Selfie Made: Your Ultimate Guide to Social Media Stardom

Selfie Made: Your Ultimate Guide to Social Media Stardom

by Meridith Valiando Rojas


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Selfie Made is a one-of-a-kind guide to creating a digital identity, finding an audience, and building a powerful brand—your own!—on the Internet. Whether you want to be in front of or behind the camera, produce click-worthy content or start your own business, this book is the place to begin. Written by Meridith Valiando Rojas, the hugely successful (and super friendly IRL) founder of DigiTour who has worked with every major star from YouTube to, this collection of personal anecdotes and professional advice, tricks of the trade and behind-the-screen secrets, will give you everything you need for your social media toolkit.

Here, you’ll get to know the true stories behind some of today’s most successful multimedia stars and influencers, including:

Max And Harvey - Blake Gray - Danielle Cohn

Bryce Xavier - Lauren Godwin - Nathan Triska

Trevor Moran - Messy Monday - Simon Britton

…and others who learned the ropes, beat the odds, and took social media by storm. And so can you!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250196743
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 10/16/2018
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 518,728
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

MERIDITH VALIANDO ROJAS is the Co-Founder and CEO of DigiTour Media. She’s been recently hailed as a ‘digital media mogul’ by Variety and recently named to both the Variety 2016 and 2017 Power of Women L.A. Impact Reports and the 2015 30 Digital Entertainment Execs to Watch. Forbes has touted VALIANDO as “Bringing YouTube to Concert Halls.” She was also named as one of Cosmopolitan’s 2015 50 Fun and Fearless Women, and has received the Cynopsis Digital 2015 and 2017 Top Women in Digital Awards. Valiando Rojas was named one of Adweek's Young Influentials at the end of 2017 and listed as one of the nine innovators shaping the future of media and entertainment. Selfie Made is her first book.

Read an Excerpt


The Lightbulb Moment


* * *

J-14 magazine asked me to host a Facebook Live Q&A, which I loved. It was a quick and easy way for me to connect with my brand's audience and to offer them advice.

One of the best interactions I had was with a girl who bluntly told me, "I want to get started, but I have no ideas."

First off it was a great statement because it made me do a spit take, I laughed so hard. She was being earnest but she was also really funny. But once that initial reaction faded, the absolute honesty was refreshing. Haven't we all been there?

Sometimes inspiration hits, but you can't quite land on something specific. But there are ways to get to the idea! This person wanted to be a creator but was unsure of what she wanted to create. I suggested finding a partner.

"Maybe," I said, "someone else has an idea but doesn't know quite how to make it happen. Partnerships between thinkers and doers can be the most powerful collaborations of all!"

Ideas are great and clearly essential, but they don't mean anything without execution. Lots of people can sit around and come up with ideas, but you'd be surprised at how few actually try and make them happen. At least a handful of people I met early on when I started DigiTour told me they'd had a similar idea or they wished they'd had that idea. An idea is only the first spark before a fire is lit, but it's the hard work of rubbing two sticks together that really gets a fire going. Execution is the key.

Ideas have always been my strength. My weakness is that I get distracted easily. Shiny Object Syndrome. Maybe you're familiar with it? Symptoms include watching thirty seconds of a video and quickly jumping to one of the thumbnails on the right, then opening Snapchat and scrolling for a bit, then chiming in on a group text until you remember you haven't looked at Instagram. All in less than five minutes? I can relate.

My husband (hey, Chris, wyd) is exactly the opposite. Chris is laser focused — I mean Buddhist-monk-on-the-verge-of-enlightenment focused. It works out well: when we're on tour, I'm always thinking three stops ahead, while he's focused completely on the one we're currently settling into. If you combine the two of us, we are unstoppable. He's my partner in life and my partner in business.

That's exactly what I told that girl during the J14 livestream. You don't have to go out and marry your partner like I did, but good things can happen when people pair up. A lot of the influencers in this book work with a partner. If you find someone who complements your strengths and weaknesses, you can both help each other succeed further than you would alone.


