I wanted to wait until Passage was released before I started the campaign. As I was filling out all the intake data, I realized I wasn’t satisfied with any of my self-authored bio material, so I hired a professional bio writer through them. I just got the first draft back for review. So, sometime in the next couple of weeks we will start the campaign, just in time for Christmas. I plan to blog about it.

Once all the craziness dies down, I will be more aware of humorous things to take pictures of and blog about. Or… does the craziness ever really die down?

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Filed under Entertainment, Music Career, Music Success in Nine Weeks Blog Challenge

What’s next?

Wow! I feel like a chapter has ended. I have been working on my new CD for almost a year. And now it’s finished!! I got the delivery a couple of days ago. I’m looking at the boxes. It looks wonderful (the CD’s, not the boxes). It sounds wonderful. I am SO proud. It is available now on my Bandzoogle website here, will be available on CDBaby in a few weeks, and then eventually on iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon, etc. You can read more about the rollout in my monthly newsletter.

So, what’s next? I am putting a band together and am planning a few release parties in the Seattle area for September. I have to figure out how to market this thing. I won a free 3-month PR campaign through CyberPR. I need all the help I can get. Word of mouth is a wonderful thing.

In addition to hustling my product, I am now working on a CD with my good friend Scott Burnett. This is just the two of us and will be produced solely in my home studio, so it will be done much quicker. More about this in the days and weeks to come…

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Why DIY Is Facing a Darwin Moment… – from Digital Music News

Reblogging this from Digital Music News. Wow! I haven’t heard of most of these, but I feel under internal pressure (constantly) to check them out whenever I hear about them for the first time. Too crazy!! There are more that aren’t mentioned that I’m looking into: RootMusic (recommended by Ariel and CyberPR), DamnTheRadio (acquired by the folks at FanBridge), and some others that I can’t quite remember. No wonder! Read on…

Why DIY Is Facing a Darwin Moment…

If you’re a musician, you have an interesting issue: too many DIY, direct-to-fan options. The space is just totally overloaded with tools, direct-to-fan platforms, and analytics options… it’s like a supermarket with too many aisles! But can this wildly overcrowded, overlapping marketplace last for long?  Or is the DIY sector headed towards a grim, Darwin moment?

Here are just thirty companies competing in this space.  Some are highly differentiated, most are not.  And, we have a feeling we could easily double this tally.

  

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ASCAP Trip Recap

Sheesh, I was congratulating myself over blogging every day about the ASCAP Expo, but I had to split a day early to attend my nephew’s wedding in Tucson, so I was running out of time. By the way, if you ever have to take an early flight out of Burbank airport, the rental car counters don’t open until 6, good luck finding breakfast, things are pretty darn mellow. I was freaking out a little over returning the car, but it only took five minutes to go through security, and they don’t have those full body scanner thingies.

The Expo was beneficial, I got a lot out of it, I wish I could have gone to the whole thing. Since this was my second year, I was more selective about what I wanted to learn, so I wasn’t quite the wide-eyed sponge from the previous year. By the way, have you ever seen a sponge with eyes? I personally haven’t. I propose we ask Nemo for the definitive answer. Well there is of course Sponge Bob Square Pants, but we’re talking reality here. (Right, and I just suggested interrogating Nemo.)

One fun thing was that I got to meet Ariel Hyatt in person! She is the owner of Ariel Publicity and author of “Music Success in Nine Weeks”, which you will know if you go sleuthing around on this blog, I won a 3-month PR campaign by participating in a blog-writing contest.

Once again, she moderated a panel about using social media for fan engagement. It was very useful information. I found out that research indicates that the best times to post to Facebook, send out emails, etc. are 11AM, 3PM, and 8PM. Also, when you send emails at 6AM, it will be sure to show up in the first page of people’s email inbox, (unless one is getting spammed to death). Another tidbit is that anything you post on Facebook or Twitter has about a 30-minute shelf life, so you really can’t over-post status updates because otherwise people just won’t seem them. It makes sense if you think about it. How often do you click on the “Older Posts” link at the bottom of your news feed? It goes against my aversion to annoying people but I’m just going to have to get over it.

