Travellogue

So, when I’m driving for 12 hours, things get kind of random. Here are a few snippets from our drive Tuesday.

I’ve been listening to country music for more than 30 years, but Red Solo Cup may be the most redneck song I have ever heard.

Bennett: Are we at Arkansas yet?
Me: Yep.
Bennett: Gramma and Papa’s Arkansas?
Me: There’s not another one.

It was cloudy and story all day. We hit the hard rain right after passing through Birmingham, which still hasn’t recovered from the tornado in April. So, as I’m driving through the pounding rain, I’m praying, watching the road, and scanning the sides of the road to see where the ditches were in case we needed to seek shelter. I was really glad to see the end of the rain.

At one point, I did see a round circle in the sky. At first glance, I thought it was the moon because it wasn’t bright. Then I realized that it was the sun behind a cloud.
Me: Look! It’s the sun, finally!
Jeffrey: Where? Did we pass it already?
Me: What? The sun? It’s the big round thing in the sky. Oh, well, never mind. It’s gone now.
Jeffrey: Oh, the sun. I thought you said the sign.

By the time we finally saw the sun for real, it was setting.

How To Get Me To Buy Your Book

As a reviewer, I have a lot of contact with authors. And they all want to sell their books. Obviously, when I review a book, I get it for free, which is part of the reason I started reviewing in the first place. But I do buy books from time to time, and now that I have a Kindle, I’m more likely to buy ebooks (as long as I keep winning Amazon gift cards). So how do I decide which books to buy?

I’ve seen articles written by authors, for authors with loads of great information. Now I’ll tell you what snags this reader. I’m nothing special, so if this works for me, it’s likely to work for others as well.

DON’T make all your content on social networks ads for your book. Put the link to your website or your Amazon author page in your profile. Then post links occasionally. If you’re not going to post anything else, then just posting once is sufficient. Why? What about the people who weren’t following when you posted the first ad/link? It may seem that advertising your book every few days would be fine. And it is, if you’re posting other content. Everything you post remains on your profile page. So, maybe your current followers don’t realize that you only post ads (not likely, but let’s assume); anytime a new or potential follower goes to your page, all they will see is a full page of ads. (This seems to be a bigger issue on Twitter than on Facebook.) Personally, I don’t follow those people unless we’re both part of a network in which I’ve committed to follow the authors.

DO let your potential readers get to know you. Post real content on your Facebook fan page and Twitter. If you’re not sure what kinds of things to say, lurk for a while. Become a fan of other authors’ fan pages. Follow other authors on Twitter. See what they’re saying. Then when you’re ready, engage with your followers, and those you’re following. I’ve bought books from several authors that I’ve met on Twitter because we’ve had fun conversations.

DO try giving away a free book or short story. Whether it’s on Amazon, Smashwords, or your website, it gives readers a way to see if they like your writing style. I’m more cautious about buying an ebook than a physical book, because I can’t give away or sell an ebook if I don’t like it. So I want to know what I’m getting. I recently downloaded a free book from Amazon and even though it wasn’t my usual kind of book and wasn’t something I would ever have paid for, I couldn’t put it down and had to know how it ended. It was also the first in a trilogy, so I went straight to Amazon and bought the other two books. Which leads to the next item.

DON’T make your free book a novel in a series unless it’s the first book. Don’t drop me into the middle of a series. A short story within a series usually works well, but lately I’ve seen several novels listed for free. One was the 12th in a series. That’s a fabulous gift from an author to his fans, but not a good way to grab new readers.

DON’T treat social networks as your personal marketing channel. I don’t mean not to use them them for marketing; I use Facebook and Twitter to market my blogs. I’ll use Google+ if I can ever figure it out. But I also use networks to meet people, share information, and occasionally have silly conversations. Everyone else is there for the same reason. They’re called SOCIAL networks for a reason. Followers are not there for you to fling ads at every hour.

DO treat others with respect. You certainly don’t have to agree with everyone, but don’t be rude. That’s a quick way to lose followers (and your potential buyers).

I hope this list helps you to get an idea of what the reader wants. Kind of like your own personal focus group. Good luck!

