Marketing ME! ME! ME!

 

Actually, I’m not going to market myself here – this very post. This is about marketing in general. And marketing via Blogs in particular.

OK, it is about me, and tonight’s Big, Stupid Question: do I need all these silly blogs that I rarely update anyway? If you care about those blogs, I’ll list them at the end, but first, what other people think – because that’s really kinda the point of the internet.

Julie Neidlinger of the The Coschedule Blog has this advice:

Multiple blogs, in the right circumstances, are a powerful tool that can energize your writing and your blogging success. But multiple blogs, in the wrong circumstances, are devastating to your blogging efforts.

CoscheduleBlog basically exists to sell an app, but they have put an admirable amount of thought into the content.

http://coschedule.com/blog/multiple-blogs/

 

Darren Rowse of Problogger makes me feel like a nose-picking amatuer with his talk of diversification strategies and workflow optimization.

While you do need to be careful of spreading yourself too thinly (more on this below) multiple blogs has been very beneficial for me and have been one of the main reasons for my own growth of income over the past three years.

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/03/17/starting-multiple-blogs/

Blog Tyrant is more blunt:

Well, to me it seems like the most successful bloggers are ones that focus in on a very specific niche and approach that niche in a way that is really distinctive. {emphasis his}

http://www.blogtyrant.com/one-multi-topic-blog-vs-multiple-blogs-with-a-single-topic/

Blog Tyrant is secretive about his identity – except that he’s not. But it takes four clicks and counting to get to it, and I can’t be bothered. If you want your name cited, use a by-line.

Elegant Themes lists their favorite WordPress management apps.

https://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/tips-tricks/how-to-manage-multiple-wordpress-websites-effectively

It’s old (2014) and I don’t use any of these, but I might. So there it is.

 

5 years ago, Jennifer Mattern was where I’d like to be five years from now. AllIndieWriters is one of several sites she runs (ran? UPDATE: she still has a lot of them).

It sounds like a lot, but when you’re highly organized you can make it work in the long run.

http://allindiewriters.com/when-it-makes-sense-to-have-multiple-blogs/

 

Of more general interest:

Entrepreneur  reposted a good infographic  on optimizing social media:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235236?utm_source=Social&utm_medium=Sharebar&utm_campaign=Sumome_share

And Digital World reposted another good infograpic  on the psychology of color.

http://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2013/08/how-colors-influence-people-psychology.html

POSTSCRIPT:

For my reference as much as anyone else’s – these are my blogs that currently exist:

This one.

Are We Lost Yet

http://trekalong.com/arewelostyet/

A blog about hiking and writing hiking guides, focusing on the Arizona hikes I have written about in my guidebooks and elsewhere.

Curious Continuity

https://curiouscontinuity.wordpress.com/

This is the support blog/website for Curious Continuity, which covers the time travel, time travel fiction, and how the past and the future inform each other.

Fantastical History

https://fantasticalhistory.wordpress.com/

Fantastical History covers the intersection of history and myth, and how this informs popular fiction and role-playing games (including my own).

Go Action Fun Time

https://sites.google.com/site/goactionfuntime/

Not a blog, but a wki-style draft of rules and background material for the RPG of the same name. Probably going to get it’s own WP blog eventually.

Notes from the Meeting

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/tpadegimas

My masthead blog on Tumblr.

Also includes echo blogs of

The 64

https://the64.wordpress.com/

A blog about my WIP of the same title.

https://padegimas.wordpress.com/current-fiction-project/the-sixty-four/

 

Now you know.

My weird book contract dillema

So I entered my space opera novel (one of 64) in a contest and placed – I guess. Anyway, I “won” a publishing contract with the publisher, a small outfit that does mostly e-books (that I will decline to name at the moment). It is a surprisingly hard decision whether to sign t or not. So if you have a moment, follow me while I puzzle out the problem.

There’s no out of pocket for me. The Publisher covers or provides editing, cover art, printing and the like.

