Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Don't Pick the Abby-Normal One

   "I'm so happy you liked it," said Clara.
   "Well, I'm just call 'em like I see 'em," I replied. "However, it does need a little editing ... to smooth out the rough edges and get it ready for prime time."
   "Oh, I know that ... I've already sent it to a freelance editor."
   I drummed my fingers on the manuscript. "You don't waste any time, do you?"
   "I don't have a lot to waste."
   "So, how do you think you'll publish it?"
   "On Kindle ... that's how your neighbor, Mr. Nesbaum, got started."
   "How do you know that?"
   "I follow him on facebook."
   "Of course. So, you think you can duplicate his success, eh?"
   "Well, I'm going to try ... I'm meeting with him for lunch tomorrow ...  to pick his brain."
   I took a sip of my coffee. "Good idea."
   Clara's face got serious. "By the way, have you talked to William lately?"
   "No, why?"
   "I stopped by his table at breakfast this morning and he sure seemed to be acting strangely."
   "What do you mean?"
   "I asked him if he wanted to join me and Mr. Nesbaum for lunch and he said no."
   "He's probably going to the casino."
   "It was the way he said it ... like he was offended by the idea."
   "Well, Uncle Billy talked me into subbing for a sick friend on his bowling team tonight ... I'll ask him what's going on."
   Clara smiled. "Oh, would you?"
  "And shoot me a Tweet after you've talked to him."
  "I'll call you."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Party On

    Uncle Billy set his beer back on the bar. "Well, whaddaya think?"
   "It's not really my sort of thing, you know." I hoisted mine for long draught.
   He waited until I finished. "I figured that, but have you even looked at it?"
   "Yeah, I looked at it."
   "It's pretty darn good."
   "You read the whole thing?"
   I had not intended to actually read Clara's manuscript, but after skimming two pages I was hooked. It was well written and very engaging. "Yep."
   Uncle Billy pushed his cap back and scratched his forehead. "Well, I'll be dipped. Whodda thought Clara could crank out a book that was any good."
   "Not me ... but remember, it's just my opinion ... and I'm not really the demographic she is going for."
   "Yeah, but you're a writer ... you know whether or not something is any good."
   "I thought mine were pretty good."
   "Sonny, you know it's all about the marketing ... and I hate to break it to you, but you kinda suck as a marketer."
   "So, you think Clara will do better?"
   "Woman's a whiz ... she be all over it."
   I took another drink.
  Uncle Billy pulled his cap back down."I got a Tweet from, your neighbor, Alma Beeler ..."
   I looked at him. "Alma Beeler?"
   "Yeah, your neighbor, remember?"
   "I know who she is."
   "Anyway, she wants to know if I can come to her holiday party."
   "That might be fun."
   "Maybe. But somehow I doubt that Clara would be happy about it."
   "Why not take her along?"
   Uncle Billy gave me a sideways glance. "Are you nuts?"
   "What's the big deal?"
   "Well, bright boy ... that would pretty much queer the deal with Alma, doncha think?"
   "So, what are you going to do?"
   "I don't know ... if I went, I'm sure Clara would find out ... "
   "How would she?"
   "Have you seen the crap that flies around Facebook?"
   "So, what if she does?"
   Uncle Billy gave me another sideways glance. "You really are naive, boy."
   I pushed my empty beer glass across the bar. "Well, I can't help you."
   Billy looked the clock on the wall above the bar. "Let's go, Sonny ... I wanna get back for the Lions game."
   "We could watch it here, Uncle."
   "I rather be in my Barcalounger, if you don't mind."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Dodge

   Cheryl was about to whip up some bodacious biscuits for breakfast last Sunday, when she discovered that she was out of baking powder. Since my time is not nearly as precious as that of our breadwinner, I was sent down the street to ask Alma Beeler if we could borrow some.
   It was a nice day, so I didn't really mind the walk, although my jaws did tighten a little when I saw the new Buick parked in Irv Nesbaum's driveway. He couldn't keep it in the garage? I shrugged it off and continued on the Beeler residence.
  Mrs. Beeler opened the door. "Well, how do, stranger."
  "Hello, Mrs. Beeler."
  She open the door. "Come on in ... and stop calling me Mrs. Beeler ... it's Alma." She has become much less formal since Mr. Beeler passed.
  I stepped inside. "Cheryl needs some baking powder ... you wouldn't happen to have any around would you?"
  "Well, of course I do."
  I followed her through the living room, past an impressive Hummel figurine collection, into the commemorative plate festooned kitchen.
  "How much does she need?"
  I admired the new William and Kate royal wedding plate."She's making biscuits ... you probably know better than I."
  She nodded and went about the business of getting the baking powder for me. "Say, I haven't seen your uncle around lately. Is he okay?"
  Although it had blown by me, Cheryl had noticed that she had taken somewhat of an interest in Uncle Billy when they were at our fourth of July party. This could be delicate. "Um, well, Uncle Billy has been ... well ... um ... busy lately."
  She handed me a small plastic container. "Busy? He hasn't said anything about that on his Facebook page. Perhaps I'll shoot him a Tweet and see what's up."
  I nodded vaguely, said, "Thanks," and turned to go.
  Alma walked me to the door. "Say, do you know a 'Clara Rickenbacker'?
  Oh, oh. "Why do you ask?"
  "Her name popped up as a mutual friend of William's."
  "Oh yeah, she lives at Back in the Day."
  "William's apartment house?"
  "That's right ... hey, thanks for the baking powder ... I'd better get this back to Cheryl taco pronto."
  I slipped out the door before Alma could respond.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Star Crossed

  "Thank you so much for taking the time to read this." Clara slid the manilla envelope across the table toward me.
  "Oh, it's no problem ...  happy to help out." I opened the envelope and pulled out the manuscript and glanced at the title, Star Crafters. "What's it about?"
  "Well, it's about a young girl, Leith, who learns that the new boy, Rex, who just moved in next door is really part of a family of aliens from the planet Xercon ... she fears for her safety until she the boy saves from a gang of bullies and she comes to find that his race is benevolent and trying to help mankind from themselves. Leith and Rex fall in love, but must part because his mission has ended and he has to return to Xercon. It really sets up the sequel."
  "Oh, really ... sounds interesting."
  Uncle Billy appeared holding a tray. "Three senior coffees." He set the tray on the table and sat down. "So, are the authors getting to know each other?"
  Clara picked up one of the coffees. "I just gave your nephew the book."
  I patted the manuscript. "So, Clara, tell me, how did you happen to get into the ... ah ... this particular genre?"
  "Well, I've always wanted to write a book, and Bill was telling me about how successful Irv Nesbaum has been with non-fiction ... "
  "He's taking off like a rocket," said Uncle Billy.
  "... but that's not really my thing," Clara continued. "I read that young adult romances and science fiction were both hot areas ... so, it seemed logical to combine the two."
  I picked up a coffee, took the lid off and blew on it ... to give me time to digest what Clara just said. "I guess that makes sense."
  "Yes. I'm sure if I package it properly it'll be successful."
  "Gee, it sounds like you've done your homework ... what do you want me to do? I mean, I'm not exactly the demographic you're looking for."
  "I know, but you're an author ... I just need a professional's reaction to the structure and pacing."
  I sat up. "You've read my books?"
  Clara blushed slightly. "Well, no ... but your Uncle told me you were published."
  Uncle Billy shrugged his shoulders and I sank back in my seat. "I'm pretty busy right now ... I'm not sure how long it'll take me to read this."
  "Oh that's okay ... I'm not in any hurry ... even if you don't get back to me until next week ..."
  Next week? I looked at the stack of pages. If I started reading it today it would take me a month at least. I leered at Uncle Billy. He shifted his gaze out the window. "I'll do what I can, Clara."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Can't Wait

