Category Archives: Marketing books

Moving House…to another website

So long…

So, Facebook having royally screwed up my marketing plan by unfairly banning me from its sacred environs, I’ve had to come up with new avenues to bring the golden words to the public’s attention. The new plan will require me to move the copy I’ve posted here as *FREE READS* to other platforms.

And that will require me to delete said copy from Plain & Simple Press, in order to avoid duplication. The desirable platforms explicitly ask that contributions not appear elsewhere.

Truth to tell, it was highly iffy to publish each chapter as a blog post and then to merge them  into coherent books (Ella’s Story, If You’d Asked Me, and The Complete Writer), each in its own web page. I do not know whether Google has zapped me for doing this, but I expect if it hasn’t, it soon will.


It takes about two weeks for Google to register published copy as not published (so I’m told, anyway). So what I will do is begin taking copy down, a chapter or two each day, beginning today. Then about two weeks from the take-down date, I will re-post these chapters at Medium or at The Writing Cooperative. Gradually, then, all the content will eventually move to the new platform.

I’ll post announcements of these moves here and on Twitter — that is, I’ll let you know exactly when a given chapter-in-transit reappears at the new platform. If you want to follow me on Twitter, follow me as “Funny about Money,” not as “The Girls”: @FunnyAboutMoney

…au revoir

For the nonce, though, I will remove one or two chapters at a time, starting at the beginning of each book, on the days that I publish a new chapter for that book. For example, on Friday — that’s tomorrow, already! — I will post chapter 15 of The Complete Writer, and I will also remove TCW‘s first two posts from this blog, comprising chapters 1 & 2 and chapter 3. In 14 days, when those chapters begin to appear at the new site, most of the old content will be “disappeared” from this site. Since I’ll then be two weeks ahead of myself, after that I should be able to delete one chapter at a time until I run out of content.

The books will have to come down, too. I will remove them on Saturday, replacing the content on their respective pages with a description and an offer to share the content-in-progress in PDF format. So you have about a day and a half to download that content, if you care to do so.

This is going to create a huge hassle, and to the extent that this site has readers, it will undoubtedly cause a reader hemorrhage. I do know a number of people are following Ella’s Story, and I apologize to you for the inconvenience. I invite you to rejoin the story at its new venue.

And yes, if I could afford a lawyer you may be sure I would hire one. I’ve looked for a class action suit to join, but so far have found none. One report claims that 22,000 people have provably been banned from Facebook unfairly, but apparently that is not a large enough class to support a lawsuit. Too bad.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Medium has far more visibility than either Funny about Money or Plain & Simple Press. Apparently contributions appear on its front page briefly, giving you a shot at catching the attention of a reader or two. Ultimately this may turn out to be a good thing.

Meanwhile, it’s already resulted in some benefit in terms of fleeing the cobra’s stare: this past week instead of plopping down in front of the computer and fooling around with Facebook every damn morning, I’ve turned out with the dogs at dawn for a mile-long run. As of today, that comes to eight (8!!) health-enhancing miles of running.

Clearly, Facebook is not only bad for your nation’s body politick, it’s bad for your health. I can’t avoid Facebook’s unwitting (we hope) deconstruction of America’s democratic republic, but I sure can avoid letting it glue me to a computer screen until I turn into a cardiac invalid.


New Book a-Borning…

Okay, okay…let’s face it: I can’t resist writing things.

Selling them? Well…if I could sell, I’d be living high off the hog from proceeds of used car sales. Or some such.

Here’s what’s up: a new idea for a book combined with new determination to do a halfway decent job of selling it.

smoking-coverThe magnum opus: The Complete Writer: The Ultimate Guide to Writing, Publishing, and Living the Writer’s Life. It is, in a word, encyclopedic. The thing covers short form and long form, fiction and nonfiction, print and Web…you name it.

The marketing plan: Different.

My idea is not to try to market the book on Amazon at all. Well…it’ll have a presence in the form of a Kindle bookoid. If a few people buy it there, fine. Mostly, though, I’d like customers to buy the book direct from me: from this website.

But by and large the strategy will emphasize face-to-face marketing: presentations, seminars, dog-and-pony shows, radio shows, podcasts, interviews…whatEVER. When I go to speak to a group in person, I’ll bring a few hard copies to sell — and of course handouts with links to the Plain & Simple Press website. If an organization gives me a speaker’s fee, then its attendees (within reason) will get the book for free.