*CLOSED* “Make It Mine” Monday – The Corruptible Book Giveaway

I announced yesterday that, because poll didn’t seem to appeal to readers, I would just select the books myself. I also posted that this week’s book would be The Corruptible. So I find it highly amusing that after both of those posts, one person voted for The Corruptible in the waning hours of the poll. Good to see someone shares my quirky sense of humor. (I guess if you didn’t, though, you wouldn’t be reading this blog…)

So, to enter to win an ARC of The Corruptible by Mark Mynheir, just fill out the form below. You can read my review here.

You can get additional entries by

+1 Sharing on Facebook
+1 Tweeting about the giveaway
You can easily do both things right from this post, using the buttons at the bottom of the post. (To get the link for the fb post or tweet, just click on the time stamp below your post.)
 
Entry will close at 11:59 PM EST, Friday, November 25, 2011. Winner will be chosen using www.randomizer.org and will be notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to reply to claim the book. For more information, see the “Make It Mine” Monday page. Sorry, US only.

Sunday Summary

Recap of last week
Reviews
Doodling┬á(Which is in the running for the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards in the Humor category. It’s only $0.99. Voting ends tonight. Vote, then go buy it, or buy it first, but just go vote! Please.)

Giveaways
“Make It Mine” Monday winner of jesus freakz + buddha punx – Ed. N

The Gratitude Giveaways Hop is still on until November 27. Actually, I’ll be travelling all day on the 28th, so I’ll be unable to close the contest Monday morning. So you’ll really have an extra day to enter to win The Help. Which is an excellent book, for which I still haven’t posted a review.

Sneak peek at next week
Reviews
The Help and as many of the four other “read” books on my list as I can get to this week. I’ll be out of town, so it’ll be touch-and-go. We’ll see what happens.

Giveaways
“Make It Mine” Monday – I will no longer post a poll each week. I’ll just pick at book at random. This week’s book will be an ARC of The Corruptible by Mark Mynheir. This week’s poll is still up for a few hours if you want to go vote just because you still can. I will take votes into consideration when picking the book.

Discontinuing the Giveaway Poll

I’m getting more visitors and more followers every month (thank you!), but the number of people voting for the weekly book giveaway is going down. The idea to give away the books only came to me after I had been reviewing for a while and had a big stack of books piling up, so giving them away along with the review wasn’t really an option by that point. I thought it would be fun to let my readers decide which book they wanted to win, so I started posting the poll every week. Since readers aren’t voting, though, this obviously isn’t appealing to anyone so we’re going to switch things around. (Actually, one person voted this week, but removed his or her votes midweek for some reason.)

So unless I get an overwhelming response that says otherwise (and I can’t imagine why I would; see above), I’ll just start selecting the weekly book at random, save myself a few minutes every week posting the poll, and free up some space on the sidebar.

What Would Happen If Glass Turned Back Into Sand?

Jeffrey: Does glass turn back in to sand when it gets really cold?
Me: No.
Jeffrey: Too bad. That would be really cool. And kind of annoying. If it got really cold outside and all your windows turned into sand, your house would be full of sand and you’d be cold.

Jeffrey built a Lego man that he named “Lego Jeffrey”. I kept hearing really annoying noises from the other room, so I told Jeffrey to stop.
Jeffrey: It wasn’t me. It was Lego Jeffrey.
Me: Lego Jeffrey can’t make noises. It was you. Stop.
Bennett: Mama, you’re offending Lego Jeppy.
(I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. And he’s only *3*.)

Bennett is just starting to build Lego stuff on his own rather than asking Jeffrey or me to build something for him. On one hand, he hasn’t completely figured out that there are a finite number of Legos in the house because he thinks we can build everything in the little books all at the same time. On the other, he seems to understand it to some degree because he keeps taking Jeffrey’s creations apart to get the pieces he needs for his own buildings. We continue to have the “if you build it, you may take it apart; if Jeffrey builds it, you have to ask for permission to take it apart” discussion. Several times a day. Last night Bennett built an “amblance”, complete with a blue “siren” on top. If the siren is removed, the amblance will crash. This morning, he asked me to build him a “doctor pointment” (doctor’s office) to go with his amblance. He wasn’t pleased when I told him we didn’t have enough pieces to build something else that big unless we took another building apart. So he’s working that himself.

The yellow and black pieces are very important, but I’m not sure why.