I always wanted to be a singer-songwriter, but I had no idea how to make it a reality.

My talent level was halfway decent, and I definitely had the motivation, but I didn't know anyone in "the biz." Where do you start when you have no connections?

When I was fifteen, I decided one way to get closer to my music-business ambitions was to apply for an internship at a record label in New York. That way, I could get an inside look at how it all worked, and make friends with every single person I met. And if Madonna or Justin Timberlake happened to come into my office and decided to take me on tour, well that would just be an added bonus!

One day at school I skipped lunch and went to see the internship coordinator, Miss Rosemary. Her job was to hook students up with internship opportunities. Normally she only worked with seniors, but I can be pretty convincing when I want something.

"Most companies don't pay their interns anything, so they only accept college students, who can receive course credits for their work," Miss Rosemary told me.

"Sure they say that," I told her, "but once they see how badly I want it and how hard I'll work, they'll definitely take me! Besides, they don't need to pay me, I just want to work there!"

"Do you know anyone who works in music?" she asked. "Anyone who could help us get in the door?" I sighed. "No."

"Well ... We can certainly try. But don't get your hopes up!"

For the next few months, I ate lunch with Miss Rosemary in her office. We sent dozens of letters to every record label in Manhattan, big and small, explaining why I would be the perfect fit for their program. I personalized each letter, telling each recipient how much I loved whichever artists were on their label. If they didn't have any artists I really loved, then I'd say how much I appreciated the artistic value of their artists. I hand-signed every one of the letters and said a little prayer for each one before putting them in the mail.

All of that work paid off. I was offered a summer internship! It was at J Records, home to Alicia Keys (who I really loved!) and founded by music mogul Clive Davis (Google him). When Miss Rosemary told me the amazing news, I screamed so loud the assistant principal ran in to make sure I hadn't died!

That summer, I was sixteen, and I was working in "the city." My mom would drop me off at the train station in the morning (I lived in Connecticut; it was like a forty-minute train ride) and she'd pick me up at night.

Daydreaming is nice, but it also never got anyone "discovered." And no matter how much you wish it, you'll never just wake up one day with your perfect storybook job. Nearly anything you want is attainable, but usually not overnight and often not exactly as you imagined. You need to make a plan, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. The momentum of experience will change your life.

To be Selfie Made requires action, focus, and a lot of determination ... and a lot of DOING!

I always set my sights on what is next. I'm not saying this is a great way to live. Sometimes you get caught up and forget to enjoy the moment. You become so supercharged with the tomorrow of it all that you never really get there. That's the big secret for you planners: tomorrow is but a myth. There only ever is today. Seize the moment, make today the day you take action!

The philosophy of action can help transform the way you think about your goals. Be patient, strategic, obsessed, and extremely thick-skinned.

Keep pushing forward even if the whole world tells you to stop. Believe in yourself!

Do you believe you can do anything you can imagine? There is a certain power and confidence that accompanies that belief. You can do it; you don't need someone to do it for you. And if it's not up to someone else, you don't need to wait around. If it's only up to you to get it done, right now is a great time to start!


I was noticeably the youngest employee at J Records, but I saw it as an advantage. What do old people know about lit music?

Besides, I had found something I could do to get me closer to what I wanted: a record deal. How I could maximize my proximity to my dream and turn it into something real. Not only was my foot in the door, my whole body was in the door, through security, upstairs, and in the marketing department — with my very own office. But now what?

First things first, I knew a move could not be made immediately. It had to be a well-thought-out dance. I had to dedicate the entire summer to being the best intern in the whole program, which required coming in early, leaving late, helping at events outside of work hours, and crossing off every to-do on my boss's list for me each day, with absolute precision and attention to detail.

After I cemented a good first impression, I could then give myself a little leeway to do something bold.

Life and, by extension, the pursuit of your dreams, is all about calculated risk. There are no take backs, you must assess your strategies for all possible outcomes. So at the end of that summer, as my internship was winding down and I had clocked enough hours to complete two college courses, I made my move.