Paypal can be set up on a website to accept payment for digital and print orders. And it’s easy enough to download a Kindle or ePub book into your reading device — I’ll publish instructions to make this easy.

I’ll also sell hard copies, either in person or from Plain & Simple books. And I’ll try to peddle the thing to libraries.

There are a surprising number of venues for public speaking, including 87 gerjillion small business networking groups, whose members are constantly trolling for new blood in the form of speakers. Podcasts are pretty promising, too.

Before I actually make the thing available to the public, I’m going to do a little hustling up front. Make arrangements for speaking events, get on some podcasts, invite myself to radio shows, pitch stories or columns to business publications on tangentially related topics.

Ancillary to the project: I’m not getting in a big slobbering hurry to do this. I’m going to take my time figuring out what needs to be done, meeting and schmoozing with people, getting things set up in advance, planning give-aways, laying groundwork. Then when the thing finally goes online, a whole series of pitches will already be set up and ready to go. Instead of thrashing around trying to figure out what might work and how to do it, I’ll have already figured that out. And the groundwork will be laid.

Ideally, one would hire a marketing agent. Alas, though, I can’t afford such a creature. And…it’s easy enough to see that fellow scribblers in the West Valley Writers Workshop — a marketing group for writers — are making sales on their own, without benefit of expensive hired guns.

A slower pace and a more carefully considered, focused strategy will make it easier to handle the little crises that naturally arise every time you try to do anything you want to do (as opposed to all the things you have to do). Whether or not it sells books, that’s going to make life a lot easier.


AH HAH! Moment: A new use for indexes

So here I am, dragging through the index for 420 pages of the new book, The Complete Writer.

On the side, I index books for a living. I’ve gotten pretty good at it over the past several years. But must admit: indexing makes my eyes glaze over.

After I’d compiled this index, a previously unnoticed pagination error surfaced in the content. This dork-up required me to rewrite the whole damn index — that would be SEVEN single-spaced pages in 10-point type and double columns.

Then as I was contemplating the result, it occurred to me that the example I’d used for the chapter on how to write sex scenes was so tame that… wasn’t really a sex scene. I’d tried to be nicey-nice, not wanting to offend anyone’s dainty sensibilities. Bad idea: offend no one, accomplish nothing. So I lifted a livelier scene from one of the Roberta Stuart books, a romp concocted by one of Camptown Races’ best writers. That changed the pagination again, from page 235 forward.


So now I had to rewrite the effing index again. It’s finally done, all the way from A for abstraction ladder to Z for Zinsser.

For writers: How to jump-start your creative engine when you're stuck

W… “How to Beat Writer’s Block”

As I got about into the R’s, it occurred to me an index to a book would serve nicely as an index to public speaking topics.


One of the plans for marketing this book entails doing presentations for groups of writers, students, and the like, at which I will offer folks a marvelous opportunity to buy the thing.

……..six-step strategy, 57-66

Et voilà! There’s a dog-&-pony show: “Six Steps to Revising Your Book”!

….Scams, 343-49

S...Six Scams to Avoid

S…”Six Scams to Avoid”

Yeah! “Avoid these Five Scams for Writers”!

Too, too good, isn’t it? Nowhere near as good as

….Sex scenes, writing, 343-49

Woo hoo! “How to Write Sizzling Sex Scenes!”

It gets better and better.

Well, come Thursday I have to give a presentation to a business group I belong to. Now’s my chance to start practicing these things! 😀 I think probably “Scams for Writers” would be better for this august bunch than, say, “Sizzling Sex Scenes.” Not that they wouldn’t enjoy contemplating that particular aspect of the writer’s art. Just that…well…I’d never hear the end of it from that bunch. 😀

So there you go, fellow scribblers. If you have a nonfiction book that’s substantial enough for an index, use the index as a source for public speaking topics. The index entries work a lot better for the purpose than does the table of contents, because they’re much more specific: better focused. And if your index is complete, it’ll point you right to the material you need to create a presentation.

S...How to Write Sizzling Sex Scenes

S…”How to Write Sizzling Sex Scenes”

Marketing: They have to know about it to buy it…

In my last little blurb, I touched briefly on the marketing conundrum. To return to that: I suspect the most important aspect of book publishing is marketing. You may have the greatest book in the history of Personkind. But if no one knows about it, no one will ever buy it. Readers have to know about it to buy it. And marketing is the way you help them to know about it.

