Alley Cats to a T-Bone

In my last couple of posts, I tried to illustrate why it’s so hard for an author to make a living by writing. Hopefully, I succeeded in that endeavor so that this post will be well received. The truth is, as authors, we’re just way too close to our work to effectively sell it. That’s why we have a hard time doing things like writing blurbs and synopses.

Quite frankly, I’m probably like 99.9% of all other authors who can’t figure out why it’s so hard to get the word out. Hell, all you have to do to find a dozen alley cats is throw a day old T-Bone out the window an viola, cats. I may not know much, but I’m pretty sure my fictional musings are better than a leftover T-Bone.

At least one can hope.

Anyway, when it comes to marketing I was stumped once again with the same old question. What else can a writer do to get the word out? So, I enlisted the help of Miranda. For those who don’t know, she’s my girlfriend, my brown-eyed girl, capable of seeing past my obstacle of close proximity (reference my last two posts).

When I asked her what she thought I should do, she responded like someone tasked with pointing out an elephant in the room. She said, “Why don’t you write an interactive post. People like getting involved and this way you can enlist the help of others too.” The not just me implication sunk in later.

Needless to say, my proximity disability immediately kicked in and it took her another half hour to explain why this was a good idea. I’m still skeptical but here it goes. A big part of marketing is getting the word out, and to that end, I put forward this challenge:

To all my followers (Blog, FB, Twitter),

While you are reconnecting with family and friends as the holidays approach, take a moment to mention this new novelist you came across. His name is L. Davyd Pollack and he has some interesting things to say. Check out his website and blog. He’s also on FB and Twitter.

Notice that I didn’t say anything about buying a book. The challenge here is to get the word out to at least ten new followers in all fifty states (not 57, I’m not greedy). That’s it, ten new followers in each of these United States. And for the new followers, make sure to touch base with a post to let me know your home state.

Thank you all for your help and hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season.

BTW, and this is not part of the challenge, but if any of my followers are looking for a gift that their special someone doesn’t already have, try one of my books  . . . Just saying.

Happy Holidays to all,

Davyd

 

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. . . 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.

The Day After Yesterday

Today is the day after yesterday, which turned out to be a very significant day for me. Why? Because three very important things happened to me. One has nothing to do with writing and so I’ll leave it for another time. The other two . . . we can talk about.

It’s been almost a month since I published “Positives & Negatives, Tricycles & Pancakes” and early signs are looking—I don’t want to jinx it. However marketing, which is something writers have to do, not want to do, isn’t easy and it takes a lot of work. As part of my marketing plan, I’ve become active in social media. I know. In social media marketing you never admit that you’re doing it, marketing that is, it’s a cardinal sin. But the truth be told, for a one-man show like me, marketing is a part of my life and if I didn’t talk about it, I wouldn’t be honest. I’m not perfect, but I try to be honest. At least my social media marketing isn’t as gratuitous as say, Doubleday or Penguin. They and others like them all have active Facebook/Twitter campaigns. But honestly, who among us really thinks they care a hill of beans about what our children brought home from school today? Unless of course, it was one of their books.

This blog, to a much smaller extent than other social media, is still a part of my overall introduction to the world and therefore, helps with marketing. But in the scheme of things, it differs from Facebook and Twitter in some important ways because here, it’s all about me. I say what I want, for as long as I want, and it’s up to you whether or not someone reads it. Just like book sales. If I write a book and publish it, you, the reading public are the ones who decide if anyone will actually buy it. No one is holding a gun to your head.

As a writer/publisher (I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this blog then you are one of the tribe or thinking about it), you know people who have read your work, or better yet, purchased and read your work. Of these, you’ve probably asked them at one time or another, what they thought. Maybe they liked it, maybe not, and maybe they had some constructive criticism; we’ll stay away from the jealous destructive criticism. You ask, they tell, and some of it is helpful and a lot of it is not. But there’s a fundamental problem with the entire process. The people critiquing your work know you and their underlying agenda is usually not to hurt your feelings, so they lie. No, that’s too harsh—they soften the truth.

That’s why social media marketing has some problems. Most of the people you contact in the beginning and for a long time after, know you in some way. If I put on my publisher’s hat and start to think like a businessman, then I have to ask an important question. Sure, you can sell a copy of your book to your coworker’s soon to be ex-boyfriend, but can you sell a book to Jane Doe living in Phoenix, AZ who doesn’t know you, your coworker, or her soon to be ex-boyfriend? The answer is. Who knows? Maybe.

I’m new at publishing and I’m new at blogging, though to me it seems entirely plausible that if you can get people to take time out of their busy day to read a post on your blog, you probably can get them to consider buying a book. But if you can motivate someone to not only read your blog, but afterward, leave you a positive comment, you might actually be on your way to finding something better than a sale—you might have a fan.

With that in mind, my blog has only been up for a short time but I was beginning to get concerned about the lack of comments. I had plenty of likes and my follower list was growing thanks to all of you, but comments, there weren’t any.

Yesterday, I finished what I was writing early because I got an earlier than normal start. With the extra time, I decided to work on my blog and when I signed in, lo and behold, there they were, my first comments. And to top it off, all three were positive. Thank you all very much. Yes, I know three comments aren’t thirty-three and hell, I may not get anymore. But the way I see it, it’s a start, and a sorely needed pat on the back. It’s lonely out here . . . all by my lonesome.

Needless to say, for anyone who might want to put in his or her two cents, don’t be shy. I’m not. I tell you what I think; it’s only fair that I hear what you think. Good or bad. By the way, you may have noticed that we only talked about one of the two writing related things that happened to me yesterday. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the other, negative comments.

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