I also stopped by the Bandzoogle booth, where they were evaluating people’s websites and giving advice. I had one of the founders of Bandzoogle look at mine and his first reaction was that there was too much information on my home page. It needed less stuff, bigger fonts, more white space, and an obvious focus of the main “call to action” element on the page. My call to action is the email signup widget and do to my tend to be verbose, it got kinda buried on the page. If you’re interested in receiving my newsletter, you can sign up here: http://kellycarpentermusic.fanbridge.com

So the last two days I did another website makeover. The signup widget is clearly displayed, my Passage promo video is right underneath it along with a picture of the Passage Special Edition CD, and I did some menu reorganization. Go check it out at http://kellycarpentermusic.com

Well that’s about it for now. The first picture is of the Renaissance Hotel where the Expo was held in downtown Hollywood. And the picture below is of an auto repair shop that obviously does not want to sell gas. The actual average price of regular in that neck of the woods was anywhere from $4.25 to $4.35 a gallon. Ouch!

Ciao!

Yep, that's $4.85 a gallon.

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Filed under Music Career, Music Success in Nine Weeks Blog Challenge

A Great Facebook Enhancement for Musician Fan Pages

I get pretty wary these days when the folks at Facebook make changes, but here is one that I didn’t notice until recently that is great for people with Facebook fan pages. You now have the ability to use your fan page as if it is your profile page. You can do this temporarily and then switch back to your personal profile page as you are normally used to using it. Here is a screen shot of my fan page and where to make this change:

Here I click on “Use Facebook as Kelly Carpenter” and now Kelly Carpenter Music is my current identity.

Why is this a cool thing? While you have your fan page as your profile page, whatever you share to Facebook now gets posted on your fan page wall instead of your personal wall. This is a great convenience. For example, when I upload a new video to YouTube and use its share feature, the video will post on my fan page instead of my personal page. This is more convenient than having to copy the link and create a post on my fan page.

Anything that has a Facebook share will work this way as my fan page is now set up as my official Facebook profile page. When I get done posting this entry to my blog, I will use the share feature directly.

After you’re done posting to your fan page, you can switch Facebook back to use your personal page as your profile page. Here I click on “Use Facebook as Kelly” and things work as usual. Anything I share to Facebook now gets shared on my personal wall.

It is very important to switch back because while your fan page is your profile page, your personal profile page wall is hidden. But you can switch back and forth as often as you like, so use it when you need it, then switch back.

Cool eh?

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Blogging in 2010

Thank you all for 2010!

WordPress.com just sent me an email reviewing my blog stats for 2010, along with an option to post this information to my blog. I decided, “what the heck?”, so the information is shown below. Thank you all for being a part of my blog community. It is because of you that I have these numbers. I plan to be just as busy on my blog in 2011, if not more so.

Have a terrific 2011 and see you soon!!

Kelly

WordPress Stats

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2010. That’s about 9 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 74 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 54 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

Featured imageThe busiest day of the year was October 7th with 194 views. The most popular post that day was A dark night… and then a ray of light.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, kellycarpentermusic.com, networkedblogs.com, kelsongs.com, and cyberprmastermind.ning.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for bandcamp vs reverbnation, kelly carpenter blog, reverbnation vs bandcamp, ulnar neuritis, and music success in nine weeks.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