I decided that the president of J Records, Charles Goldstuck, needed to know how passionate and committed I was about my future music career. I knew he was the person who I needed to believe in me and so ... I wrote him a letter (this writing of letters is becoming a recurring theme in this book apparently). I typed each word nervously, even quoting my notes from his "Welcome Interns" speech earlier that summer. I told him in no uncertain terms that I was an artist and he needed to hear my music.

Now, it would have been fine to just pop that letter in the mail and see if he ever read it, along with the bags and bags of unsolicited submissions that — I knew firsthand — never made it out of the mailroom.

But I also knew that even if it did get to his office, his assistant sorted his mail, and she'd never give my letter priority. She'd probably read it herself and laugh at my grandiosity while she shredded it!

The only real option I had to ensure Charles got my letter was to send it to him in an interoffice mailing envelope. This was the internal mail service that many corporate offices used to send important notices, contracts, or sensitive materials from floor to floor. I didn't entirely understand why someone couldn't just get up from their desk and walk it over to the office down the hall or a few floors down but that's the way it was done. And I wasn't there to update their messaging system. I was there to get a record contract! Anything that came in an interoffice envelope was meant to be opened right away. If I sent my letter in one, Charles would likely assume it was coming from my boss!

I took a deep breath and thought about the stakes in my calculated risk. Either security would escort me out of the building for violating some ancient code of conduct, or I'd get a record deal and become a superstar. In weighing out those two options, I decided it was a risk worth taking. I put my letter in an interoffice envelope and sent it down to the executive floor.

Fifteen minutes later my phone rang. Beads of sweat collected at the nape of my neck and soaked my summer seersucker blazer (thankfully that material is forgiving).

I answered as confidently as I could. "Yes, hi, hello, this is um ... Meridith ..."

"Yes, hi, hello, Meridith, this is Charles' assistant, he would like to see you. Can you come down to his office?"

"I'll be right there."

I ran out of my office, yelled to my boss that I was going to talk to the president of the company, and jetted to the stairs, running like a maniac, as quickly as I could, down five flights.

I arrived at his assistant's desk, out of breath and soaked with sweat. She smiled with her mouth, but her eyes were wide with disdain.

"Why don't you take a moment, go to the bathroom and settle down?"

"Good idea. Thanks." I started running toward the women's bathroom.

"Why don't you just walk there?" she yelled out to me.

"Good idea, again. Then maybe I'll stop sweating!" I was trying to make a joke, but she seemed more grossed out than amused.

I tried to dry the sweat stains on my shirt and blazer with the hand dryer with minimal success. I smoothed my hair and took a few seconds to pump myself up in the mirror. What is life? Is this happening?

When I got back, Charles' assistant led me into his gargantuan suite of an office. I braced myself for a multitude of conversations.

"Have a seat," he said, and I did. "I got your letter ..."

I didn't say anything, just smiled and nodded, trying not to be any more annoying than I assumed he thought I was.

"It was very intriguing. And now here you are, and you're so professional looking."

"I'm not sweating, I spilled water on my jacket." He ignored me, thank God.

"You need someone to believe in you if you want them to represent you. Send me your demo CD and I'll listen to it."

A demo is like a musical résumé, and I didn't have one. I hadn't done any recordings yet. "You know, it would be better if I could do it live," I suggested.

"Alright then, let's set it up."

The meeting was over, we both stood up and shook hands. I left walking on clouds.

"I guess it went well?" his assistant said.

I thanked her for her help, and took the elevator back to my office floor. I was officially scheduled to audition for J Records. I'd be playing the same piano that Alicia Keys had played! This was all real, and this was all happening.

Spoiler alert: my audition didn't go well. I played guitar and sang two original songs. I was happy with what I did, but by the time I was done, I could just feel it. I wasn't ready to be a major-label artist.

It was disappointing, but Charles was very nice about it.

"Work on your music," he said, smiling. "You know how to pitch yourself, but you're just not ready."

