Real World Instagram – the miracle of life

You don’t need to be a social media hero to be successful among local realities. This is my story of Real World Instagram = how I became famous at my gym.

You know when you spend many hours thinking of a killer branding strategy and then you have no idea of what you did, but it worked?
That’s what happened to me a couple of days ago, when I posted this photo on Instagram – caption below the pic.

gym rat, challenge, real world instagram

Yesterday I started a 21 day program, w00t! I tweaked it a little bit to fit the awesome classes I take @energie_forest_hill. I shot some pics to check any possible results in a 21 days time, @franzvitulli suggested to pick the ones where I really don’t like myself so here they are. Let’s see if something will change #challenge #fitspro #girlswholift

I just wanted to let people know that I was on a new program. Since I’m always very hard with myself, some friends suggested me to publish more photos about me – they reckon that it’s a good therapy. Meh.
Anyway, I needed a bunch of pics also to monitor the potential progressions after I finish the program, so I published it and quoted both my gym and my husband, for the reasons you can read above.

The following workout

Then something strange happened when I went to the gym the following afternoon. To be fair, I noticed it only on my way home after I left the gym.
People started greeting me at the gym, and talking to me for no reason.
I am normally not a person who likes to chat at the gym. If I’m working out, I do work out. I leave the jibber jabber when it’s shower time, if any chat occurs.

Yet, at least six people stopped me.
“How’s it going?”
“Hey, you’re right?”
“Lookin’ good!”

What is wrong with me? I thought. I have to admit I checked myself on the mirror at least a couple of times. Since I had a cold with a bad cough, I thought I didn’t look any good.
I didn’t feel too much annoyed by all this people checking in, so I didn’t care.

The miracle of the Real World Instagram

When I was on my way home, I checked my Instagram. 11 followers, 67 likes, 2 comments and 1 mention. Wat?

My last picture was reposted by my gym Instagram account. That generated all the leads, as all the followers etc came from the gym’s account.

Accidentally, I sold also a couple of copies of my mystery books.

So, now everybody at the gym knows me, somehow. Is it a good thing? I don’t know. I am normally a person who doesn’t like being on the spotlight, especially when it’s time to work out.

What I learnt

My gym fellows are not really the final target of my mystery books, however this little miracle taught me to not underestimate the power of the local and small communities. My gym is not a super massive corporate gym with 30k subscribers, but it managed to build a strong community of people who supports each other (according to the comments I gained, the praises and also the Facebook friend requests).

You don’t need to be a social media guru to build up a personal brand strategy and/or have some followers. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being themselves.

Taken at énergie Forest Hill

Follow me on Instagram! (It’s never been so appropriate)


Why I leave Decathlon for an ecommerce start up

Have you ever tried to take a risk? I did it, and I ended up working as a SEO Manager for an ecommerce start up in London.

multinational corporation - ecommerce start up1 year and 10 months. 673 days. That is the amount of time I spent at Decathlon UK Campus in London, working part-time as a Running Specialist. Decathlon has been the first place where I dropped my CV and had my first job interview in London. I was picked straight away, thanks to what I learnt in many years of athletics. After 673 days, it was the right time for a career change.


Here are the reasons why I left Decathlon for another job:

– No career progression: although I’ve had some chances to become a department manager, I am not interested in a shop floor retail career. On the other hand, the Head Office doors were all closed to me, apparently with no plausible reasons.

– Routinary job: 600 and more Gait Analysis were more than enough to lose motivation. Even though helping runners to find the best gear is somehow rewarding, I simply got bored.

– Physical duties: working along the very, very long Decathlon aisles is such a physical job. From March 25th, my Jawbone bracelet tracked more than 1500 km (932 miles!) walked on the shop floor. Let’s throw in also all the heavy weights lifted up during deliveries and all the steps I took whilst going up and down the layout (I am 5 feet, the step ladder has been my best friend). My endless injury (finally now in recovery) didn’t help, for the record.

I loved and hated Decathlon at the same time. The ever-changing shop floor gang has always been friendly and pleasant. On the other hand, I think that there is a major lack of presence and organisation from the national operational centre, which makes everyone’s job pointlessly complicated and hard to optimise. I also feel that sometimes the UK Campus Store Manager – a nice guy who’s very good at his job – has his hands tied up and can’t do anything.

What’s my next quest now?

I love SEO. Challenging and cooperating with search engines is a subtle and delicate art. You have to make web pages attractive to search engines and in the same time be human friendly.