So how can you go about this marketing stuff? From the vantage point of experience, here’s what I’d probably do now, if I were to start all over from Square One today:

Hire a Pro

A marketing person would be my first hire. That is where I would put most of my start-up money, and it’s also where I would invest the most effort in recruiting and personnel assessment. I would hire this person before doing anything else.

The woods are full of people who will tell you they can market books. Most of them haven’t the faintest. Some are so hungry, they will lie just to get the job, saying they understand how to engage this or that tool to attract readers and sell books. In addition, a lot of popular ideas about what strategies work are simply wrong, or are outdated.

Where do you find a paragon among book marketers? Ask everyone you can think of, in and out of book publishing.

Track down authors whose books resemble yours and that are selling well. Send each author an inquiry asking if they can recommend their marketer. Most will not respond, so you’ll need to send out quite a few queries. But sooner or later you’ll probably find someone who will refer you to their marketing agent.

Contact the local Public Relations Society of America chapter. This group’s members are working professionals in marketing and public relations. They have a jobs board and invite job postings from prospective employers. Be prepared to budget some money to post an ad and to hire someone for a gig that lasts long enough to produce results.

If there’s a publishers’ association in your state, along the lines of the New Mexico Book Association, attend a meeting and ask members for suggestions. Many of these groups are very active and include publishers and authors with successful track records.

Attend regional and national book fairs. Network actively and inquire among the people you meet to see if anyone can refer you to a good marketing agent.

Attend regional and national writers’ conferences. The larger, better established ones attract New York literary agents. These people do know effective marketers. They may (or may not) refer you. Nothing ventured: while you’re there, you can also ask authors who seem successful.

Budget a substantial amount of money to pay for marketing services and campaigns, which should begin before the book is published. In retrospect, it’s clear this is where the largest share of a publisher’s or author’s budget should go.

Hire a virtual assistant to handle the social media time suck

Although the effectiveness of social media marketing is, in my opinion, questionable, it cannot be neglected. And it is very time-consuming.

This is another task to which I would dedicate a fair slab of the budget.

You or an assistant should write blog posts every day having to do with subjects related to your books or your readers’ interests. Each of these needs to be optimized for and posted at Pinterest, and then you need to post each one at Facebook groups, on your Facebook business page and on your personal Facebook timeline, at Goodreads, on Twitter, at Google+, and to the extent appropriate, at LinkedIn.

Exclusive of the blogging, which you should be doing anyway, the ditzy social media tasks can easily soak up two hours a day. That’s two hours when you’re not writing, two hours that you’re not out on the town networking, two hours that you’re glued to the computer unable to exercise or take care of your family or read or think or do anything else. And two hours is a conservative estimate.

Unless you truly love passing your time on social media, hire someone else to do this stuff.

Crowd-fund or take out a business loan to pay these contractors

It’s always better to use someone else’s money than to throw your own down the drain. Platforms such as Kickstarter, Publishizer, and Unbound help fund and market your publishing project. Obviously, you have to share the revenues. But these outfits can generate revenues: a share of something is a lot better than a share of nothing.

Some such organizations function like publishers, but they seem to be more flexible than “traditional” publishing houses in terms of the kinds of books they’ll chance their money on.

Put books on Ingram right away

Ingram provides distribution services needed to circulate books to retailers, educators, and libraries. It offers a wide variety of marketing and fulfillment services, as well as a partnership with CreateSpace, a PoD service whose reviews are mixed but which is internationally known.

I would not use Ingram’s CreateSpace for printing, because I want more control over that process than you can get by working through a gigantic faceless corporation that outsources its jobs overseas. However, I would get my books into Ingram’s distribution system as quickly as possible.

Focus on person-to-person and business-to-business marketing

Early on, I discovered that the 30 Days/4 Months diet plan and cookbook sold easily and in gay abandon when I talked it up to groups in person. Campaigns to sell it on social media generate plenty of “likes” but not many sales.

Acquaintances made in writers’ and publishers’ groups report similar experiences. Almost everyone who is making any money on their books will tell you that speaking in front of groups and arranging author-signings and bookstore presentations sells more books than any amount of virtual jawing on social media.

The next stage of my marketing campaign will be heavy on presentations and in-person networking. If I could have started out knowing then what I know now, I would have hit the ground with personal presentations, radio talk-show interviews, podcasts, and YouTube videos.



Website Upgrade! And a Handy WordPress Hack

The Website Empire has been looking a little tattered around the edges. In our first three months, Camptown Races Press writers — we have four of ’em! — cranked out so many books it was hard to keep up in the production department. We were publishing eight to ten bookoids a month, many of them short-shorts, but several full-length books.