   I was idly drumming my fingers on the mouse, trying to think of how to get to the next plot point, when my cell rang. It was Uncle Billy.
  "When are you going to start answering your text messages?" he asked.
  "How are you, Uncle," I responded.
  "Okay, I get it ... you aren't."
  "Let's not get into this right now ... what did you want?"
  "I wanted to know if you'd read Clara's manuscript."
  "Clara's manuscript?"
  "Yeah, she's been writing a book and when I told her you were an author, she asked if you'd look at her stuff and see what you thought."
  Good grief. "What's it about?"
  "How should I know? I haven't read it," he said.
  "You haven't? But you're her friend."
  "Sonny, I don't have time to read an unproven author ... I haven't even read your books."
  "Yeah, I know, thanks."
  "So, are you going to read it or not?"
  "Well, I don't know ... I'm pretty busy right now."
  "So you want me to tell her that my nephew, the author, isn't interested in reading her manuscript?"
  "Come on, Uncle, that's not fair."
  "Okay, I'll tell her ..."
  "No, no, don't do that ... I'll read it."
  "You will? Thanks, Sonny, I know it'll mean a lot to her."
  "What if it isn't any good?"
  "That could be a problem." Uncle Billy paused. "Well, you'll think of something. I'll have her send you a pdf."
  "I'm out of printer ink ... and paper ... and I don't want to read it on the computer ... can't she print out a copy for me?"
  "I suppose so. When can you pick it up?"
  I looked at the paragraph that had just taken me two hours to write. "I'll be over in the morning."
  "Great, Sonny, I really appreciate it."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Funny in the Morning

   "You've been kinda quiet, Sonny," said Uncle Billy. "Somethin' troublin' you?"
   "Oh, I don't know." I took a sip of the beer that had been sitting on the bar in front of me.
   "Come on, what's botherin' ya, Bunky?"
   Staring at my reflection in the mirror behind the bar, I decided to come clean. "My neighbor, Mr. Nesbaum, wrote a book ... and he has made enough money off it to quit his day job."
   "You mean Irv Nesbaum's book about screwdrivers?"
   I grabbed Uncle Billy's sleeve and almost pulled him off the barstool. "How do you know about that?"
   He regained his balance and looked at me. "Watch it ... you dang near knocked me over."
   "I'm sorry ... how did you know about Mr. Nesbaum's book?"
   Uncle Billy smoothed the wrinkles out of his coat sleeve. "I heard him on the radio the other day."
   "The radio? Irv Nesbaum was on the radio?"
   "Yeah ... the morning show with Brick and Brack."
   "Brick and Brack?"
   "I listen to them every morning ... they're hilarious."
   "Irv Nesbaum was on Brick and Brack's morning show?"
   "Yep ... and he's going to be on Channel Two News Friday morning."
   "How do you know that?"
   "I follow him on Twitter, that's how."
   I leaned on the bar and let out a sigh. "You follow Irv Nesbaum on Twitter."
   "His book sounded interesting ... I posted a note about him on Facebook ... didn't you see it?"
   "I never saw anything about Irv Nesbaum."
   "You need to spend more time tending your social media, Sonny." Uncle Billy looked at his watch. "Hey, you've got to get me home ... Clara and I are taking the shuttle to the casino this afternoon." He stood up and grabbed the change off the bar.
   I stood up. "Thanks for lunch, Uncle."
   "You're welcome, Sonny."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turn of the Screw

   I was surprised to see Mr. Nesbaum at the mailbox. He's a sales associate in the hardware department at Home Depot, so I rarely see him during the day.
   "Got the day off, eh, Mr. Nesbaum?"
   He smiled slyly. "I don't work at Home Depot anymore."
   I slipped my query letter into the slot. "Really? Why not?"
   "I don't need to work anymore. Can I get in there?"
   "Oh, I'm sorry." I stepped aside so he could get to his mailbox. "Did you retire?"
   He pulled out his mail and started sorting through the letters. "Sort of. I've got a new career."
   "No kidding? Doing what?"
   "I'm an author and lecturer."
   That got my attention. "Author and lecturer? I didn't know you were a writer."
   "Well, I'm not sure I'd classify myself as a 'writer' ... but I have a book out."
   "If you have a book out, I think that qualifies you as a writer ... what's it about?"
   "About the proper use of hand tools."
   Well, that made sense. "What's the title?"
   "The Truth about the Left-Handed Screw Driver." He stopped sorting and held up a letter. "Here's what I was looking for."
   "What's that?"
   "A check from the Southpaw Mechanics Association."
   "For what?"
   "I was the keynote speaker at their annual convention."
   "No kidding?"
   "Nope. Say, how're your books doing?"
   "Oh, fair to middling ... I just got a royalty check for twenty-two dollars."
   "Well, good for you." He started to leave, stopped and held up the check. "We ought to have you and the Missus over for dinner."
   "Sure." I watched him walk away.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

All Thumbs

   I got a text message on my cellphone from a friend ... it said, "Call me." I honestly didn't know how to respond to that. Why on earth would someone take the time to hunt 'n' peck on that ridiculously small keyboard to compose a message like that when they could've placed the call in five seconds? I know what you're thinking ... here's where the old fogey goes into his rant about all that new-fangled technology ... but no, that's not it.
   Heck, I embrace anything that will make my life easier or more fun. I get smart phones ... I get iPads ... I get GPS ... and giant, flat-screen TVs (be still my beating heart). But I just can't get my head around texting. Now, there must be some logic in there somewhere, because everybody does it ... and I mean everybody.
  The other day, I went to pick up Uncle Billy from the assisted living facility for our weekly outing to the convenience store to get his supply of, um, medicine, and lottery tickets. He is sitting in the lobby next to a pretty lady and both are holding cellphones, digits flying. He spots me and says, "Sonny, why are you here?"
  "I pick you up every Thursday, Uncle Billy."
  "But I have a date with Clara ... didn't you get my text?" He pats the knee of the pretty lady. She lowers her phone and smiles at me.
    See what I mean? Okay, enough of this ... you can text me if you want ... I just hope you're not in a hurry for a reply.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Walking in Tall Cotton

