Tag Archives: Blog

Self publishing n’ stuff

I’m supposed to be writing right now, but all I can think is zzzzzzz…. I went swimming today and am plumb tuckered.

Oh, I know! Here’s a semi-educational email I wrote today to a friend. It never fails to amaze me, the things I find tucked away in my brain. When I was a kid, my favorite thing to do was empty out my pockets and see what treasures I’d collected over the course of the day. When people ask me questions and I actually have answers, it’s the same feeling, hahaha.


Would you recommend any particular self-publishing service?

 

I recommend Smashwords… it’s the only publishing service I know, though. It’s free and they distribute it to lots of other platforms. You’ll have to go through your book and do a fair amount of work to make sure it meets their epub formatting guidelines. They give you lots of advice on how to do that properly. Even though it distributes to about 30 small mysterious websites I’ve never heard of, the only place where I’ve sold books are the Smashwords site, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, and iBooks. I had to sign my book up for Kindle separately from Smashwords, though. For some reason they didn’t have that one as a distributor.

If you’re serious about this you’ll want to investigate the pros and cons of some other sites. I’ve never done that so…

I had to break a few hearts and lose a couple potential readers because I didn’t have a print version of the book. Maybe one day… but right now it’d just be a fiscal calamity. There might be some bind-on-demand kind of places but I really haven’t looked into that, either.

 

What, if anything, can I do to promote a book?

 

Make sure you have a fantastic cover, and a really good micropitch to draw them in. You can pull views to the publishing page, but this is where they’ll get asked for money, and have to actually make their decision. Be careful not to mislead them in any way about the nature of the book; if you draw the wrong kind of audience who are expecting something else, they’ll hate your book no matter how good it is.

YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE. If you want to actually make money, you’re going to have to put in lots of man-hours. Touch as many people as you can with the links. Put links to the book in your email signature, sign off your online comments and posts with it. Find websites with likely readership and mention your work there. If you have a fearless and winning personality, you could take advantage of local opportunities, too. Little writer’s conventions and clubs abound. You could contact some bookstores or libraries and ask if they want a copy, or if you can do a reading in a coffee shop. Set up a stand on the sidewalk. Pass out business cards. Leave flyers on bulletin boards. Really maximize your efforts by finding the haunts of your niche audience and appealing to them there.

Eliminate obstacles for potential readers. Make your websites, links, etc VERY clear. Think in this way: you want the LEAST amount of clicks necessary for them to get to your book.

Build up suspense and momentum with a promised release date. Get as many people excited about this as you can, maybe build an email list or webpage for it. I failed at this when I tried to do it, but they say it makes a difference.

One thing I want for me is to get a couple more books up there. The more books you have, the more of an audience you’ll get, right? I read about this one girl who had a big string of 20 vampire novels she’d written for fun. She self-published them and people got addicted. If they bought one, they got addicted and bought a bunch more. She made a killing. Of course that’s a crazy popular genre anyway, or at least it was at the time.

Um… that’s about all I know for sure in this area. Marketing is where I’m failing right now, because I’m so damn lazy.

Social media is a big deal for a reason. Big possibilities for promotion with that. Big… possibilities. Go investigate. I don’t really know. You can use FB, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit, WordPress, Instagram, Pinterest, Patreon, Kickstarter, Ko-Fi, etc all to great effect if you apply different principles to each one (I recommend you look up and check out each one of these if you haven’t investigated them before). Once again, this requires a time investment and I’m not sure about the exact application for each, because I don’t want that much shit in my life right now.

 

Is there some level of sales that I can reasonably expect?

 

Once again… you get what you give.

Honestly, I wouldn’t expect a whole lot. Unless you put in all that consistent work to promote it.

I put my book up on March 2016. I’ve sold a grand total of… drumroll… 29 books. I’ve had 102 sample downloads, so that’s actually a pretty good (almost 1/3) view-to-purchase ratio, and I’m proud. Like I said… not doing a great job of marketing this book.

From your personal network of friends, family, and blog audience, I’d expect maybe 5% to buy. Email lists are supposed to be a great resource. If you send an email blast to your blog email followers, and the book is written in the genre they expect (i.e. just like your blog), then a slightly higher percentage from there will buy.