A dark night… and then a ray of light October 2010
6 comments

2

Optimize This! – Music Success in Nine Weeks, Week 3 July 2010
7 comments

3

About My Music May 2010

4

About Me January 2010
1 comment

5

Music Success in Nine Weeks? July 2010
10 comments

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An Attitude of Gratitude

Day after tomorrow we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday here in the States. The Canadians get a jump on us every year, of course, since their Thanksgiving holiday is on Columbus Day, which I recall being a school holiday when I was a kid. But that was a long long time ago, and I am so thankful that they have invented electricity since then. Speaking of electricity, ours is working today which we can’t take for granted since the Pacific Northwest was slammed with snow and wind yesterday. Merrilyn and I live in a town called Woodinville which is aptly named. We have no less than 13 tall evergreens in our backyard. Three or so years ago, the snow and wind combo brought down power lines all over our part of the county and we lost power for eight days. We fled to a classic hotel in Canada for a few days. All to say I am very grateful for power, light, heat, hot food.

Not initially intending to do so, I am quite enjoying writing long rambling paragraphs today without any urgency to get to the meat of my blog post. Speaking of meat, Merrilyn just let me know that the bacon is done, so I will take a break and have breakfast. Will be back in a few… Ah… bacon. I am definitely not a vegetarian. Have you ever tried Tofurky? Why do they bother? Perhaps I can convert to being vegetarianish: vegetarian with the occasional red meat? Probably not.

So, getting to the meat… the mind meat, if you will… Hey, “Mind Meat” would be a cool name for a band, don’t you think? Kind of a cross between Simple Minds and Meatloaf. Like an Irish Meatloaf, yet different. Is there such a thing as Irish Meatloaf? So back to the meating of the mind, as it were… I am VERY thankful for so many things.

Irish Meatloaf

Have you ever noticed that there are certain figures of speech that get tacked on to statements that mean absolutely nothing? Such as, “if you will”, “as it were”, “in a manner of speaking”, “in a word”, “as they say”. These are just conversational filler, yet, they make one sound more intellectual and literary, don’t you think? (There’s another one.) I love words and language. I especially love mangling the English language. I suppose if I were a female, I would love womangling the English language, if you don’t mind me saying.

But, I still haven’t “brought” the meat, as they say. What am I thankful for?

Well, first of all, I am so thankful that my dad is still with us. He almost died a few times this past year due to an unsuccessful surgery in March leading to septic shock and subsequent infections. And to top it all off, he just suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack, also known as a “mini-stroke”. He has mostly recovered and his mind is all there.

Then there is the issue of my hand problems. Last year at this time, I wasn’t sure whether or not I would need to undergo surgery for my hand condition (Ulnar Neuritus). I decided that the surgery was too risky, and in the past year, the symptoms have mostly abated, but not before I wound up losing my job in March. Yet I am deeply grateful because now I am doing what I truly love, music, and although this comes with a fair amount of financial anxiety, I know I am on the right track.

I continue to be thankful for my song “Draw Me Close” that I wrote 16 years ago. It was one of those songs that songwriters talk about that just “came out” almost fully formed. Even to this day, I still hear from people about how that song has touched them. And I am thankful for the royalties I still earn that has given us enough of a cushion for me to pursue a music career.

I am thankful for winning the Music Success in Nine Weeks blog challenge. Who wudda thunk it? That was a shocker, not because I didn’t feel I deserved to win–I worked hard for it, “running to get the prize”, if you will–but to be honest, I assumed that someone younger would get the nod. I am, after all, in my fifties, and in my so-called conventional wisdom, I figured that someone who had a lot more life in front of them… bla bla bla. Now that’s just silly thinking, isn’t it?

So many other things… I am thankful for my wife, Merrilyn, for her encouragement and support of my new career. I am thankful that on November 6th it has been 30 years since our first kiss. Wow! I am thankful that she got a new job–she now teaches in a “self-contained” autism program, and she loves it. I am thankful for my new great-niece, Rebekah, who is just as cute as a bug’s ear. (Now where did that expression come from?)

Wow. I have a good life. I am truly grateful!

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Music Success in Nine Weeks – Nine Weeks After

Yes, it’s hard to believe that about nine weeks have already gone by since the end of the Wave 1 Blog Challenge. I am so grateful for the challenge and the amount of progress I made during that time. I thought it would be good to reflect on how things are going now and share that with y’all. So what have I been up to since then?