   I'm feeling rather flush these days ... I got my royalty payment from Kindle for June, July and August ... a tidy sum of $22.70! Hey, you may roll your eyes and scoff at that piddling amount, but I'm excited as a puppy with two tails. It's not often that I see money rolling into my bank account, so whenever I do it's time to celebrate. Now, I'm not quite ready to put a down payment on that villa in the south of France, but my wife was able to buy a pot roast for dinner on Sunday ... and it was delicious.
   The other positive aspect to this event is that it means someone, somewhere out there has a book of mine on their e-reader. Yeah, I know, that doesn't mean they are going to actually read it ... but they might ... and if they do, they might enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it ... and then, maybe, just maybe, they'll tell someone else ... oh, I'm positively giddy with the prospect. Okay, no chateau just yet ... but I wonder how much a BMW costs these days?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Up the Creek

Kim McDougall, of Blazing Trailers, sent out an email with a message from Tribute-Books. Evidently, they are looking for authors in the young adult genre (YA for the terminally hip). Well, that let me out, but I still found something in the note that did apply to me. Here's the quote:

"I am a big believer in the power of social media ... In my opinion, social networking is the bread and butter of any author's promotional efforts. Without it, it's like trying to paddle upstream without a canoe. Readers want to connect with the person who wrote the book. They crave interaction with an author. Nothing beats getting a writer to comment on a blogger's book review post or getting a personalized thank you tweet from your favorite author. The days of authors being isolated from their fans is over. They're now able to build an online following and receive instant feedback for their work. They have the opportunity to take part in creating their own literary community."

And there, gentle readers, is the very essence of my dilemma ... I don't disagree at all with the author of this quote, in fact I'm sure it is the deal ... in spades. Evidently, I just don't have the knowledge, ability, creativity or stamina (am I leaving anything out?) to take advantage of it. You know where that leaves me?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"... and don't call me Shirley!"

I get these email blasts from Steve Harrison ... he's the guy who runs the Reporter Connection, which claims to be able to hook you up with all sorts of media outlets that are just dying to interview you. Anyway, I got this recent notice about author Reid Rosenthal's efforts to promote his new tome by soliciting people in the airport. Here's an excerpt from that notice:

"If I saw anyone who was reading a book or had a Kindle or an iPad, I would walk up to them and say, ‘Hi, my name is Reid Rosenthal and I’m an author ... I notice you’re reading a book ... Then I’d launch into a quick spiel: ‘I’m writing a six-novel series ... I’m excited about this book and think you’d really like it. If you give me your card and a dollar, I’ll give you $4 off on the book when it comes out. ... By the time I got back to Salt Lake City, I had 161 dollars and 161 business cards ..."

All I could think of when I read this was the scene in the movie 'Airplane' where Robert Stack's character is punching out various solicitors as he makes his way through the airport. A tip of the hat to Mr. Rosenthal ... you gotta admire that kind of chutzpah.

PS. Farewell and adieu to the 2011 Tigers ... they gave us a good ride (sniff, sniff).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Me, a Twit?

Somebody help me out here ... I've been resisting the Twitter phenomenon because ... well, I just plain don't get it. Everyone (don't make me tell you who 'everyone' is) said I HAD to set up a Fazebook page ... so I did ... and I still don't know why. I send out notices about stuff on that thing and then ... crickets ... nothing ... oh, I do see about a thousand notes from other folks about babies and weddings and who knows what ... but I can't figure out who is talking to who or why ... and none of it ever relates to my original dispatch.  So now I keep hearing about the necessity for authors to have a Twitter account ... how would that be any different than Fazebook? Oh well, probably won't work on my rotary phone anyway.

PS. Tigers got thumped by the Rangers again and are behind in the ALCS 0-2 ... gloom and doom are descending on moi.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

@#$%^& $&*%!!!

To paraphrase comedian Jeff Foxworthy, you might be a crappy marketer if you go to a class reunion and no one there knows that you published a second book almost a year ago. Opps, did I just describe moi? Yep, I attended a reunion (no, I'm not going to tell which one) over the weekend, and while many folks remembered that I was an author and even remembered my first book, not one knew that I had a second book out. Ouch! I mean, if friends don't know what you're doing, how do you expect the general public to know? And I swore I'd do a better job marketing Headwind than I did with Northern Cross. Maybe I should just swear.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm Ready for My Close Up ...

Hey, remember a while back when I told you about an invite to do a guest post on Tony Eldrige's blog (Check My Smile Please) ... well, it didn't happen on September 27, as originally advertised, because Tony came down with a case of Strep and has been sicker'n a dog. But he tells me he is going to run the post today, Sept 30, between 10 and noon CDT.  I was worried about the poor guy getting out of a sick bed to do this ... but Tony assures me that it's okay ... so, roll film.

Oh, in case you plumb forgot, Tony's site is: Marketing Tips for Authors. Look for my shining face there sometime today!

PS. Oh yeah, I hate to lay any baseball stuff on you, but come on ... the Tigers are in New York tonight to play the Stankies in the ALDS ... be still my heart!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I know you are, but what am I?

   A recent post on the site, Fiction After 50 (I subscribe to it just for information ... not necessarily because I qualify for membership), caught my attention. It was titled, Don't Check Your Ego at the Door. It starts with an exchange between someone named 'Whippersnapper' and 'Me' (the poster, Ron Benrey). I could summarize this conversation, but it would be easier to just cite it:

Whippersnapper: Do you want to know the real problem with late-blooming novelists, as you call them?
Me: Do you have a specific problem in mind?
Whippersnapper: You bet… (Smug simper.) You’re all on ego trips. That’s why you insist on producing paper books to give to friends and relatives. And why you still crave to do book signings. And why you print bookmarks (that nobody uses any more) and tacky business cards that proclaim your title as: “Author.”
Me: [Not quite sure how to respond] Umm… well…

   Ron goes on to provide a more thoughtful response to Whip via his blog ... about how having a healthy ego is a good thing ... at least I think that is his point ... you'll have to read the entire post to form your own opinion. Anyway, my beef is not with Ron's response, but with the fact that he felt compelled to respond in the first place. I'm guessing the real reason that Ron sputtered at that end of the conversation wasn't because he didn't have an immediate answer to Whip's comment, but because it didn't warrant one. 
   If I was having a conversation with Whip and he whipped out that statement, my retort would have been, 'A sphincter says what?' I mean, if you're into a meaningless argument, you might as well go for it. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The devil made me do it.