They are not asking for all rights, just license to publish.

There is zero advance.

The royalty rates are at the low end of acceptable, but acceptable.

I am required to complete their 3 month marketing academy (In lieu of an advance, they claim).

I would be required to establish a website that they approve, at my expense.

They want me to cut down from 130k to 110k words.

These guys are small, but they are not a vanity press. The money flows (or at least trickles)  in the right direction. I am resigned that no matter where I go with this, I will not see a sizable advance, and I will be called upon to do the bulk if not the entirety of the marketing work.

PRO’s

  • I could have a book out by this time next year.
  • It would be from an actual publisher that is not myself.
  • This offer is in my hands, right now. All other opportunities currently exist only in my mind.
  • I might actually learn something in their class.

CON’s

  • I’ve never heard of these guys, and likely, neither have you.
  • The contract is not as clear as I would prefer about which rights I am granting.
  • 20k words is about four full chapters, or all references to a major character. The plot has a lot of moving, interlocking parts.
  • I don’t mind putting together a website. I  mind getting someone to sign off on it that isn’t paying for it.
  • No sensible adult mistakes a required class for payment.
  • This is a small pond when I honestly think I could make it in the open ocean.
  • I could write a lot of fun books using this universe, unless I somehow lose control of it all right here.

There are logistical benefits to having a decision by Monday. I will update as thoughts occur.

UPDATE: This thread continues in my other blog “One of 64” (who would have seen that coming?)

 

http://the64.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/winning-a-contest-brings-up-red-flags/

 

Now you know.

 

Writing down goals about writing

What follows is mostly for my reference, though you are welcome to read it, of course.

 

They say the first step to meeting goals is to write them down. In an ideal world, I’d have 200-500 words of blogging every night. This would do a few things:

q      More blogs = more exposure. Regular blogs have higher readership.

q      Cross referencing = cross marketing.

q      Writing regular blogs makes you better at … writing blogs.

 

So I’m going to start doing that. There. I wrote it down, thus doubling my chance of success (from 7% to 14%!)

I’m not proposing this is the key to success and happiness here. In the final accounting a blog is still just a blog – somewhere between a newspaper column and a diary entry. There’s a limit to the audience interested in the details of my life and how that colors my perceptions.

This is the schedule I have in my head:

 

Monday: Fiction marketing or WHWL. There may come a day – ideally by the end of the year, when there is a blog or two relevant to my published fiction. Right now I have no product ready to go – so this day is still open.

Tuesday:  Non-fiction proposal day. That means query letters – so on that day my regular readers can take a break.

Wednesday: Are We Lost Yet?

Thursday: Writing Made Visible

Friday: Who the hell reads a blog on a Friday night? I’m taking that night off.

Weekend: Silly Penguin

 

My day job still comes first. If I work more than 10 hours in a day – I ain’t likely to blog when I get home. So it goes.

The goal for this blog, then, is shorter and more frequent posts – daily, but at least 3x/week.

That’s the goal.

 

 

Now you know.

CopperCon 31 and a few other lessons

First – I’ve actually updated other blogs.

Are we lost yet profiles Elden Springs and my upcoming book signing / workshop.

DIRECT LINK TO THE REI EVENT

And at Writing Made Visible, there are some reposts about the accelerating sales of  e-books.

Small cons are great – because you can actually talk to people!

Buy some light groceries and keep them in the hotel room.

The art carries the story in a comic book (or graphic novel, or any variant). Words only get what little space is left over, so every word has to count. No small talk.

There is no standard for comic book scripts. Unless you’re writing for Dark Horse Comics. Their format is here.

Marketing (or anything else) via social media – a few rules:

1) Be social first! Pitch your crap second. The other way around just gets you deleted.

2) If you’re not comfortable with the format, don’t use it. You’ll likely suck at it anyway.

3) If you’re marketing yourself as a writer – write well. Spells words correctly.

4) No amount of social media presence will make up for a shoddy product.