I started developing my SEO skills writing here on Daily Pinner blog, then evolving my knowledge through my crime author website and Chase Williams. Mostly, I worked on the Amazon pages of my mystery fiction ebooks. I made tons of mistakes, learned from the SEO gurus, started seeing the first results and mentored fellow authors and friends with their own businesses. I am still reading and experimenting every day. Eventually I took my decision: I wanted to become a full-time SEO specialist. That’s why I’ve been searching and seeking everywhere until I found what I was looking for.

Last June 6th I started working for Wauwaa during my Decathlon days off. Wauwaa is an ecommerce boutique of baby products, maternity essentials and kidswear. After a few weeks I’ve been promoted SEO Lead. In the next few hours, my role as SEO Manager will turn permanent and full time. I joined the company as an intern and now I am (almost) a 100% pure Wauwaa employee. Wow. Wauwaa is on its start-up phase, but everyone is very positive about the company evolution since we’re growing exponentially. We are all working hard and I am very happy for the trust that the whole Wauwaa team, CEO and COO heading, have put in my SEO skills.

The best thing of Wauwaa is that it’s not a conventional ecommerce like many others in the baby retail market. Wauwaa is also a hub where mothers and fathers can find several parenting hacks and is becoming a point of reference and information on kids and parents’ world. Wauwaa’s content area features a number of blogs and videos useful also for whom is not a fresh new parent anymore.

At the end of the day, I’ll be working in the retail field, I’ve just moved my actions from the first line to behind the scenes, always making sure that people can find the best products and resources according to their personal needs.

For three months I worked 6 or 7 days out of 7, doing 12 hours of physiotherapy every single week and moving around London with 5kg of backpack on my tiny shoulders. I can’t deny that sometimes it’s been something really hard to cope with. I quit my job in a multinational corporation to embrace the startup culture. And I feel good, full of life, with a lot of energy and the will to improve myself in every aspect.

Don’t be scared of taking risks in your life and changing your career, take what life is going to deliver you with positivity and you will reap the fruits of your sacrifices.

[Guest post] 10 (+3) reasons to write mystery fiction/ 10 motivi per cui scrivere storie di mystery

Scrolla in basso per la versione in italiano

10 (plus 3) good reasons to write mystery fictionI love writing mystery fiction, and most of all I love reading it. I asked my friend Giulia Beyman, an Italian mystery besteller author, the same question. That made her twinkle and wrote a great blog in Italian about her ten reasons why she writes mystery fiction. Therefore, since my Jubilee is still in progress (CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATED SCHEDULE) I obtained her permission to translate it in English.  Giulia agreed and asked me also to add my main reasons that push me to write mystery and detective stories. So here you are: Giulia guest blog and my reasons to follow.

I was dealing with  a window glass in one of my stories – just a simple window glass which was supposed to be unbreakable – when I realised that my main character had to break it if she wanted to save her own life. I deal with this kind of situations every day, while writing.

This time I asked myself: why I chose to write mysteries? You know, it’s not easy at all. You have to square things up and think of the plot at the big picture: there are so many threads to weave together! Anyhow, here are my reasons why, no matter what, I keep writing mystery fiction.

1) Do you know another way to kill a husband (yours or someone else’s) without ending up in jail?
2) In the eternal struggle between good and evil, the good always wins if you write a mystery. What a nice feeling! The world is full of bad news and uncertainties, but I can always have my happy ending.
3) I can put people I hate in my stories and drag them into awful situations. I feel better afterwards without hurting anyone.
4) I love questions. Writing mystery fiction opens me a whole world of questions.
5) Whatever happens in my stories I can always think that it’s all fiction.
6) I can find the murderer before everyone else.
7) When doing researches on some cool ways to kill someone (without leaving any trace) no one suspects about me. Never.
8) I can think “How cool would be if I kill him (or her)!” without feeling too guilty.
9) I don’t feel too weird when, while opening a newspaper, the first thing I check is the obituaries.
10) I write mysteries because I love reading them, and even more I love writing them.

What about you, Stefania? I know that you write mysteries too. And you’ve got such a cool detective… What are your good reasons to write mystery fiction?

Well, I can add at least three main reasons the lead me to the mystery/detective story road.