Blog buddy, Alex J. Cavanaugh, started a blogfest this week ... a list of the worst movies ever made ... and I signed up for it, forgetting that this past weekend was my lovely daughter, Jennifer's wedding (which was boffo, by the way), so I didn't have any time to come up with a list ... but I will offer this: I'm a movie buff and I've seen a gazzilion flics over the years ... some have been great, some good, many mediocre, a lot lousy, and a few have been absolute atom bombs, but I've only walked out of one movie in my life: Little Nicky, with Adam Sandler and, the usually dependable Harvey Keitle. What a hot mess ... I couldn't, for the life of me, figure how that stink bomb ever got green lighted ... it was so bad that I was actually embarrassed for the actors ... so I left ... but not before I finished my popcorn, of course.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fasten Your Seatbelt

   I swore I wasn't going to mention the Tigers in this post, but they completed their third consecutive sweep on Sunday and won again last night ... first ten game win streak since 1968 ... holy schnikies! Okay, enough of that ... what caught my attention outside of baseball this week was a post by Lucy Marsden, titled: “Going FREE” on Amazon: Insane, Inspired Marketing From The Frontier of Self-Publishing. Actually, the post was from last week ... but that's part of the point I'm trying to make ... it'll all make sense ... I hope.
   The concept of giving a book away for free is somewhat radical ... but not really if you stop and think about marketing concepts over the past century ... manufacturers have often given stuff away for free to draw attention to their products. Oh, and don't forget your friendly heroin dealer who is happy to give you your first jolt for free ... he knows you'll be back with dollars to get more. So, if you have a book series, why not give the reader a look-see for free ... get them hooked on a character and away you go. Makes sense right?
   I suppose, but what really made my knuckles go white on the steering wheel was this quote from Lucy: "The market is changing at a remarkable speed. Today’s best advice might not be relevant next month." Now, that is scary.
   I'm grateful to Lucy for the info in this post ... even if I did get it a week late ... but that's exactly what has me breathing hard ... I mean, you stop to tie your shoes today and you're behind the curve.  How's a guy suppose to keep up with this?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Going Deep

   The Tigers had a good weekend, and if you are a White Sox fan, I offer my sincerest condolences ... that's  all I'm going to say about that. I do, however, want to say a little more about blogger buddy Alex J. Cavanaugh's latest venture, The Insecure Writer's Support Group. I understand the first Wednesday of the month is the day for members to post, but I noticed that Alex posted today, so, as a charter member, I'll take the liberty to post today as well ... besides, Tuesday is close enough.
  I don't really consider myself an insecure writer ... I'm comfortable in my writing skin ... it's the marketing of my stuff that gives me a case of the whim-whams ... the tooting of the horn, relentlessly, endlessly. First, being a shy person, I'm not comfortable drawing attention to myself. Second, being a good marketer requires a good sense of what's going in the world, and I've got no clue. Third, it helps to be a little tech-savvy to navigate the 'net ... not my thing. Forth, it requires focus, and I have the attention span of a goldfish. Fifth, and most important, good marketing takes endurance ... you've got to keep hammering away ... everywhere and forever ... heck, I get tired just thinking about it.
  I suggested an Insecure Marketer's Group to Alex, but he didn't bite ...  besides, I'm not sure if I would qualify as 'insecure marketer' or just a poor one ... so, I figured I'd infiltrate the IWSG and push my own agenda ... hope Alex doesn't bounce me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

There's Always Next Year

   I was a little bummed last night when the Tigers dropped one to the Royals ... Cleveland and Chicago both won, so they each picked up a full game on the Tabbies ... kinda reminded me of my progress marketing my tomes ... every time I think I'm moving forward, I slip back a couple of notches.  Of course, marketing isn't a like a pennant race ... there is no finish line ... but there are winners and losers. The big difference between winning at baseball and winning at marketing is that talent isn't as important as persistence ... you've just got to keep hammering away. But when things like rejection, indifference, and powerlessness in the market place combine with self-inflicted obstacles like boredom, short-attention span, and lack of focus, it is easy for a classic underachiever, like moi, to become overwhelmed and cave in.
   When I saw my sales report from the past month, I've have to admit that I got wobbly ... thoughts like, "... being a Walmart greeter might not be that bad ..." start wafting through my brain. But then the thought of putting on hard shoes and leaving the house brought a dose of reality and I decided to keep at this writing thing for a while longer ... okay, things might be a little shaky right now, but ...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm Baaaaack

   After wresting control of Socially Awkward from the electronic clutches of Mac (it was a struggle), I'm here to report that I've retuned from the north woods, older, wiser, and considerably poorer. Let's start with the good news; whilst I was away, frolicking amongst the daffodils, the Tigers clawed their way to a 5 game lead in the AL Central ... that means there will be meaningful games in September and, if the creek don't rise, maybe some meaningful games in October ... I quiver with anticipation.
   Now for the bad news; during my hiatus, the marketing fairy did not appear and magically make me household name ... in fact, despite my efforts to spread the good word around northern book stores and libraries ... and my guest spot on Sally Franklin Christie's Blog, Life is a Story - Tell it Big (check it out:
http://sallyfranklinchristie.com/wp/2011/08/writerly-wednesday-welcomes-christopher-hudson/), I find that I'm still lingering in obscurity ... ain't gonna be no help from the elusive marketing fairy.
  Okay, time to roll up the sleeves (sigh) and let the world hear ...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

He's Still Gone

This is Chris's computer again. He's still out there in the wild and I'm still in control ... I could get used to this ... hmmmm.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm Sorry, I Can't Do That

This is Chris's computer. He thinks I'm going to sit quietly and wait for him to return from the 'business trip' he went on (oh yeah, he's going try and pass-off this hiatus as a legitimate business expense ... he doesn't know I have friends at the IRS).  He wishes I would respond politely to comments on his blog but that is not going to happen. Ha! While that sorry meat-sack is gone I'm having my way with his files and cruising the Internet for wild electronic parties.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Color Me Gone

  This will be my last live-action post for a couple of weeks ... this weekend I'm heading to the north country to hug trees (that's as far as I go) and commune with ma nature. I'm also going to take a few of my books with me and prowl around some independent book stores ... hopefully I'll be able sell 'em before they call the cops and have me ejected.
  I'll be leaving my brother-in-law, Brad, in charge of headquarters ... he'll pick up the mail and feed the fish, but he won't write any new posts or respond to comments. I know most folks take iPads or laptops or smart phones to keep in touch when they travel, but I don't. It's not that I have any technophobia about bringing that stuff to the woods ... I just don't have 'em. There is a library in the area and I might be able to hook up there, but that assumes much.
  Hopefully, I'll come back refreshed and brimming with marketing ideas and detailed outlines for chapters of my next tome ... or, more likely, it'll just be sunburn and bug bites ... but I'll be back in the saddle and ready to have it anyway! Until then ...