The current estimate is that half of all star systems have planets, and the average may be 1-10 planets per star.

We find an awful lot of “Hot Jupiters” – gas giants closely orbiting a star – which goes against our model of how solar systems form. We know why we keep finding them – they are relatively easy to spot. We have no idea why they would exist at all.

Planets orbiting pulsars are very easy to find, even as small as the Earth. But the pulsar’s radiation makes life pretty much impossible.

Piratey sword-fighting was all about shorter movements with shorter swords (crowded ships and all).  And footwork – you live or die by footwork.

I’m over adapting anything to D20. It’s no longer supported for 3.5, and I have no urge to learn 4.0. I’m pushing forward with the game. Amen.

I’m thinking about writing it in Tiddlywiki. Seriously.

There might be a separate blog for that later on.

Finally New Scientist looks into the quantum-mechanics of human thought.

Now you know.

Finally coming up for air

Cause this blog isn’t dead. It’s just for the first time in 3 weeks, I’ve been able to come up for air. Haven’t been busy with one big thing. Oh no. A bunch of little things:

* swapped rooms in the house. My bedroom is now where the “family room” was. The “Office/lounge” is now where the bedroom was. The bedroom is functional. The O/L, where I now sit, not so much.

* Negotiated and finally signed a contract for Five Star Hikes in Flagstaff and Sedona and started work on that.

* Worked a selection of big, medium and small shows for Rhino. Then caught up with the install projects I had been ignoring because of those shows.

* Pushed forward on the space opera.

* Wrote a few articles for Fitness Plus

* Watched the Suns run over the Portland Trailblazers

* and played some Dungeons and Dragons.

I also kept falling asleep on the couch.

Did we learn things? Yeah

My house to the “Y” in Sedona is about 2 hours flat.

There is room in the market for a good hiking guide for Sedona and Flagstaff.

My old Garmin E-trex legend does not interface cleanly with the new Garmin Basecamp freeware. I need to upgrade. This is why I fear progress.

European power is all screwed up because of the French. (Of course, my source was British roadies).

There’s a swampy little lake near Casa Grande called Picacho Reservoir. And that’s about all I could learn about it. With 350 words t cover 20 lakes, that was all I needed to know about it.

This year’s  Suns squad is the best since 2004.

Good characters make even poorly designed systems (like 2nd AD&D) fun anyway.

Yeah, we’ll do some brazen wonk about immigration, but another night, ok?

Meanwhile, some links:

Strange Horizons gathers experts on zombies

What you always suspected, Jason Fried confirms: Why You Can’t Work at Work

Gamepocalypse chronicles how our culture is turning into one big collection of games

Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual is fairly close to how I’d like to present my space opera (except my subject is less satirical, and would be carved into bigger chunks).

And finally:

Res Ipsa Loquitor.

Now You Know.

Do the work or take your chances

I’m a bit deflated at the moment. A bid I worked pretty hard to research and get right will go largely for naught because some out-of-town outfit has underbid us by half based (presumably) solely on the bid documents, which I know to be incomplete and on occasion contradictory.

This is called “buying a job” and there’s no defense against it unless you are also willing to take a loss on the project.

Here’s my policy: $0 is still better than the -$X you lose bidding a job for less than your cost.

The end client – an arm of the county government – will have no choice but to accept the lowest bid. Good luck with that.

I have added a new post to Writing Made Visible about e-books – a subject of much discussion on this site as well. In particular, let’s go back to Mike Stackpole’s Authors Can Be Stupid series of blogs:

This is from the yesterday’s addition to that series: …A Brief Note on Self-Publishing – which attempts to summarize the previous eight posts:

I do not believe that even digital self-publishing is easy. I believe it is simple, and there is a world of difference between those two things. Establishing your own business is hard work. If you don’t put that work in, you will not reap the benefits of your business, pure and simple.

At this writing, Mike (he’s local – we’ve met) is still going on about this.