1) It challenges myself. A detective story cannot be predictable. And if it is so, there must be a very good reason. Mystery fiction keeps my brain switched on and pushes me to find better ways to amaze my readers.
2) I can distort reality. One day, my auntie was dusting her living room chandelier and loosened something in its attachment by accident. Few days after, the chandelier crushed down – no one was injured, luckily. But what if it was not an accident and my aunt wanted to kill someone? That’s the beginning of Into the Killer Sphere
3) It’s a relief valve. Whatever plot I create for my mysteries, whether it is inspired by true stories or not, it’s just fiction. It’s good to have a break from reality and get inside a world when dreadful things may happen, but you can control them. It helps me to stay balanced in my daily life.

What about you? Why do you (or would you) write mystery fiction?

Mi piace scrivere gialli, ma soprattutto mi piace leggerli. Ho chiesto alla mia amica Giulia Beyman, scrittrice bestseller di gialli e di mystery suspance, perché lei scriva storie di mistero e perché, per esempio, non scriva fantascienza.

A lei la domanda è piaciuta così tanto che ci ha scritto un post sul suo blog. Io, ovviamente, ho preso la palla al balzo per aggiungere anche il suo post alle celebrazioni per il mio trentesimo compleanno (CLICCA QUI PER IL PROGRAMMA AGGIORNATO), ma in versione solo inglese, per rispettare il suo lavoro.
Leggi qui i 10 motivi di Giulia Beyman per cui lei scrive gialli. Buona lettura!

E se assumessi un killer? / What if you hire a killer?

Scroll down for the English version

hire a killer © louish pixelE se un giorno ti svegliassi e decidessi di assumere un killer per uccidere qualcuno che non sopporti? Qualcuno  ci ha pensato prima di te e ha creato il suo “business” su internet. Ovviamente è una presa in giro, eppure il sito – seppure semplice e con la grafica che fa molto web 1.o – esiste e ha un bel po’ di click! ha tutti i connotati del tipico sito aziendale: una pagina “services” – cioè i servizi che svolgono (come se il titolo del sito non fosse chiaro!), dettagli su prezzi e modalità di uccisione del target, c’è persino la pagina con i testimonial, persone che sono rimaste soddisfatte del servizio e che quindi hanno assunto il sicario ottenendo il risultato sperato.
La pagina della FAQ, poi, viene perfettamente spiegato nei dettagli perché il loro servizio è lecito, e come l’identità di clienti sarà completamente protetta per ragioni di privacy (!). Si può anche scegliere la tipologia di sicario, a seconda della “specializzazione” e delle modalità di assassinio: su Hire a Killer ci sono ben quattro serial killer professionisti a tua completa disposizione per far fuori chi ti pare, dai vicini di casa ai cani, o qualche VIP che non sopportate.

Hire a Killer è un esempio molto buono di marketing aziendale, a partire dal payoff: “You pay. We whack.” – che sarebbe “Tu paghi, noi colpiamo”.
Per ovvie ragioni di privacy non compaiono i social network – se ci pensate, anche le aziende che trattano malattie imbarazzanti come la calvizie o l’impotenza sessuale non hanno delle pagine social – però nel complesso direi che non gli manca davvero nulla.

Certo, effettivamente l’idea di scoprire l’identità dei quattro sicari mi incuriosisce. Chissà che prima o poi non scriva loro per indagare.

Insomma, se hai un’azienda e la vuoi promuovere in rete, un buon esempio da seguire per costruire l’architettura del sito aziendale è proprio Hire a Killer: ecco, magari se il business è diverso tanto meglio!

What if you wake up one day and decide to hire a killer to end up someone else’s life? Maybe a chap you really don’t stand? Someone has already thought of it before you and has created a professional “business” online. This is a joke of course (or well, I hope so), yet the website – pretty simple and a bit too much web 1.o in its graphics – is online and is collecting a lot of clicks. has all the numbers and elements to be considered a very good business website: from their “services” page (seriously? Is “hire a killer” naming not enough clear?) to the prices section and the testimonials page, where several satisfied customers left their positive feedbacks after having hired a hit man.

But there is more: Hire a Killer’s FAQ page explains in details why killing a person might be not considered illegal. Your identity is safe as a customer, according to the faqs, since all the clients are protected by privacy laws.
The service features a full optional customised assassination for all needs: you can choose the weapon and the technique to kill your nemesis, hiring a killer specialised in it: there are four different assassin profiles you can choose from. They are at your complete disposal to murder everyone you desire, from neighbours to relatives, dogs or VIPs you are sick and tired of.