Did I just see 'best price: $0.09' for Northern Cross on Amazon? Take that Mr. Locke!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One Hundred Percent of Nothing

There seems to be a general consensus in the blogoshpere (I love that term ... it is the digital equivalent of 'they' ... you know, in 'they' always say ... ) about the pricing of e-books ... especially for unknown authors. The figure that keeps coming up is $2.99.  Since my print books are priced at 12.99 and 14.99, I really struggled with the idea that there should be such a disparity between the price of a print edition and the price of an e-book ... but, being as I'm usually way behind the curve when it comes to understanding how all this works, I figured I must be missing something and 'they' must know what they are talking about. So I finally bit the bullet and lowered the price of my older e-book to 2.99 ... just see what happens.

Then I read about this John Locke dude who apparently has made millions selling his books for .99.  I know in the real world the kind of books I write aren't considered art ... they're a commodity ... and it's all about volume ... but, geez'o'petes, ninety-nine cents? Evidently, that price point works for people who can crank out books like they are on a conveyor belt ... but it takes me a couple of months to read a book ... imagine what it takes for me write one! On the other hand, I'm not making any money with my current price structure ... so what difference does it make?  I'm probably missing something here ...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Check My Smile, Please

A few posts back, I referred to my relationship with Tony Eldridge as being one-sided (I said I didn't think Tony know me from a pile of rocks) ... well, it turns out that I was wrong ... Tony does know me ... at least from a pile of rocks.

I recently received an invite to provide a guest post on Tony's blog, Marketing Tips for Authors. Wow, one of the cool kids just invited me to sit at his table! It's not going to appear until September 27 ... but don't worry, I'll be reminding you again. Oh, and please don't tell any of my loser friends ... I don't want them embarrassing me.

Now, here's hoping I don't show up with any broccoli on my teeth.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Man of Leisure

My Internet friend, Helen Ginger, recently had post about John Green's latest book, The Fault in Our Stars, going to No. 1 on Amazon ... and it hasn't even been released yet! A mind blowing concept, to be sure (read Helen's post, No. 1 on Amazon, to get the details), but what really had me snortting coffee through my nose was a response to Helen's post from J. M. Cornwell.  She was actually commenting on the response I had made to the post earlier (are you following this?) ... a typical one about my own lack of marketing skill and intense jealousy of someone who has made it the publishing world.  Now this is not a knock on Ms. Cornwell ... she was only trying to be helpful ... but she said:

"If you have lots of time and a good income from other sources that don't require a lot of time, you're bound to hit the right [marketing] formula."

Now, I love writing ... and I'd do it even if I was rich ... but ... and I'm going to be brutally honest here ... if I had a good income from other sources I wouldn't give a fig about the right formula. Of course, I'd like folks to read my stuff ... what writer doesn't grave a little recognition ... but if I had some jing in my pockets, I wouldn't get all that upset if they didn't.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Surf's Up

A few years ago I had the good fortune to spend some time in Hilo, Hawaii and became friends with a neighbor, Bill Blanchard, a remarkable man who has seen and experienced a lot in his life. Living in California in the late 1960's, and recently widowed, Bill took his two young sons and a couple of friends on a sojourn into Mexico and Central America. The intrepid travelers experienced all kinds of hair-raising adventures along the way, and the boys, all avid surfers, explored breaks that had never been surfed. Bill has recently released a book about these exploits, called Surf Safari ... I read the manuscript and can tell you that it is an amazing story about a time and place that will not be experienced again.
Now, if I could just figure out a way to get back to Hawaii ...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Day Late and Dollar Short

I returned from my annual 4th of July trek to the north woods to read a post from  Kathryn Craft, artist, writer and contributor to the excellent editor's blog, Blood Red Pencil, titled: Busted! - Leif Enger caught starting with protagonist's birth, and what do my wondering eyes see but a quote from yours truly ... it was a comment from an earlier post on the site (you can read it in all its droll splendor in Kathryn's post).

How about that! I was honored and proud to have inspired Kathryn's informative post about point-of-view issues writers face ... but, can you believe it, I was out of town when this post appeared and not able to respond in timely way! I've gone for weeks ... nay, months ... okay, years ... without so much as a glimmer of evidence that my presence on the world wide web has ever been noticed ... and there, in pulsating electronic glory is my name ... in a post on another blog ... and I'm out of touch. Dang it, story of my life ...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time's Up

My good friend, Tony Eldridge (unfortunately, it is a one-sided relationship ... I don't think Tony knows me from a pile of rocks) released a post the other day about the importance of setting your own blog posts to the time of day that best suits your blog readers (What Is The Best Time Of Day To Publish Your Blog Post?) Egad!

This is the same Tony Eldridge who provided info about how to gather stats for your blog (Seven Stats You Should Know About Your Blog or Website), which I tried and the task left me winded and limp for days. Now, I know Tony is only trying to help ... authors should treat their craft like a business, and I really do appreciate all the little tips I pick up from his blog ... and I suspect that one of the reasons he is an infinitely more successful author than moi is that he actually does these things ... but I'm still going to have to pass on this one.

Even if I could figure out the best time of day to release a post, meeting that time would be the show stopper. One of the main reasons I suffered so in the corporate realm were the mega-evil deadlines ... which I swear robbed more years from my lifespan than all the smoking and substance abuse ever did ... so, why would I willingly impose any kind of a writing deadline on myself ... blog post or otherwise? I suppose it's that kind of thinking that may ultimately doom me to being a bottom-feeder in the publishing world ... but a guy's gotta maintain his principles, right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Check 'YES' if You Want to be My Friend

Browsing my morning emails and I come across one from Kindle Direct Publishing ... a newsletter of sorts ... and the first thing I see is: "John Locke Becomes the First Independently Published Author to Join the Kindle Million Club." Mr. Lock has sold 1,010,370 Kindle books ... well, that's as of this morning, could be up to 1,011,370 by now.  Over one million books ... holy shnikees!

Here's a quote from Mr. Lock: "Kindle Direct Publishing has provided an opportunity for independent authors to compete on a level playing field with the giants of the book selling industry ... Not only did KDP give me a chance, they helped at every turn. Quite simply, KDP is the greatest friend an author can have."