I didn't let it get me down. It was still an amazing experience. And it also made me think about something I'd never realized before: I didn't want to be on the stage; I wanted to be the one making the decisions. I wanted Charles's job!

Every time you put yourself out there, you get closer to either getting what you think you want, or, in my case, realizing that what you want is something different.

The nice thing about being in Gen Z is that you can now be the artist and be the boss. It wasn't always like that. Ten years ago, you needed a record label to get your song on the radio, and to distribute your music on a number of different platforms. There wasn't really a way to directly access your audience. Now, you can reach an audience directly. You don't need a record executive, you just need a Wi-Fi connection! You can post your own music and engage directly with your fans. That direct bond and direct distribution has revolutionized many aspects of pop culture. And it also has created a massive, growing economy around brand-new stars.

The reason I scored an audition was because I went for it. I was hungry and I wanted it so badly that I was willing to take a risk. It didn't work out the way I wanted it to, but it led me down a path that eventually led me to my perfect job: DigiTour! Are you willing to go the extra mile to grow your channel/page/brand? Are you willing to lose something to gain something bigger? If not, there are thousands of other people who are. But none of them are just like you!


DigiTour was started in 2010, but the idea began to take shape at the end of 2009.

I was going to New York University full time, while also working full time at Columbia Records in A&R (aka Artist & Repertoire aka finding and overseeing new talent).

Cramming both in was exhilarating for me. It felt like a game. Specifically, planning my schedule felt like cramming in pieces on Tetris: morning and evening classes, forty hours in the office, and then out at different clubs, checking out the new bands on any free nights I had.

My job felt like it was pretend. How could something I loved doing actually be a job?

Life at NYU was a little harder. I was among people my age, but I was also somewhat separated. To me, I had more in common with my coworkers at Columbia, even the ones old enough to be my parents.

I'd see peers in Washington Square Park in New York City, hanging in groups around a bench. Maybe one guy would have a guitar in hand, and a girl would be sitting cross-legged, arms draped across the shoulders of her boyfriend. They all wore cable-knit sweaters and they all oozed collegiate coolness. Well, not me. I was off to class, then over to the Lower East Side to check out two bands, one at Mercury Lounge and one at Pianos.

It was my job to find new artists for the label to sign, and I was good at it. In fact, I was so good, Capitol Records hired me and gave me the chance to manage an artist. To protect the innocent, I'll call him John.

John had everything going for him, except the most important part: an audience. In pre-internet days, the music business was the only platform a new artist had to stand on. You'd get signed; they would develop you, put you on the road, put you on the radio, wave their magic wands, and do whatever they could do to turn Britney Spears into BRITNEY SPEARS.

But the new and emerging platforms disrupted that concept. YouTube allowed artists to distribute themselves, grow an audience, and go directly to the fans. Sites like SoundCloud let artists post their own music and share it with everyone with a smartphone, with only the click of a button. Little did the record labels know, but this was going to change the world ... or at least, their world.

Columbia spent a small fortune trying to help John connect to future fans (something that would never happen today) and it wasn't working; John was on the verge of getting dropped, aka getting fired, aka being told to get lost. The president of the label went over a laundry list of things we needed to do to save my client at that point: we needed a tour, we needed to increase his social following ... and that's where I stopped listening. A big lightbulb went on over my head: what if we put together a social media tour? The idea of rounding up the most popular YouTube stars and slotting John in beside them got me excited. He could get on tour and onstage with them, and maybe some of the fairy dust of the social stars would rub off on him!


Excerpted from "Selfie Made"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Selfie Made, LLC..
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
1 The Lightbulb Moment,
2 Go Viral,
3 Influencers,
4 Get Featured,
5 Finding Your Platform,
6 Collabing = Networking,
7 The Art of Cross-Platforming,
8 Finding Your Voice/Building Your Brand,
9 Consistency,
10 YouTube Speak,
11 On the Road Again, with DigiTour,
12 Are You Making $ Yet?,
13 The People Behind the Curtain,
14 Your Second Act,
About the Author,
Newsletter Sign-up,

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