Hire a is a very good example of business marketing starting from its payoff, which is brilliant in my opinion: “You pay. We whack.” Kudos to the copywriter, by the way.

As I supposed there are no social networks pages connected to the business – if you think about it, either the companies which treat embarrassing diseases like baldness or sexual impotence have no social media accounts. And the will of killing someone else could be quite… embarrassing, couldn’t it?
A part from this useless social media detail, I can state that the company has everything it needs to be successful on the internet.

My only problem with Hire a I want to find the four assassins identity! Should I call Chase Williams for that?

In other words, if you have a business and want to promote it online, you got to follow the Hire a website structure. It’s going to be way better if you run another business than the professional killer company!

(Beautiful) photo credit by Louish Pixel

5 ragioni per cui sei uno scrittore / 5 reasons you are a writer

writer - typewriter ipad - scrittoreQuando inizi a scrivere qualcosa – qualsiasi cosa – con l’intento o meno di pubblicarlo, la domanda a volte viene spontanea: hai tutte le carte in regola per “essere” uno scrittore? Non mi stancherò mai di ripeterlo: siamo tutti nati scrittori. Scrivere fa parte del nostro corredo culturale, è solo che a qualcuno viene più facile farlo.
Da scrittrice di gialli, sono sempre a caccia di indizi. Ed ecco i miei personali 5 indizi che descrivono lo scrittore tout court.

1. Non smetti mai di leggere. Che poi è la chiave di successo di ogni scrittore, e – allargando il senso della cosa – di ogni persona. Leggere stimola il cervello a pensare, come una fonte illimitata di ispirazione, non solo per le trame di un racconto, ma anche per lo stile di scrittura.
PS: Leggere aumenta il vocabolario. E uno scrittore ha sempre fame di parole nuove.

2. Penna e carta ovunque. Almeno in ogni zaino/borsa, nella tasca interna del giubbotto, sul comodino, in cucina appesi al frigo, ovviamente nella tua work station, a casa e al lavoro. Spesso, poi, lo scrittore sviluppa un’idiosincrasia per un certo tipo di carta (vi è familiare la relazione morbosa con i Post-it?) o per la penna preferita.
PS: L’unico posto dove non ci sono carta e penna? Dove vengono le idee più geniali, tipo sotto la doccia. Infatti mi sto attrezzando con una lavagna a prova di acqua.

3. Paghi l’università ad Amazon. O meglio, con tutti gli acquisti che fa, lo scrittore stai pagando la retta universitaria al figlio di qualche dipendente di Amazon. Ti immagini il tizio che etichetta i pacchi scrivere il tuo nome a memoria nella bolla d’invio, e anche il postino ormai sa che se trova un pacco di Amazon nel suo sacco delle consegne è certamente il tuo.  Per maggiori dettagli, vedi punto 1. Inoltre, ricordiamoci che un libro è per sempre, e dopo averlo letto può avere molteplici usi.
PS: si parla di numerosi pacchi perché ormai lo scrittore ha smesso di contare il numero di ebook acquistati.

4. L’eterno editing. Non importa quante volte hai scritto lo stesso passaggio: non sarà mai perfetto e c’è sempre qualcosa che potrebbe essere scritto meglio. In pratica, è un editing senza fine, e questo porta a rendere più difficile la pubblicazione. Povero Chase Williams!
PS: Copyblogger ne sa sempre una più del diavolo, per cui ecco il consiglio numero uno e il consiglio numero due per un vivere serenamente la fase di editing.

5. Il look. Fesseria? Magari sì, ma parlando con i ‘colleghi’ scrittori ci siamo tutti ritrovati a pensare che il look da donna/uomo in carriera non ci piace. Meglio la tuta da ginnastica, un vestito comodo o il più drastico pigiama.
PS: mai visto uno scrittore in giacca, cravatta, auricolare bluetooth e valigetta? Il paradiso dello scrittore non è nella City di Londra, ma sul suo divano con la coperta, il portatile, un pacchetto di patatine e la Wii pronta all’uso!

Whenever you write something – anything– a crucial question may come up at some point, (regardless of whether you want to be published or not), that is: have you really got what it takes to be a writer? I will never be tired of repeating it: we are all born writers. Writing is a part of our cultural skill set; it’s just that someone enjoys it more than others! As a crime novel writer, I’m always looking for clues. Here are my personal 5 clues which, broadly speaking, describe a writer.

Continue reading on Huffington Post UK ;)

Photo credit Fastcodesign