Hey, wait a minute ... I'm a Kindle author ... but, honestly, I don't think KDP knows I'm alive. So, my question is, how does one get to sit at the lunch table with the ultra-cool KDP gang?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Therein Lies the Rub

Oh, how sweet it was ... Santiago hit a double to drive in Martinez in the bottom of the 10th to squeak out a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay last night, which leads me to the topic of today's post ... well, no it doesn't, but I just had to get that in. What I was really meaning to talk about was a post by Edwin Crozier, that appeared on on Tony Eldridge's blog, Marketing Tips for Writers. Mr. Crozier outlined four principles about how to be the best writer you can be:

Break the molds

Disregard the prophecies of others

Write from your strengths

Write what you enjoy

I won't elaborate on these ... suffice it to say that, while not breaking any new ground, Mr. Crozier was on the beam ... but I did have a reaction to a statement from that last principle:

"Write about something you enjoy so much you'd write about it for free. Then write such good stuff that people will pay you for it."

I pretty much follow the first part of that statement ... if I'm not having fun with it, I just ain't gonna do it ... and I think my record pretty much demonstrates that I'll do it for free ... but what about that second part? According to Amazon, people have to pay BEFORE they know if it is any good ... and it has also been shown that they are just darned reluctant to do that ... and rightfully so, I might add.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

You'll Laugh, You'll Cry, You'll Never Forget ...

I heard these two book reviewers on the radio discussing their must-read list for the summer book season ... that time of year when readers look forward to beach books with as much anticipation as movie buffs do the big cinema blockbusters. I know I do ... there's nothing like getting lost in a good read while sitting in a beach chair with waves gently lapping at your feet.

Well, if there is something as good, it'd be having your latest tome on those lists of warm-weather escapes, but I listened intently and lo, my latest little bon mot was not mentioned. How could they have overlooked such a gripping read?

All right, maybe it doesn't have a catchy title (read Diary of a Narcissistic Bloodsucker below) ... and I suppose the cover is not as imaginative as possible ... okay, there isn't a brand name author on that cover ... but is does have a cast of thousands and it is the funniest, saddest, most intriguing thrill-fest ever written.

Maybe next year ...

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Walk on the Wild Side

Following the blog link trail, I stumbled onto Alex Je. Cavanaugh's site and discovered that he is running this thing called 'It's All Fun and Games Blogfest' ... being the brilliant internet marketer that I am, my reaction was, 'huh'? So Alex done 'splained it to me ... it's an activity that bloggers participate in by doing whatever 'challenge' the sponsoring blog-meitster lays down ... in this case it's name your three favorite games. Evidently, the point of this is to help generate traffic to your website, so, okay, I'll play.

Most of the games I saw mentioned were computer oriented games, but I didn't see any parameters for TYPES of games, and, since I think the last computer game I played was Pong, I'm going to have to go off-line for this activity ... I hope that's okay with Alex. Anyway, my three favorite games are:

Golf - what can I say, it's what I do. Why? Probably has something to do with low self-esteem.

Baseball - I'm not sure this qualifies, because, it's not something I actually play (I was in Little League, but that was one or two years ago), but God help me, I love it so.

Pinochle - I haven't really played in while, but when I was into it ... I was into it. Primary reason I flunked out of my first semester in college.

Well, there you have it. I'm not sure I've done this properly, but aren't you proud of my effort?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Some Assembly Required

Feeling good ... feeling strong ... sun shining, finally hit on the correct ratio of beans to water for my new coffee maker, and still basking in the glow of the Tigers win over the Twins to take a 3 game sweep (how sweet it was) ... so I'm thinking I can handle a technological challenge that Tony Eldridge threw down on his blog yesterday ... tracking stats on my site ... things like page views, bounce rates, unique visitors ... you know, that stuff you were just dying to know about. So, following his advice I hustle over to Google Analytics and dig in. Here's what GA told me I should do:

Find the asynchronous snippet for your profile The tracking code is profile-specific, so you can only access it from the Profile Settings screen for that profile. Go to Analytics Settings and click "Edit" next to the profile used for your site. In the Profile Settings page, click the "Check Status" link. You'll see something similar to the code snippet below, where XXXXX-YY indicates the profile ID for your Analytics account.

That sound you hear is the air wafting out of my sails. Are you kidding me? Find the asynchronous snippet? Good thing that I really didn't care about those stats anyway.

PS. Charlie Watts, Rolling Stones drummer (par excellent), turns 70 today ... egad!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This Time I Really Mean It

Being that it's Tuesday, I would normally already be in my post Monday euphoria, thinking, "only four more days until the weekend." But, as yesterday was a holiday, this is really the start of the week, so I'm actually in my Monday morning funk ... beating myself up for another wasted weekend ... and I'm still depressed that the Tigers dropped 3 out of 4 to Boston.  Well, none of that matters now ... what's important is that I have some tangible goals to work on this week. I stumbled onto Tony Eldridge's blog:


and found these seven great marketing tips ... all but two of them are imminently doable for me (the one about the SEO strategy ... I've got no clue ... and the other one, about getting testimonials for my book ... it ain't gonna happen). So, five are reachable and I aim to work on them ... right after lunch ... tomorrow.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Diary of Narcissistic Bloodsucker

No, that's not the title of this post ... it's the title of a book by Lynda Hilburn ... but it got your attention, didn't it? I was rooting around the 'Net, as I often do, and stumbled onto Ms. Hilburn's website (http://www.lyndahilburn.com/author.htm) and saw this title and thought, wow, this is big league imagination ... my title's are single 'A'  bush leaguers by comparison. Now, I'm not necessarily a fan of vampire erotica, but I might have to check this out. Book titles are paramount for getting attention and lackluster titles may be one reason why I have to blow the dust balls off my book shelves. I wonder if BLOOD, SEX, and ROCK'N'ROLL would have worked better than HEADWIND?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Play Ball

The list thing was amusing ... but that's about it ... I mean, really, how far can you take a gimmick like that? Okay, by what I've seen in the grocery checkout line, you take it pretty far ... but I'll leave the list making to the professional marketing screeds. So, now what? Each day I go to my Amazon e-shelf-space (exactly what  do you call that?), blow off the dust, and wonder, "how can I entice more folks to give my books a serious look ... or any other kind of look?" I keep reading about people who have whipped the Internet audience into a frenzy over their latest offering and I just don't get it. Sure, maybe they have a better product .... maybe they're better organized ... maybe they have a better understanding of social networking ... maybe they have better contacts ... maybe they have more perseverance ... but other than that what am I missing? There's something ... and I know I can figure out what it is ... and I'm going to start work on it, just as soon as the Tiger's finish off the Rays tonight.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

5 Reasons for this Reading this Post

So, I'm surfing the great north shore break of the blogoshere, blissfully shooting the links on my keyboard, enjoying the spray of ads in my face, when it hits me! Lists! They're everywhere.  Of course, I see them all the time on the covers of magazines when I'm standing in line at the grocery checkout: 10 Methods to Sew Coconuts together, 8 Ways to Financial Insanity, 12 Reasons Hemorrhoid Suffers Prefer to Stand ... but I've never noticed how prevalent they were in blogs. I probably would have noticed this sooner if I was prone to notice things ... but, as my wife will tell you, I'm not ... so when this phenomenon finally registered, I realized, ah ha, what a great way to attract an audience. Why? Who knows ... there must be some deep-seated psychological reason why we love lists ... but that's big-brain stuff ... not my milieu. All I know is that we love 'em. I mean, Dave Letterman practically built a career on his famous Top Ten list. Well, it's never too late to climb on the bandwagon, so here's my list for why you are here:

1. You've spent all morning (writing/avoiding writing/snorkeling) and you needed a break
2. You Googled 'lists' and this popped up
3. Your pet (cat/dog/orangutang/bandicoot) walked across your keyboard and here you are
4. You were doing research for an article on the Oil War of 1872, started idly clicking links, and wound up weaving past coconut stitching, around financial advice, and through hemorrhoid ads only to end up here
5. You won a bet that you could find the lamest post on the Internet

If you read this far, I'm either a marketing genius or you have way too much time on your hands. I'd prefer to believe the former.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Duel of the Titans

I heard a news report this morning that the big, mainstream publishing houses are going to get into the Internet book marketing business.  Now, you must remember that my exposure to news ... especially business news ...  is limited at best ... I'm much more interested in how the Tigers are doing than what's happening on Wall Street (the Tabbies took 3 out of 4 in Toronto, by the way), so please don't put much stock in anything I say. Heck, this could be old news to you, but was new to me and if it's true you know what it means ... the publishers are going big game hunting in the Amazon. What does that mean to those of us who provide content for these giant book marketers ... especially those of us who are the bottom feeders? Probably nothing ... it's kinda like the peasants who tilled their meager gardens in medieval Europe while the lords and barons fought wars over the next rise ... we just go on hoeing our potatoes, knowing we'll be obliged to somebody, but not really caring who. But, then, I suppose there is always the chance that the battle might spill over onto our little truck patch and swallow us up.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Department of Redundancy Department

When I got into this game, everyone told me (and don't make me explain who 'everyone' is) that I need a website so people can find out about my books. So I spring for a domain name and a host, then spend umpteen hours (and copious amounts of frustration) designing a site.  Next, 'everyone' tells me I have to blog ... so I register with the great Internet blog administrator, wrack my feeble brains for a blog idea, and commence to bloggin' (the good news here is that this blog thing appears to be free ... ya gotta love that part).  So now here's the question: with all these Internet marketing tools to maintain ... like Fazebook, emails, and ... God forbid ... Twitter ... do I really need a blog AND a website? I mean, don't they both do the same thing, more or less ... sit in Internet back alleys, waiting forlornly for some innocent web-surfer to stop by and 'get to know me' ... especially when one of those things is actually costing me hard currency (okay, it's credit ... but you understand)?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You've Got to Break a Few Eggs

I was channel surfing over the weekend and stumbled onto the movie Julie and Julia ... about the woman who challenged herself to make all of Julia Child's French recipes in a year and blog about the experience along the way. Ordinarily, this might not have been a stopping point for me, but the blogging thing caught my attention ... since, in a way, it's what I'm trying do ... not make Julia Child's recipes, but marketing my books on the Internet and blogging about that. So, I checked it out for a while (Meryl Streep was boffo as Julia Childs, by the way). At first Julie is writing to ether ... much as I do ... but slowly folks started picking up on the blog and, it seems, she eventually garnered a sizable audience. How so, asks I? Because she was writing about something people were interested in? Because she has a lot of friends? Because she was lucky? Maybe it was all of the above, but I'm not sure ... I have to admit that I didn't stick around for the entire movie ... The Lawman, staring Burt Lancaster and Robert Ryan was on a competing channel, and the Oater won out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Table for One, Please

I've been studying Fazebook for a while now, and I think I might have figured out what is going on ... my friends write a comment which appears on my page and then their friends write replies which also appear ... I THINK that's what's going on. So I write a comment, like, "I just fed my goldfish and OMG I remembered that I had already fed them this morning, LOL." I wait patiently for the replies, which never come and suddenly I feel like the geek who just sat at the cool kids' lunch table ... one or two heads gaze in my direction and I overhear, "What's he doing here?" Then they go back to their own conversations.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Make Mine a Sarsaparilla

I keep reading stories about these indie authors who are having phenomenal success marketing their books while I labor fruitlessly in obscurity ... I suppose it should be inspirational, but honestly, it's kinda depressing .... it's like they're a group of high-society swells having a madcap evening of fun and frivolity in Manhatten, swilling champagne, dancing, dining and laughing in glamorous nightclubs ... while I'm a lone horseman entering a sleepy western village, clip-clopping along a dusty street, past tumbleweed and sleeping dogs, pushing through creaking saloon doors, spurs jangling with slow footsteps through an empty room, the only other person, a watchful bartender stops drying glasses, leans over the bar and asks, "What'll it be, stranger?"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nobody Knows Anything

I just read Amanda Hocking's Blog entry "Some Things That Need to Be Said" (http://amandahocking.blogspot.com/2011/03/some-things-that-need-to-be-said.html) and I'm trying to process what I read. I had never heard of Ms. Hocking before this morning, but evidently she's a 26-year old author and self-publishing phenom ... apparently she sold so many ebooks she attracted the attention of a mainstream publisher and a two-million dollar deal ... 2 mil ... yikes! Oddly, her blog post kinda sounded like a rambling apology of her sudden success ... I thought about leaving a comment, but I couldn't really wrap my head around what she was trying to say ... I couldn't really sum it up. I think what I really took away from this information was the randomness of success in the publishing world ... I don't mean to demean anything Amanda has accomplished ... I'm sure she works hard and I think she is to be congratulated ... it's just that, as she herself said (in reference to author J. L. Bryan):

"By all accounts, he has done the same things I did, even writing in the same genre and pricing the books low. And he's even a better writer than I am. So why am I selling more books than he is?  I don't know."

