Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Foster Care and Lexi

The noticeable protest in Saugus, Santa Clarita, California is about a six year old foster child, Alexandria (Lexi), whose foster parents Russel (Rusty) and Summer Page wanted to adopt her but were prevented from doing so.  Normally I wouldn't give this situation more than a passing glance, but Alan Sherban (on Facebook) supported the effort, and if everything goes as planned, Alan is going to be the new Pastor at Bethany Community Fellowship (on Facebook), so I took a look at the situation.  Here's my two cents.

How Not To Market Your Work

Nosing around a few sites, I stumbled across Self-Publishing Review (SPR), where I found this little gem, Six Ways You Are Ruining Your Book Marketing Campaign.  This is worth reading.

About one-quarter to one-third of your time will be spent writing your book.  You'll spend an equal amount of time in editing your work, which is finding and fixing the places where auto-correct suggested the wrong word and you accepted its suggestion without looking.  Then there's the grammar and the pot plot holes you left with a promise to fix them later - and, well, now it's later.

So you've got a great book, or at least a finished book.  You create, or (like in my case) you buy a cover, then you put the whole business out on Amazon and wait for some big name Hollywood producer to call you and offer several million for the film rights of your brand new, Cinderella story, NYT runaway best seller, and big time money maker, which you've title Hundred Proof Gin for the Real Man's Soul.  When that doesn't happen, you check sales and see that you've sold two copies: One to your S.O. and one to an unknown aardvark who fat fingered his keyboard and now wants his bread back.

Your problem is that you didn't advertise.  For every day you spend writing, you'll spend a day trying to get the hoi polloi to buy and (you hope) read your magnum opus, then give it a six star review on Amazon.  But, see, no one knows you and your work exists.

That's where advertising comes in.  Sadly, you are not Don Draper.  If you were, you'd be working in New York and getting paid an incredible salary to come in to the office when it suits you, get hammered by two in the afternoon and sleep it off on the couch.

Truth be told, you enjoy life in the basement and the company of your cat, an undemanding purr-box who sits in your lap and occasionally helps you type.

Being no expert, you try advertising your book, and then wonder why sales don't spike.  This article points out why.  I especially like the second reason, consulting amateurs and treating their advice like that of a professional.  Would you go to one of these basement dwellers if you suspected you had cancer?  Or wanted your 401K to perform better?  Or maybe you need a few grand by the end of the week, and want a nice race track tip.  These guys would have it, right?

Read the article, then draw your own conclusions.  Or, if you lack the skill to draw, read the writing on the wall.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy Pi Day 2016

Today is pi day, which can be expressed several different ways.  Because I'm a bit bored, I'll illustrate a few here:

  1. 22/7
  2. 3.1428571429
  3. 3.14
  4. π
Note that the third example is where we get pi day, March 14th.  Isn't that clever?

As for me, I intend to celebrate pi day in a more traditional fashion.

 Happy pi day to all, and to all a large byte!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hometown Reads

Last time I visited my local Barnes and Noble bookstore I asked the manager why the store didn't feature a section comprised exclusively of local authors.  I got a flat three minutes of prevarication, culminating in the tired old cliché, "I'm sorry, but my hands are tied."  Feeling a bit discouraged, I declined an overpriced B&N latté in favor of a more stimulating beverage.  I went down the street to Bar 145 and got two fingers of good old thought provoker in front of me, water back.

It has always seemed to me that local authors would benefit from a web page.  Someplace on the net where we could rest assured that we're not alone, where our work could be advertised, and where the liberals could give the conservatives a bad case of the red ass, then the conservatives would retaliate with a few stinging remarks of their own, which would send the moonbats into orbit - so the place would need to be policed a bit.  Then the organizer would have to find all the authors in Toledo, then set up the web site... we're talking about a ton of work, which I am not up for.

Fortunately for me, and for the rest of us, someone else arrived at this conclusion as well, and is willing to put some work behind it.  Becky Robinson of Weaving Influence has launched a new site, Hometown Reads, which features authors from the Toledo metro area.  Authors get their own individual page with links to their own website, Facebook, and other social media sites.  Or, if you'd just like to see what local authors are publishing, that's available as well.

This service has been needed for a long time now, and I'm glad Becky and her team are running the ball in for a touchdown.  As for me, it's five o'clock somewhere, but I have to teach tonight.  Toledo Ballroom (2400 N. Reynolds Road, Toledo, OH) has a group class scheduled tonight at 7:00, and I'm teaching intermediate bronze level cha cha. Happy hour will have to wait.