Meanwhile, here at Plain & Simple Press, I had broken my War & Peace-size magnum opus into 18 installments, all of them significantly longer than the Camptown Races “Racy Books.” Most of the Fire-Rider installments are novelette or novela length. Once these were online, I began collecting them in three “boxed sets,” Amazon’s ungainly way of presenting collections and anthologies. Two of those are now “published” (scare quotes: to my mind self-publishing on Amazon is more akin to “posting” than to real publishing, which entails many layers of quality control) and the last one is on the way.

That’s a lot to keep up with. I’d fallen behind with posting and describing Plain & Simple Press books, and just now I’m pretty far behind with Camptown Ladies Talk, too, largely because of a hectic holiday season complicated by the fine respiratory infection that’s going around — you’ve probably enjoyed that one, too; if you haven’t, brace yourself, for you soon will. 😉

So yesterday, the first day of relative peace in two or three weeks, I focused solely on tidying and updating the P&S website. I’d put off developing a “Books” page for Plain & Simple Press, largely because of an annoying WordPress characteristic that makes it damn near impossible to display Amazon “cover” images in an attractive and coherent way. Plug-ins notwithstanding, you can’t insert a table that lets you display two, three, or four images across a page, add links to them, and be confident the things will make any sense on a mobile device. “Gallery” plug-ins don’t seem to fill the bill, and plug-ins for tables require more technological expertise than I have or want to learn. This means you have to use the formatting tools available in your WP theme, which are very basic, indeed.

WordPress is programmed to “clean” your copy every time you save or publish…by deleting any extra line spaces you’ve entered. So if, say, you’d like to post a cover image flush left, enter a block of copy to the right of it, and then drop down three, four, or more lines to enter another flush-left image and block of copy below that one, you CAN’T. The extra line spaces are invariably deleted, leaving a gawdawful mess in place of your elegantly designed page.

What if, for example, you’d like entries in your Books page to look like this?

Dark Kindle LoResA doctor put Victoria Hay on blood pressure pills and told her he didn’t believe she could lose an excess twenty-two pounds. She proved him wrong. With a “real food” diet free of artificial and highly processed ingredients plus some mild exercise, just sixteen weeks she dropped thirty pounds. Her blood pressure returned to the normal range and stayed there.

Yes. Like that. Without this paragraph right here pulling up to the right of the image. With this paragraph right here STAYING PUT, dammit.

When you google up this issue in as many variations as you can imagine, you find that the techies at WordPress don’t even understand what their customers are talking about when users post questions at the annoying forums. They don’t seem to know what the user wants to do or why anyone would want an extra line space in a page of copy, and so they’re unable to offer any advice that makes anything like sense.

After what seemed like endless searching, I stumbled across this piece of code: <br style=”clear: both;” />

Enter this at the end of your paragraph while in “Text” mode et voilà! you get an ineradicable line break! NO MORE “CLEANING UP” the design you entered on purpose, not as some sort of mindless typo. You may have to enter it twice in order to make the added line break stay put.

Absent this nifty little snippet of code, you end up having to center images and then set descriptive copy flush left, like this:

The Travelers’ Tales
A Roberta Stuart Series

A huge storm over the East Coast shuts down air travel, leaving travelers stranded in airports all over the region. As evening turns to night, seven weary travelers are stuck in a waiting room, hoping to hear at any time that they can reboard their plane. Fighting boredom and frustration, one of them suggests they pass the time telling stories. The subject? Your most memorable quickie!

Presentation6 LoResOne Night in the Library

First to go is Aileen, the librarian whose mousy appearance is, as it develops, deceptive…


Presentation7-3 LoResScience Teacher

When the microscope repairman shows up at her laboratory door, Janice is surprised to find he’s there to fix something altogether different.


This is not awful. It’s just not what I want. IMHO, setting the descriptive type directly adjacent to a flush-left cover image is easier to read and more intuitive. And I hate the way the subhead under each image pulls up tight against the image’s bottom border.

<br style=”clear: both;” />  Try it. You’ll like it.

Social Media Guru Hates It…

LOL! You’ve heard of “Mikey Likes It”? Well, Darrell Hates It!


Yesterday Social Media Guru Darrell and I were studying the Blog and Social Media Empire, and I chanced to show him my latest little cheat-on-Twitter’s-140-words JPEG.

All very well and good, said he. But are you crazy? Only about a third of that shows on Twitter’s minuscule snapshot of your image. Don’t make Readers click on the image to see all the words. ’Cause they WON’T.

