. . . an Award Too?

. . . an Award Too?

All right, so it’s been a few days since I checked my email. I know, sacrilege, but everybody who knows me, knows that regarding emails (same for v/m and social media), the message gets to me, but it can take a while. Anyway, it was sometime around the middle of last week and I’m still feeling good about the success of the Cocoa Beach book fair. BTW, you can read all about it in my post, After the Book Fair, 3-28-15. It’s a fun read even if you didn’t attend—but I’m getting off the subject.

So there I am checking the email: and what do I see? The Modern Theologian, https://themoderntheologian.wordpress.com , has nominated me for a Liebster Award, but before I had a chance to read anything else, the power goes out at my house. I don’t have a battery backup so that was all I knew. I was nominated for an award. Why was I nominated? What on earth did I do to earn it? Is it an April fool’s joke? If not, what is a Liebster Award anyway? I had no clue and so I sat, waiting for the power to come back on.

We have a lot of power outages where I live. They aren’t very long, maybe a minute or two, but sometimes they can last for hours. I waited and waited, then waited some more and then . . . it was time to go mow the lawn. Unfortunately, I don’t need electric to do that.

The next day the power was back along with my curiosity. I binged The Liebster Award and to my surprise, I discovered that it’s a real thing and apparently, it’s something everyone who has a blog knows about, except of course, me. I read on and learned that the only thing you need in order to be nominated is a blog with fewer than 200 followers (+ or – a few 1000, the rules are fuzzy here). Well, no problem, I got that in spades. Then I read more and the truth was unveiled. The rules seem to be open to interpretation as time goes on but—I will do my best:

  1. Thank the person who nominates you.
  2. Answer the ten questions asked.
  3. Ask ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  4. Acknowledge the Liebster Award, and link to your nominator’s blog.
  5. Pick ten new nominees and inform them that they have been nominated.

Yes, the rules sound an awful lot like a modern twist on the old chain letter idea, but there is another aspect that can’t be ignored: the opportunity to network. I really don’t understand why doing something like this draws a crowd, but it does—case in point. I guess that’s what constantly baffles me about social media marketing. For example, I can post a picture on facebook of my cat in the process of editing my latest novel (she uses claws and teeth, not a red pen), and that will get a thousand hits if not more, but a free excerpt from the very same novel gets zero. If I combine the two (picture & excerpt), that’s what I’ll get, two hits. Regardless, none of it ever generates book sales.

As such, I draw a distinction between my blog and the rest of social media (facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc.). Maybe that’s a big part of my misunderstanding but to me, there’s is a difference. I like to blog, and the rest of it . . . well, I like to blog. That said—a blog, just like any other form of social media, needs exposure to be successful. This part I do understand and chain letter issues aside, the Liebster Award is an opportunity for exposure. So thank you for the nomination TMT. And thanks to all of you who take the time to read my blog, and especially, this post.

My Liebster Award Q and A

As a supremely honored and grateful recipient of the coveted Liebster Award for Fine Journalistic Blogging . . . oh—uh, excuse me. That was an impromptu divergence into what I call, The Writing World, but I’m back now.

Yes, it is still something of an honor to be thought of and recognized by your peers, but with honor comes responsibility, and mine begins with answers to Theologian’s 10 questions.

  1. What do you do to unwind from the problems of the day?

If I haven’t already done so, I throw on a pair of jeans, t-shirt, boots, and depending on the weather, a long-sleeve shirt or jacket. On the way out the door, I grab my helmet and keys. Then, after a reasonable warm up, I’m thundering down the road on my V-twin. I installed Slashcut Cobra Headers, re-jetted and hand tuned the carbs, and then added a few more finishing touches including a K&N filter (hence the thunder). I gave up pedal power for horsepower when I was fifteen and found serenity on two wheels ever since. The bigger the problem the longer the ride.

  1. You’re given a time machine that can make only one trip, when would you go, and why?

If you go back in human history just five hundred years, intelligent life on this planet was pretty naïve. Who knows, maybe intelligent life on this planet is still very naïve. I would love to find out how it all ultimately works out. To the future and beyond.

  1. Has Earth been visited by aliens?

You obviously haven’t met my ex-wife.

  1. What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?

Mast . . . Daydream. I got into a lot of trouble, daydreaming.

  1. You can solve one of the world’s problems…which one?

Ignorance.

6   What is your favorite book, that one that you could read over and over and never be bored?

The easy answer is the Bible, but I’m a writer and if I’m truly honest, I’d have to say the dictionary, not because I’ve read it cover to cover, but because I read from it and learn, almost every day.

  1. Stuck on a desert island, what one food would you want?

Most desert islands have coconut palms for milk; all I need are Krispy Kreme mini-powder donuts.

  1. Do you have an unrequited love?

Yes. You didn’t ask whom, or better yet, what, and I thank you.

  1. What was your favorite subject in K-12?

Auto shop.

  1. Whom would you want to have lunch with?

I had a dog when I was a kid and he was always there for me. I’d love to share a bologna sandwich and a Slim Jim with him again . . . just to say thanks.

Now for my ten questions, and no, I won’t require elaboration. That’s entirely up to you.

  1. Salt or sugar?
  2. What is the color of pain? Black is the absence of color and can’t be used.
  3. If accomplishment is a derivative of success, what makes you feel most accomplished?
  4. Power or fame?
  5. How many times can you read the same book or see the same movie?
  6. Nine times out of ten, the book is better than the movie. Why?
  7. If it were possible to choose, what animal (other than Homo sapiens) would you be?
  8. What is the one thing that you don’t really have to do, but really, really want to do?
  9. What would you do if you were given a onetime moral and legal pardon?
  10. Are your answers to number 8 and 9 the same?

