Experiments in Marketing

Following the advice that “Twitter sells books” I have been concentrating on developing marketing campaigns to advertise my short story collections available on Amazon Kindle.

There’s something for everyone: horror & dark fantasy and erotica (okay…smut! smutty smut!)

I’ve been trying to create enticing blurbs that highlight either the collection (as a whole) or individual stories within the collections to pull readers in. It has been working – to a degree. I’ve been making some money, but it’s still just pizza and beer money.

Therefore, I’d be interested in any feedback my readers care to offer as to whether you think my blurbs are interesting. Do they at least make you click on the links to look?

For example, to advertise my horror/dark fantasy collection, “Skin and Bones” I’ve tweeted the following pertaining to individual stories:

1) Ancient taboos collide in “Bones in the Fire”

2) Zombie insects? Find out in “Zombitos”

3) The buzzing sound died; maybe the bugs had busted his eardrum. Then he heard chewing noises inside his brain. (From “Zombitos”)

4) She did not stop the cat as it ran past, an eye clamped in its teeth. (From “Third”)

5) And then her husband melted away…a stream trickling, then rushing, toward the sea from whence he came. (From “The Fisherman’s Wife”)

From my horror/comedy/political satire “Zombies and Aliens” (note: may offend you depending on your political affiliation):

1) “A Congressional Zombie Love Story”

2) Republicans v Democrats: whose brains taste better? (From “Prop Z”)

From one of my erotica collections (“The Box Quadrilogy”) (Adults only!)

The “Box Lunch Cafe” smelled not of burgers or fries, but of women.

Of course, I try not to bombard my twitter followers with constant “buy my books!” tweets. That’s a huge turn off. I also tweet about my other interests: cats, more cats, travel, zombie fiction, animal rights, environmental protections, space exploration, and even more cats, etc.

If you’d like, you can also follow me on Twitter @TheFarPlaces

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…but I’ve been to Oklahoma

Is it just me or is it beginning to sound like a Three Dog Night song around here?

Here I am preparing for the Camino and…rats…gotta run out of town for a quick business trip. But I’m back now and, shaking off that disruption, trying to finish getting everything ready that I need for Spain with less than two weeks left. Got extra memory for the camera, got the European plug adapter, got a ready supply of allergy and migraine meds….but more items still to acquire. Not to mention this is the last week of my graduate “Introduction to Emergency Management” class with one more paper to write (yet another distraction from my Camino prep). Wish me luck getting back on track!

In the meantime, I did get to enjoy myself last week in Oklahoma where they have delicious barbecue, juicy steaks (Cattleman’s), damn good fried chicken (Eischen’s),beer served margarita-style (ChelinosChellenosand old-fashioned shrimp boils on back patios spiced up with a visit to a tornado shelter and a little 4-year-old running around chanting “Boomer Sooner, Texas Sucks” to taunt our colleagues from Texas. (Yes, her father put her up to that.)

I also got to have some more Twitter fun @TheFarPlaces with #PenguinAboutTown who – despite his diminutive stature – has developed a fondness for food, beer, and gambling.Penguin_gambling Fortunately he’s too short to drive my car otherwise I might wake up one morning to find it parked half on the sidewalk/half in the bushes, full of empty beer bottles and fast food wrappers. Some people think Penguin is adorable, some think his photo antics are cute, and others think his Twitter appearances are corny and/or dumb.

Penguin_Beer

So…if you’re one of the latter, brace yourself because, yes, Penguin will be going with me to Spain, where he will (temporarily) become #PinguinoEnEspana. (Please correct me if that is a wrong translation for #PenguinInSpain.)

(Sadly, Penguin does not have his own separate twitter feed; #PenguinAboutTown is too many characters long – violating Twitter naming rules, so he has to share mine @TheFarPlaces.) So, please, if you are so inclined, watch for Penguin on Twitter. I will also be blogging here on WordPress whenever I can.

I’d also like to thank those of you who have offered your comments and suggestions, and provided links to your blogs so I can get better prepared. I’m just catching up with myself now, so once I get that last paper written for Crisis Management, I will be checking out all of your helpful information. Thanks!!

Penguins, Sharks, Zombies, Shatner…and Crisis Management

Two weeks ago, I vowed to finish the first draft of my latest zombie short story. And I’m proud to say that I did! (I even finished it a day earlier than promised.)  It’s not quite ready for publication. I need to allow a little time for it to marinade…I suppose I could get gross and make some kind of zombie analogy about stewing in bodily fluids…but I’ll save that for the story. I did express concern to my first readers that the story wasn’t quite creepy or gruesome enough and was promptly informed “Oh, yes it is. Eeewww.”  What I need to work on, I’m told, is some character development. So I’ll be revisiting the story this coming weekend.

In the meantime I’ve started a new Twitter feed under @TheFarPlaces describing the adventures of #PenguinAboutTown. It was inspired by the humorous Twitter feed of @BronxZoosCobra and two of my fellow travelers in Baja during March who brought along stuffed critters for photo ops. So, last week when I needed to make a quick business trip to D.C., I took along Penguin (yes, my penguin’s name is Penguin) and took him barhopping.PenguinMetro Here he is hitching a ride on the D.C. Metro. After all, penguins can’t fly. They can’t buy Metro passes either (no pockets for money or credit cards) but I don’t think the station attendants noticed him sneaking on board tucked away in my bag.

Watch Twitter for future #PenguinAboutTown adventures.

And to further wake up my brain – dare I say celebrate the reawakening of my brain from the fog of migraines and pain killers – this week I am beginning a graduate certification program in Crisis Management. First class up: constitutional law. Yeah. Really. I’ll see if I survive the eight weeks without case law turning me into a zombie. Wish me luck. (But, hey, I might get inspiration for yet another zombie story! Do you think they’d let me write a case study of the zombie apocalypse?)

But before I delve into Marbury v. Madison and Jew Ho v. Williamson, etc., I gave my brain a break and thoroughly enjoyed “Sharknado 2: The Second One.” If you love cheesiness, this is the movie for you. I think it was even better than the first one. In the first 5-10 minutes alone they managed to parody “Airplane!” (itself a parody) and the classic “Twilight Zone” ‘Nightmare at 20,000 feet’ episode with William Shatner (who frequently parodies himself). I knew I was in for a great ride the moment I saw Robert Hays in the cockpit.