See this? says he.

Bonnie AdGet rid of paragraph 1. Then take “He stroked her cheek, the fine chestnut creature.” Add dot-dot-dot; videlicet, He stroked her cheek, the fine chestnut creature… Delete the rest of the graf.

Delete the next graf.

Keep “Yes. Two of them…” to the end of that paragraph.

Fix the remainder. Republish.


Well, point taken: Use your 140 characters to lead in with the first few words of the passage you want to quote in your marketing copy. Then use the fake-out-Twitter image to contain JUST enough content to cover the truncated view you get at first glance.

How do I hate Twitter?

Let me count the ways.

Twitter Mystification

Half my day was absorbed in the Twitter/Facebook Time Suck. Work started at 7 a.m. and went through until 12:30, when I had to leave to meet some friends for a prearranged get-together. Got home around 4:30.

At that point, I had to undo a mess the lawn guy had made in the garden when he repaired (thank goodness!!) the sprinkling system. This unplanned chore took until almost dark

What was on the schedule today? To begin creating covers for 15 new books. These need to be done by this time tomorrow night (it’s almost 8 p.m. now). I should start on that right now but am simply too tired to move. How exactly I’m going to get to twice as many covers as I planned to create tomorrow escapes my comprehension.

So basically what happened is that all of my productive time today was sucked away in Twitter. The outcome, to the extent that one can identify an outcome, was 22 incoming messages informing me of “favorites,” “retweets,” “direct messages” (most of them advertising the sender’s product or site), and new followers. That’s probably more than I’ve ever gotten in a single day. They really liked this little squib I posted, about reviews for the first three Fire-Rider bookoids :

5-star reviews LoRes

I’m having a very difficult time figuring out how social media are supposed to work, REALLY, as marketing tools. Or if they do. The fundamental problem behind that issue is that I don’t understand social media at all.


  • Why would anyone other than a kid spend time on something like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Periscope? Who other than a teenager or a nine-year-old has the time to diddle away on this stuff?
  • What are they seeking?
  • Who are these people? Are they in fact adults? Or are most of them teenagers and children?
  • What kind of people are they?
    • What do they do in their lives?
    • How do they have time to waste on social media?
  • What do social media provide that more focused, less trivial media do not provide?
  • What is one trying to accomplish when one engages a social medium?
    • Evidently it’s not a direct sale.
    • I understand the principle that the point is to lure people to your website. I don’t understand how that would happen, though, because going to other users’ websites is not something I ordinarily do myself — at least, not often.
  • How does one focus and deliver a message on, say, Twitter? Or any of them, really?
  • How does one avoid getting lost or drowned out in all that static?
  • Which one or two platforms works best for marketing books?

It’s all one huge mystification.

The Writing Life: Never Rains but It Pours

Have you ever noticed that weeks and even months can go by without much  happening, and then all of a sudden everything pops at once? It’s been like that around here.

Last week what should come in the door but…well…not one, not two, not three, not even four, but FIVE editing projects! I haven’t seen a lonely scribbler all summer long, and now here’s a mob of them at my door, just as I’m trying to crank 87 gerjillion Camptown Races Press books for the holiday season!

Speaking of the which, we’re about to promulgate our first Hallowe’en Treat: Janet and the Djinn, a whimsical story of a despairing jilted wife who answers a Craig’s List ad and gets a much more spirited romp than she expected. If you’d like an advance copy, come on over to Camptown Ladies Talk and grab one TODAY, before it hits Amazon. Sign up for the newsletter there (the form’s at the top of the page) and we’ll send you a .mobi or a PDF version ASAP.

Craig's List Janet LoResAdvance copy NOW!
Camptown Ladies Talk

So, back to the issue at hand: five freaking editorial projects when we’re trying to crank eight books this month, one of which I STILL HAVE TO FINISH WRITING!

Lordie! I haven’t been able to get to my own stuff in weeks. But I really couldn’t turn them down. We need the money to keep the business going. Not only do I have to cover the regular overhead — the Cox bill, the web hosting bill, the web wrangler’s bill, the association dues, the paper, the ink, the you-name-it — I now have four (maybe five, soon!) writers to pay. Pay for three of these projects, taken together, will keep us going another two months past the date I figured we’d go broke if we’re not turning a profit.


But last week I tried a plan that shows some serious promise: divide up the day in chunks, and devote each chunk to one (count it, 1) specific task. Don’t do anything else during that period, no matter how tempting or urgent it seems to be. Okay.