Well, first of all, I won the grand prize for the Wave 1 blog challenge! This means I get a free 3-month PR campaign from Ariel Publicity whenever I want it. When I started the blog challenge, I decided to give it 110%, fully expecting to win. Of course, I knew there were 82 other contestants that were “all in”, so as much as I wanted it to be me, and visualize it so, I was still very surprised to win. I am so grateful for Ariel and company! Even if I hadn’t won, the amount of progress I made would have been reward enough. But it’s great to win! Here are some highlights of my progress since then.

Making a New Recording

After nine years of no output, I went into the studio in Vancouver with some friends and started work on my new album. The post-production is taking longer than I expected, so I won’t have it ready for release until after the new year, at which time I will take advantage of the PR campaign. If you’d like to keep track of my progress, I have been making a video blog series that you can see on my website, KellyCarpenterMusic.com

My 15-Second Pitch

My official pitch is “Instrumental piano infused with splashes of Chill, Jazz, Americana, and Post-Rock. Perfect for daydreaming, relaxing with friends, and beach sunsets”. When I share this, people appear a bit perplexed, asking questions like “what’s ‘chill'” or “what’s ‘post-rock'”. Of course, I can use this as an opportunity to hand then my card with my website address. But I have also added a bit more meat to my pitch once people land on the site. Speaking of…

My Website

I have been keeping tabs on the wave 2 and 3 blog challenge contestants and have found their website development ideas to be very helpful. So, I decided to do a mini-overhaul of my own website which I launched last July. One major change was to make the front page dynamic where before it was pretty static except for changing the free song I give away. I have moved my “news” section to the main page and am updating it at least twice a week. I am also employing BandZoogle’s available page elements more fully. I now consider myself an advocate for BandZoogle; I suggest you check them out if you are a music artist and still not sure who to use for your site.

My main page also features an expanded pitch: I am a music artist, songwriter, and producer in the Seattle area who is currently focusing on “Instrumental piano infused with splashes of Chill, Jazz, Americana, and Post-Rock.” What does that mean? Well, imagine the “new age” stylings of Kevin Kerns, David Lanz, and Michael Gettel, mixed in with the jazz and Americana influences of Dave Grusin, Lyle Mays and Bruce Hornsby, against a backdrop of Chill and Post-Rock beats and textures. The result? Perfect music for daydreaming, relaxing with friends, and beach sunsets.

Social Media

There is so much to continue to develop regarding social media. For Twitter, I try to do at least five tweets a day. I find that Echofon is a great Twitter client for the Mac. It makes it easy to find new people to follow and also to increase your presence by retweets and follows. I get an average of about half a dozen new followers each week. As far as Facebook goes, I find it challenging to get people to visit my fan page, and more importantly, interact with it. I started video blogging my album project and have tried creating FB events around each video blog episode release. When it comes to personal and professional blog posts, as well as events, I am spreading out the timing of sharing them on FB profile and fan page. For example, when I do a new video blog, I will share it to my FB fan page one day, my FB profile, the next day, my BandZoogle page the day after. That way, my announcements don’t get all clumped together in the FB news feed.

I am also keeping track in a spreadsheet every professional thing I post or share and then checking out the analytics of my blog, BZ, and FB fan pages at the end of the week to see what the effects of those posts are. Of course, I want to drive up my site visits and search engine rankings so it helps to know what’s working vs. what’s not.

Blogging

This, by far, is my greatest opportunity for growth. By blogging, I am referring to finding music blogs that feature music similar to what I do, commenting on songs, and building enough cred with the blog hosts to be listened to when I send them songs to consider. I believe that a nine week course could be developed just for this piece of the puzzle alone. How about “Blogging Success in Nine Weeks”? Short of that, there is an excellent free e-book by Chris Bracco called “How To Really Get Your Music On Blogs”. You can find this on TightMixBlog.com. I highly recommend it.