Please don’t force anyone to read it. You’ll just upset them and get weird feedback.


 

The end, goodnight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Humbled

So I’m sitting here, writing, in my angry place. About suicide, the state of the nation, all these deep poems. Trying to decide which terrible thing to post. 

Then I get a group text from my sister. It’s a gibberish link.

She does not stay up late at night. She does not use ellipses, ordinarily. And she does not send links. She’s not really techy at all. She doesn’t even open the links we send to her!

Spam spam spam spam spam.

I tell her she’s not being herself, and to change her password. My sister didn’t respond. Everyone in the thread considers themselves lucky not to have clicked it (except the one person who did and it didn’t load).

The preview said “dogapillar in my back yard.”

The group is disappointed that we can’t click on this enticing link. We try to find adequate replacements in GIFs. No dogapillars, unfortunately. Caterpillars, cat caterpillars, and old men with caterpillar mustaches. Images abound. Nothing can fill the need. We didn’t know we had this need until we weren’t allowed to see it.

Then she messages again and says that she really did send it. This was it: 

Dogerpillar-in-the-backyard8230-428cf1

 

So was sparked much discussion on what the appropriate time and syntax is for sending pictures of dogapillars. Should there be a code word to accompany it so we know it’s a legit dogapillar photo? More related GIFs and photos were exchanged.

At long last, the discussion was concluded, and bedtime announced. 

I got back to my poetry rant. It looked so self-important and… small. I can’t post this shit. I have a hard enough time taking myself seriously as it is. Nothing compares to long, ridiculous dogapillar-centric conversations. I have been fully outmatched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

It’s better to react quickly and look stupid than to not react in time

One of my coworkers just got his hip replaced. I am very fond of him. He is a fellow writer, and he always eats my cooking. Brave, brave man. 😉

Today was one of his first days back. From his cube, I heard a THUNK and then him swearing quietly.

My stomach dropped. I left my chair and rushed into his cube.

He was fine! He had been raising his desk to a standing height when the side got hooked on the printer, raised it, and dropped it. That was the big noise.

Two other concerned coworkers peeked in. After the worried questions and dismissive answers, we went back to our desks. One of them remarked, “Wow, you were in there fast! I sit right next to him and you were still in there before me.”

Having had an ill mother, as well as several very accident-prone family members, all the kids in my family learned to jump when something happened.

I am haunted by an experience I had when I was about 19, in college. I was supposed to spend some time visiting an old lady in a home as part of a community service credit.

In the course of our conversation, she had mentioned to me that a resident next door to her had fallen and was calling for help for hours before she heard her and got staff to help.

Later on, I went to visit her again. As we talked, and I kept hearing an odd, high vocalization every minute or so, from the other room. I didn’t think about it too hard, and politely wrote it off. I must have heard it for at least 30 minutes. Eventually the lady I was with heard it, too.

“What is that sound?” she said.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I keep hearing it.”

Being wheelchair bound, she pushed the call button, waited for an aide, and asked them to check on the noise. In her wisdom and experience, she was proactive about the situation the minute she noticed something unusual.

Of course, it was the resident in the next room. She had fallen again and was calling from the floor, in her frail weak voice, “Help!…Help!”

It’s amazing how much you forget. In writing this, I realized I don’t know if I ever saw the neighboring resident’s face. I don’t remember what we were talking about. The whole thing is like a hazy dream.

Only one thing keeps its sharp clear edges:  the sounds in the background of our long conversation, sounds which I had written off in the back of my mind, sounds which I was too shy and uncertain to act upon, and so ignored: a pathetic, persistent, exhausted cry for help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

One year checkup

 

I HAVE BEEN OFFICIALLY BLOGGING FOR ONE YEAR. Bloggiversary? Am I allowed to say that word? It feels like a gross portmanteau… like synergy, or mayochup, or chillax, or meatplosion.

What a crazy year. I’ve learned so much. Even in the past week, I’ve learned so much. Can I even begin to quantify the learning I’ve learned in a year?

