Friday, September 25, 2009

Focus, lad

The last few days have been characterized by my trademarked lack of focus, resulting in much frustration. Yesterday I spent hours trying to create a dynamic HTML menu for the Internet Review of Books's Archive section. It's hard, but it's possible. I have done them before. Does the web site need it? No. Are there more important things to do? Yes.

Then there is the book I promised to review for October that makes me want to beg for mercy. It's 400 pages (300 to go!) of excessive detail on—on—what’s the topic again? My pattern lately has been to pick up the book, read a couple of pages, despair at how many are left to go, then close the book and turn on my Kindle, where James Lee Burke and Tin Roof Blowdown await. But while murder in the bayou is more interesting, it inspires a degree of guilt that I'm getting nothing constructive done. So after a while I'll lift dumbbells or check my email or Google Janelle Moloney because she has the cutest damn smile on West Wing. Recently I interrupted my work to make a list of commitments I should try to get out of in the next year so there'll be more time to write. That list is around somewhere, and I should really stop writing and find it.

One thing worth dropping is Twitter. Yes, it probably has value, but it also sucks up a disproportionate amount of time. My Twitter friend list, or whatever it's called, is up around 750. I'd tweet now and then, always linking to my blog, but who is really paying any attention? The friend invitations would come in, and I'd always click the link to see if they looked legit. If so, we became friends. If not, I deleted the invitation. Each time was an interruption of a couple of minutes in my day, and they added up.

There's more to say, but first I have to check my email.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Email promotion for When Pigs Fly

Being fundamentally a cheapskate, I'd thought to bypass paid advertising for When Pigs Fly and Getting Lucky and see how far I could get with my own online efforts. As it turns out, that hasn't been very far. So Ifinally agreed to spend $349 through iUniverse on an email marketing campaign for When Pigs Fly, which includes sending out a half million emails over a two-week span. Not long ago, I saw that the book's ranking had sunk to 1,880,000. Could it go any lower? It did, down to 2,178,615.

Today iUniverse notified me that the first emails went out yesterday, so I checked my Amazon ranking again. It was 350,579, so something good is happening. Here is the ad:

Sunday, September 06, 2009

My life in six words

We did a short writing exercise at Mesilla Valley Writers yesterday, to write our autobiography in six words. Here's my life story:

Long time growing up. Old now.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

An advertising experiment

Sunset and pampas grass
reflected in my living-room window

My next big step in publicizing When Pigs Fly will be a large emailing by iUniverse. They'll write and send out 500,000 solicitations to people who have opted to receive them (no spam!) for a small fraction of a penny apiece. The sales percentage is a big unknown, of course, but a 1 percent return would be a handsome success and about one-fortieth of that would cover my costs. If this works well I'll naturally keep advertising and will extend the effort to Getting Lucky as well.

Meanwhile, I will continue the no-cost emailing of press releases in batches of a dozen or so, several times a week. It's labor-intensive to collect the email addresses, but my marketing effort will be mostly on line. As much as I love to travel, I am not especially interested in traveling on a book tour.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The press release

Lots of comments in Chinese have been showing up on this blog lately, and they certainly aren't about writing. Mind you, I think Taiwan is a fine country, but the clutter of the Chinese ideographs and the English-language gibberish make for an annoying cleanup chore. So I've taken the step of adding that word-verfication tool to see if it cuts down on spam.

Today I started emailing the iUniverse press releases for When Pigs Fly. Initially, they will go out to all the print media I can find in the Southwest, and then I'll move on from there. Will anyone pay attention? At least it's costing me nothing but what my dear old mom used to call elbow grease.