 

And last but not least, my list of nominees:

www.mytwosentences.com

www.carolec55.wordpress.com

www.mywordpool.wordpress.com

www.suesbent.com

www.realmomsdontjudge.com

www.thedailybubbletea.com

www.pukahworks.wordpress.com

www.luckyottershaven.com

http://www.jaimiengle.com

www.samaraspeaks.wordpress.com

And one more for good luck

www.alifethroughbooks.wordpress.com

 

Okay guys, thanks for hanging in there with me. And to the nominees, remember, it’s about networking.

After the Book Fair, 3-28-15

So this past weekend was my first book fair, but before I tell you how it went, let me tell you how I thought it had a real possibility of going. When it comes to work or business, I worry about the things that can go bad and let the things that go good, care for themselves. It’s a habit. For me it’s a way of making sure that everything goes as well as it should, but also, it lends itself to a sense of negativity that can be perceived by those around me as a downer. Truth be told, it isn’t a downer, it’s paranoia, and my greatest fear was that I wouldn’t sell a single book.

Now for the update. The morning drive to the venue couldn’t be better, weather-wise. It’s Florida, in March, need I say more? But for me none of that mattered, the car could breakdown, there could be a traffic accident, there could be an overzealous highway patrolman, or a simple flat tire. Any one, or combination of all, could and probably would, cause my first public appearance as a published author, to be ruined.

The forty-five minute journey took over an hour due to the fact that on a Saturday morning, when traffic should be light, it wasn’t. Good thing I thought about that and left a few minutes early. Unfortunately, each and every traffic signal along the way had a fully functional L. Davyd Pollack approach detector, which timed the switch from green to red in a perfectly choreographed display of delay. Fortunately, I worried about that too and my early departure time accounted for it. The entire trip was long and excruciating, and made even longer by the longest train on record that reached the railroad crossing just in time to light the flashing stop signals, and drop the barricade bars right in front of me. I did not account for that but alas; we arrived right on time, maybe five minutes later than planned but as they say, good enough for government work.

Then it was time for us to set up the display table and it all went very smoothly, which should have been a hint of impending doom. With a place for everything and everything in its place, the display table looked great, inviting, but not intimidating. When I looked at it from the front, I thought to myself, this is a table I would buy a book from. I was relieved—but my relief was fleeting. When I originally registered for the book fair, I specifically inquired about access to electric. Part of my presentation was to have my Kindle ready and waiting to show off my website/blog, and how easy it is to buy my books online. I was assured that there would be access to power and to my great surprise, there was. Only one problem, the access was twenty feet away and the extension cord that I brought just in case access to electric wasn’t as accessible as advertized, was only fifteen feet long. And the downward spiral begins.

However, defeat was not to be snatched from victory so easily. Thanks to the help of fellow author, R. L. Austin and his six-foot multiple-plug extension cord, my power problem evaporated. Thank you R. L.

There I was, front and center sitting behind my first book fair display ever, ready to take the ultimate insult, the biggest slap in the face an author can experience. That being, not selling even one copy of the marvelous book I poured my heart and soul into for the past ten years. The fair opened at 10:00 a.m. and at first nothing, but what do you know, a few minutes later a customer approached. I was nervous, real nervous and my presentation was a little stilted, and then, the customer nodded and moved on. It was okay though, first time jitters and all. Being in sales (one of my real life jobs), I knew there would be more chances to screw up and moments later, there were.

Shortly after, another potential fan walked up and heard a more polished version of my spiel, then pulled out his wallet and bought. I don’t know for sure, and of course, I can’t prove it, but I think there’s an excellent chance that I made the first sale of the book fair. My greatest fear evaporated just as easily as my power problem. A few minutes after that, I think I may have made the second sale of the book fair. And guess what. I sold the second book to that poor gentleman who had to endure my stumbling and stilted first pitch. He walked around to all the tables and after giving everyone a once over, came back to me. All I can say is WOW.

At this time, it should be pointed out that I’ve said us and we, not just me. This isn’t a mistake. My girlfriend Miranda, along with her son and daughter, joined me for this momentous opportunity to fail. The kids are still too young to stay home alone. Though I was fully aware that witnesses to my potential failure could only serve to make the experience worse, it was a good thing they were there. First and foremost, I wouldn’t be alone should I totally embarrass myself, and second, they were a great help. Her son took it upon himself to make sure that the sales force had all the promotional supplies they needed, and her daughter (the aforementioned sales force), used those supplies to the best of her ability. Thanks again guys.

In sales, there’s a saying and it goes something like this. He/she can sell ice to an Eskimo. Having been in sales, I knew many people who claimed they could. I never actually met anyone who had a snowball’s chance in H—Florida of doing so. That is, until yesterday. After watching Miranda’s daughter work, all I have to say is Eskimos, beware . . . and don’t forget to hide your wallets. By the way, it won’t do you any good. You’re going to buy the ice, but if you make it too easy, the poor child gets bored.

Suffice it to say that halfway through the fair, when many of my co-authors had already packed it in for the day, L. Davyd Pollack and his dedicated sales force (headed by mom Miranda, an excellent networker), were still closing deals and moving books. All in all, it was an outstanding success for me as a new author/publisher.

Now, to put things in perspective, I didn’t sell out. At the end of the day, I still had a box of books about two thirds of the way full, which I gladly had to load back into the car. Why gladly? Because, when I arrived that morning to set up the display table, I brought in two boxes, both full.

Thanks to everyone, especially all my new fans. I couldn’t have done it without you.