Ah, no, I can’t. Unfortunately I can’t remember what I learned. But I know it’s a lot.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned in just the past week:

  1. Listen to the red flags in every situation. Don’t do stupid things out of laziness. Cut carefully with knives. Use the pusher with the food processor. Do NOT do stupid things.
  2. Get your chronic cough checked out and fixed. You might get pneumonia and die.
  3. Don’t be a sedentary office worker; move. Or you might get pneumonia and die.
  4. Diet brain is a fucking menace. Eat your fats and proteins along with vegetables. I don’t know, you’ll figure it out. Do not ignore diet brain. You’ll end up chopping off digits.
  5. One cat will always be fat. What weight one loses, the other finds. This is an unassailable fact of life.
  6. Fingers heal like Wolverine. They refill and replace tissue with minimal scarring.
  7. Argue with your sister a little more when you don’t want something to happen. You can be just as stubborn as she is. Do it. Your fingers are your own and being tractable is not worth getting gauze stuck in the wound for days.
  8. People get gauze stuck in their wounds on purpose, then rip it out along with healing new tissue all the time. This called debriding the wound. I don’t understand why nice doctors would make people do this.
  9. David Tennant’s peculiar brand of crazy and rubber face feels like home. Watch more of his stuff. Something has got to fill the Doctor Who void…
  10. Dostoyevsky still blows your mind. Write like him. Except, with more lovable characters. …It could happen.
  11. You have too many sketchbooks. And only six good drawings?
  12. Breathe, relax. If you stress out about things like gauze in your wound, you’ll give yourself a hive.

 

So… thanks for a year of blogging.  You’re all nuts. I love you so much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Awkward Thrift Store Adventure

 

know I’m supposed to tell you about my trip but ehh. I never do my blog the right way, anyway. Instead I’m going to tell you this:

 

I met an old lady at the Salvation Army thrift store the other day. She was very sad because their house have been flooded out. She told me all about it. When she got to the desk, she was told (after some confusion; the woman at the desk had a thick Russian accent which hindered everyone’s communication efforts) she was in the wrong area and she needed to actually go to the Salvation Army church, not the thrift store. She left with a phone number crumpled in her hand.

Next came my turn at the desk.

I wanted to buy a little decorative glass jar, but all I had was a twenty. The woman looked at me and said that she couldn’t break a twenty, which left me flummoxed. All I had was… another twenty. Was this too much money for them? Did I really not belong here so badly that my money was actually no good?? For some reason, returning the item did not come into my mind. I stared at her, and stared at the money, and stared at her until the customer next to me said, “That’s okay; I’ll pay for it.” And she did. I gave her a hug.

As the other customer, probably poorer than me, paid for my stupid bauble, the cashier said, “All day, people give me fifties, twenties, fifties, I cannot make you the change.” So that kind of explained it.

As I left, I felt embarrassed, but also very grateful. I was looking at my car when the old lady appeared behind me and said, “Will you give me a ride?” I wanted to pay forward what I had just experienced. I gave her a good looking at: she had a limp, overweight, late sixties at least. I figured I could take her, if it came to that. So I said yes, and she labored into the passenger seat of my car.

As I pulled the car out of the spot, she told me, “I hope you’re not offended, but I see the grace of God upon you.”

It was so unexpected and nicely phrased, it went straight to my head. I laughed prettily. Me? The grace of God? “Thank you,” I said. What else could I say in the face of such high-flying, hallucinatory, kindly old lady compliments? I’m not even religious.

We only drove about six feet before her husband pulled into the lot with his car, so I pulled up close and tried ineffectually to help as she painfully trundled out of my car and into hers.

I started to walk away, a little disappointed that I hadn’t been able to pay forward my good deed. Then I remembered the $20. It had been spared for a reason! I ran back and pressed it into her hand. “If this helps,” I said.

“It does, thank you,” the old lady replied.

I got back into my car and headed out. I felt decidedly wall-eyed after the compliment and the good deed (or was I just paying her for the compliment?), and literally drove 30 minutes in the wrong direction.

Maybe what she was detecting was my low blood sugar. I hadn’t yet eaten that day and my mind was loosely hinged. Old people can sometimes confuse the grace of God and low blood sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

« Older Entries