Now that we basically know that autism is unrelated to vaccination, a bigger, better study links the condition to older parents. But before you panic – here’s some perspective:

“This study does not say advanced mother or father age causes autism,” [Study co-author Shanie F] Dawson tells WebMD. “This is one risk factor among many factors that contribute. In the majority of cases, we are not going to find that any one factor accounts for any individual child’s autism. Parental age is just one risk factor that is interacting with other genetic and environmental factors that lead to a child developing autism.”

I have my 2010 Writer’s Market! (Happy birthday to me!) Among the discoveries from my initial skimming of the pages: there seem to be moire markets fro graphic novels than middle-grade fantasy novels. Here I sit with a head full of ideas that would work well (or better) in that format, and all I have to show for it are words – dull old-fashioned words.

OK, I’m 95% there in terms of pro-quality copy (don’t judge by this blog – I never do a second draft here). I’m only 65% there in terms of  pro-quality illustration – and I am woefully under-equipped. While I’m sure I have the talent to get to 75%;  I’m not certain I have the talent to get to 90% – which is the threshold to start asking for money.

That leaves me with two choices:

  1. Find reliable collaborator (which is a huge challenge – especially among middle-aged adults with lives and jobs. A Collaboration involves 2-3 times the time commitment vs just banging the thing out by yourself.)
  2. Become a better artist. I’m not certain if my talent ceiuling goes high enough, but I won’t know by guessing. So I’m going to commit to drawing something every day – and re-educating myself in the craft. The we shall see.

Meanwhile, if you are a competent artist withtime on your hands – Boy do I have some ideas for you.

And I’m hanging onto my notes about that job. The whole project is swarming with free-floating chunks of magical thinking and when those pieces collide with reality, doors may open unexpectedly.

Now you know.

About damn time…

I promised some notes for the Thursday night folks, and they’re here, and you don’t have to skip down that far…

2nd edition AD&D came out when Excel was still almost strictly an accountants tool. By the time the RPG community discovred it, we had all collectively (and pretty much at the insistence of Wizards of the Coast) moved on to 3rd edition+. Consequently, there are no good Excel character sheets out there for ADD2. I spent longer researching this than any other item below (except the car keys).

The correct tire size for a 2006 Chevy Equinox 2WD LT with 16″ rims is: P23565R16 – which is the size of the tires in the front. It was not the size of the tires in the back which were both smaller and (consequently) balder than the front.  Or they were. $230 later and all the tires match – two of which are new. Related: 20 minutes on the internet saved me $30. Not a bad return.

The keys for that Equinox are either:

  • Within 100 feet of N33d 35.478   W 110d 36.618 (the campsite where I lost my keys) OR
  • Somewhere within the Equinox that can only be reached by tools.

Leaving an extra set of keys with your loving spouse will save you several hundred dolllars. The tank of gas and dinner for the in-laws involved in having them delivered was, then, pennies on the dollar.

2006 Chevy Equinox is the most frequent search term that leads to this site. But let’s talk about writing.

I have already written a little primer on how to seek and query literary agents: Quick & Dirty guide to finding agents

Writer’s Market and/or WritersMarket.com is the industry standard for finding an outlet for non-fiction articles and/pr short fiction (and basically anything else that’s not a book. The physical book is more complete, but tends to get out of date by the end of the year. The website (which requires subscription) has gotten mixed reviews for functionality. I’m about to subscribe myself – I’ll let you know.

[The book I linked to includes a free sub to the website.]

Meanwhile, freelancewriting.com has a less exhaustive but free listing of writer’s guidelines for various publications

Nerd-pron: Attack Vector Tactical

William Gibson’s Neuromancer

Allen Ginsberg’s Howl

Looking for Thai-American magazine markets leads you to Writer’s Market or site in Thai.

If you can re-map you keyboard from Windows – I dunno how. (And I looked). So there’s I failed to learn. Sigh.

I’ve been traveling, which is always full of lessons, but that will wait for next post – which will be sooner than 9 days.

Now You Know