Mailing List and Newsletter

I roll my own HTML for my monthly newsletter and then send it out via FanBridge. They have a great preview feature so you can see exactly what your newsletter will look like before you send out the full campaign. You can save multiple drafts and also manage multiple mailing lists. Good stuff.

One thing to know. If you like giving away a free song in your newsletter, don’t bother trying to imbed a music player in your newsletter. Most mail web services will throw a fit over security issues and possibly divert your email to the junk folder. So now, I simply include a link. And I just discovered FanBridge makes it real easy to download a song; I’m going to check it out.

I am still tweaking the free song giveaway. I get very few email signups via the freebie. So I am trying a “mystery gift” approach where they won’t hear the song until after they sign up and download the song. Currently, I am using BZ’s signup widget, although it is a bit confusing what the difference is between a email member and a full-fledged member, the latter of which requires a separate signup process.

By far, the best way to build the email list is at events. I am doing a couple of keyboard workshops this weekend at a conference and hope to add at least 200 people to my list. We’ll see.

Networking

A well-timed opportunity during the blog challenge got the ball rolling with live networking. I am pretty shy and introverted, but when I went to a local “wine walk”, it wasn’t difficult to figure out what to ask people to get them to talk about themselves. “What made you decide to get into the wine business?” “How would you describe this wine?” And in the case of the local “boutique” winemakers, “What do you do for your day job?”.

How Do I Do All This?

I am in this full-time. I don’t have a day job. This is a good thing, but it is also challenging because I have a lot to learn about effective time management. I realized that I needed to work out a weekly rhythm in order to be consistent with all my business activity. This is what I came up with:

  • Mondays – Work on the newsletter email list, catch up on email, read and comment on music blogs, post and promote the video from last week on FB profile page
  • Tuesdays – Catch up on social media, write a personal blog and post to FB profile page, post video to BZ news blog
  • Wednesdays – Work on newsletter or finish up whatever free songs I’m working on this month. If it’s the week before the newsletter, it’s time to change the free song for the email list incentive. Share the previous day’s personal blog post on the FB fan page if it’s professionally oriented, such as this blog post.
  • Thursdays – Create new music day!! It’s important to set aside time to just create new stuff, whether it’s some instrumental music or songwriting (music with lyrics, which I haven’t done much in a while). The fruit of this work is both mentally beneficial as well as material that I can use for freebies. Since I’m getting into video blogging, I can do a lot of this with the digicam in record so that I have fresh video content.
  • Fridays – Produce a video for the video blog, then post it to YouTube and share a link to it on FB fan page. Also, create a news post on BZ about whatever I’m up to. And finally, review web traffic analytics on my main music site (kellycarpenter.com) my songwriting site (kelsongs.com), by BZ site, FB fan page, BandCamp, etc.
  • Mondays – And that brings us back to “doe”, also known as “rinse and repeat”

Pomodoro

All the above is necessary business stuff and, of course, on top of that all, I have projects I need to work on, such as my new album, keyboard workshops I’m preparing for, practicing music, etc. So much to do, and it seems like I never have enough time to do it. The sheer weight of stuff to do and the fact that I have ADD, means that I need some type of time management framework in order to not get too overwhelmed. Enter the “Pomodoro Technique”. Major thanks to fellow blog challenge alumnus Neil Milton for telling us about this. This blog post is already way too long, so I won’t go into detail here, but if you struggle with time management and feel shamed by the clock that seems to be moving faster than you’d like, check out PomodoroTechnique.com.

If you found this post useful at all, please express your gratitude by “liking” my FB fan page which can be found at http://facebook.com/KellyCarpenterMusic and/or share this post on your FB profile. We all benefit when we share the love.

Cheers!

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Filed under Music Success in Nine Weeks Blog Challenge, Work