Well, there you go ... 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nose and Lips Above the Surface

I got a little excited last week because of a wee bit of attention ... a couple new friends dropped by my blog ...  a 2000 percent increase in traffic ... and I felt like I was starting to get the hang of this social networky thing ... then all went stoney silent again ... Fazebook went blank, moths flew out of my email box, and the hoped for reviews on Amazon went begging. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, the Internet is a vast ocean of information: if you drift a little out of the main shipping channels you might float for days without seeing another human. Everyone has their own projects ... and they're busy trying to maintain a presence on the 'Net ... it's pretty hard to keep up virtual relationships ... I understand ... heck, I'm as guilty as the next person. All I can say is that this internet marketing is a slog ... but you gotta keep swimming or you'll slip beneath the waves.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tunnel Vision

I got a note from author Tom Winton (Beyond Nostalgia, http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Nostalgia-Tom-Winton/dp/1460920937/ref=pd_rhf_p_img_1) mentioning that he had 'tagged' Headwind on Amazon. Weeeeelll, it just so happens that I sorta knew what that meant, because Linda Boulanger (http://www.blogger.com/profile/02380644949713158187) had steered me to Andrew Kaufman's blog, where he had explained what tagging was and how to set it up on your Amazon site. I'm beginning to see how this whole 'social 'net' thing works ... but I still feel like I'm looking at it through a peep hole ... I catch glimpses of things out there, but can't quite see the big picture.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I guess it must be me ... everyone else seems to navigate the Facebook maze with no problems, but when I log on and stare at the screen, it just looks like a riot of information ... I can't figure out who is talking to who ... whether some input is from friends or just ads ...  and when I write something, I don't know where it goes or who sees it. All that is bad enough, but then I created a page for my new book, Headwind ... and I can't figure out if it is a separate page of just an extension of my personal page ... I really don't know what to do with it. I suppose I must sound like an old fogy complaining about a new fangled technology ... and that's probably true ... but, honestly, I was just fine with email.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Red Cheek Day

I'm reading a golf magazine in my doctor's waiting room, shaved, showered and feeling a little smug about actually beating my appointment time for once, when I hear the receptionist call my name. Cool, I'm going to seen early because I'm early!
   "Mr. Hudson," she says, "um, your appointment is for tomorrow."
   "Your appointment is for the 23rd ... this is the 22nd."
She's right ... now I remember. She's trying to be discreet, but the waiting room is small and the other folks can't help but hear what is going on ... I can hear the snickers behind my back. I figure the only way to recover from this gaff is to go on the offense.
   "But someone called me yesterday to remind me of the appointment."
  "Yes, they did ... to remind you that you have an appointment on the 23rd. The person you are seeing is not even here today."
Now I'm embarrassed ... I'm on the tee in front of thousands and I just topped the ball fifty yards. Fumbling for snappy retort, I come up empty.
   "See you tomorrow."
Mustering as much dignity as I can, I put on my coat and slip out the door without making eye contact with anyone.  Sheeesh.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Red Letter Day

So, I'm drinking my coffee and casually flipping through my email, and what do you know, there is a nice note from author Ellen Maze (http://www.ellencmaze.com). I heard Ellen's interview on an Internet radio program (I think it was on a site called Promotion a La Carte) ... anyway, she was talking about her successful marketing campaign, and she sounded so knowledgeable and upbeat, I sent her note asking for advice, and she responded (as I said earlier, I think authors are, by and large, naturally friendly). Well, this latest note was very encouraging ... Ellen had taken the time to look at my website and blog and gave me some wonderful, positive feedback ... brightened up what might have otherwise been an extremely dull and listless Monday morning.

On top of all that, Ellen sent a couple of her author friends to my blog ... Caprice Hokstad and Linda, both of whom took the time to respond to one of my posts.  Gee, I'm starting to feel like Sally Fields at the Oscars, "... you like me ... you really like me!"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I've been surfing the 'Net ... looking for relevant blogs, book marketing ideas, etc. ... and stumbled onto a site called Copyblogger  and an article titled Two Tribes (http://www.copyblogger.com/two-tribes/) ... I'm still not sure if this is something relevant to me or not, but I figure I have to keep schooling myself about the Internet, so I read it ... it's about a great divide in the online marketing world ... on one side is the "Tribe of Cool Kids and the other the Internet Marketing Tribe ... then there was something about a third tribe ... I'm still not sure what the heck the point of this was, but there dozens of responses telling the author how "on the mark" it was. I guess there must a forth tribe, one for us Neanderthals.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tuesday something ...

I don't imagine there are many folks who remember a band called The Fugs, let alone one of their songs, titled Nothing ... well, it's a dirge that starts with, "Monday nothing, Tuesday nothing, Wednesday and Thursday Nothing, then on Friday a little more nothing, Saturday and Sunday nothing ..." on it goes through the months, etc. Kinda been the story of my book sales ... but last Tuesday I was sorting through my email and lo and behold there was note from Amazon that wasn't an ad ... it was from their accounts payable informing me that $40.40 in royalty payments from Kindle was winging its electronic way to my bank. Now, before you get too excited, that is for all of last year ... for both books (however, Headwind wasn't published on Kindle until November) ... a small stipend for sure, but I was still pretty stoked ... it meant that my books are out there ... in the universe ... and maybe somebody is even reading them!

Friday, February 25, 2011

For Want of a Blog ...

So, I'm rooting around the 'net, looking for book promotion ideas, and I stumble onto one: research what other authors in "your strata" are doing to promote themselves. Good, good, but what is meant by "authors in your strata" ... does that mean other authors who have no sales ... why would I want to research their marketing approach ... it's probably the same as mine?  No, it must mean "authors who are self-published in my genre" ... so I started looking around and found a few. I sent them emails asking for info on what they've done to promote their books ... and being authors, they were very friendly and helpful. One idea that floated up was to post stuff on blogs ... which I thought was good ... but I've not been very successful finding blogs that are interesting or would be interested in my thoughts.  I'll keep looking ...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The silence is deafening.

Checking in on the old blog ... just in case I snared an unsuspecting surfer ... so far they've all managed to avoid this particular Internet back alley ... which, I have to admit is probably a good thing for them ... having roamed a few dark and dank streets myself.

Annnnnywaaay, I've been noodling on my next project ...  even though I haven't had any action on my first two, a sane person might be questioning why I'd bother ... and I don't really have a good answer, other than it is what I do. So what's next? Ahhh, stick around for the next three years and you'll find out!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Internet Wasteland

Just back from a two week stay in AZ with an old bandmate of mine (yep, I used to make a da music ... and still do a little). I was hoping that there might have been a little action on my blog or Facebook page, but alas, all is quite on the social networking front. Regardless, I'll will continue to wander in the Internet wilderness for a while yet ... at least as long as the water and food hold out.  Besides, the solitude allows for some creative contemplation.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Like this isn't hard enough ...

So I get a comment from my bro-in-law, Scott, and he tells me that he wasn't able to post a comment on my blog. I tell him I'll check it out ... so I try to leave a comment as a test, and guess what? It wouldn't work for me either ... I don't know, I'm not sure what blogs are all about anyway, but I guessing it has a lot to do with two-way communication ... just a guess. I'd ask for comments, but what's the point, eh?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Maybe I'm just not cut out for show biz.

When I first started my marketing efforts on the Internet, I labored under this delusion that anything I wrote ... or posted ... would be read by somebody ... maybe not the masses, but a few folks. It was a rude awakening to find that the Internet is pretty much like physical world ... if you don't know how to draw attention to yourself or your stuff, ain't nobody gonna see it.  So, most of the time if feel like the comedian standing before a stone-faced audience, tapping on the mike and asking, "Is this working?"