So, Friday went like this:

Three hours: Post Bobbi and the Biker. Publicize: Build widgets, manage Twitter and post tweets there, write blog posts, plan marketing campaign.
Three hours: Edit copy
Three hours: Write scene for The Taming of Bonnie (Ouija Lover II)

Et voilà! There’s a nine-hour day, right there.

I ended up spending another three hours cleaning up some very messy computer files and backing them up to a gigantic flash drive and then to the iMac. That was quite a job, but it’s going to make life a lot easier.

Saturday was blown away with a three-hour meeting of a writer’s group I habituate — plus the two hours it takes to get there and back. When I got home, I discovered the power had gone out while I was gone, and it had knocked the wireless off the air. Try as I might, I could NOT get the wireless back online. I called my son, who was pissed that I bothered him on the weekend and not very friendly about the prospect of having to help me fix it. Continued to struggle with it. Went to bed with no wireless Internet access.

Naturally. Just as I needed to push HARD to publicize our first Racy Book for Racy Readers.

Sunday morning I managed to get the system back online and then fly out the door to choir. Singing occupied the rest of the morning.

I fell in the choir loft when one of my platform sandals came loose and dropped off my foot. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt, other than a few mild aches, but it was embarrassing and disturbing. Got home and had a drink with lunch. And then another. And then didn’t feel a whole lot like writing or editing. Blew off the afternoon with a nap and reading someone else’s naughty book.

So spent all of Sunday evening, way into the night, editing copy.

Today I’m going to try the three/three/three schedule again. It’s already almost 7 a.m. and I haven’t had anything to eat or walked the dogs, but hope to squeeze those things in before sitting down to work. Started around 5 and I’ve updated the Twitter buzz, posted the FREE ADVANCECOPY OFFER(!!!!!) at Camptown Ladies Talk and here, answered comments at Funny about Money, built widgets here and at Ladies Talk, reviewed copy I wrote on Friday, checked a subcontractor’s edits and sent her work, with a bill, to the Chinese academic client, worked briefly on the Mongolian expat client’s work, fielded e-mail, and…not gotten a heck of a lot else done.

It’s starting to rain: that gets me out of having to walk the dogs — they hate rain. Thank goodness!

And so, to post this, plug it on Twitter, and slap up a post at Funny about Money. Then: breakfast. Then: real work.


Tweeting to the Choir

Have you, truthfully, ever been able to see the sense of Twitter as a marketing device? It’s unclear to me that it’s as effective as people claim.

Consistent tweeting adds up to an unholy time-suck — in the most vivid sense of the word: time sucked down the drain and wasted, washed out to sea. I’m willing to try it if it will help me link with people who might enjoy reading Camptown Races books and consequently might buy them. But Twitter crawls with independent publishers who “follow” each other and then post nothing but ads for their self-published bookoids.

Few of the tweeters I’ve followed seem ever to have heard of the “Give, Give, Give, Right-Hook” concept of social media marketing. Obsessively posting images of your latest Kindle book cover — over and over and over — does nothing to help your cause. It gives the reader no information, other than that you publish things in a given genre.

I’m left with questions:

If you don’t read, review, and tweet other writers’ books, why should other writers buy and read yours?
How many Twitter customers can be expected to bite on one’s advertisements?
Is building a readership of people who compete directly with you a wise use of Twitter?
What can one learn from this experience?

If you want me to care about you as an author, you need to persuade me that you’re a human being, not a marketing bot.

If you want me to buy, read, and review your book, you might consider buying and reading my book. And use Twitter to let me know about it. Use Twitter to let others know if you did or didn’t like my book. And why.

But figuring out how to make it work that way is a challenge. Maybe, one suspects, an insurmountable challenge.

Recently it dawned on me that rather than following people who are like oneself, the trick is to follow those who fit some other model. The Internet swims with lists of “Top NN People to Follow on Twitter.” I stumbled on one listing people and sites in the book industry. They’re not up-and-coming publishing companies or writers. They’ve arrived.

And what do you find when you read their tweets? Rarely do they flog their books on Twitter. Instead, they comment briefly about issues or post links to interesting articles or notices.

Clearly, if you want people to read you, you should bestir yourself to write something worth reading. In admanese, we might say something like “Don’t sell them; tell them.”





woo Hoo! Twitter Site ESTABLISHED!

Well, maybe not “established” in the Grand Sense, but certainly founded, started, more than a twinkle in its mommy’s eye.

I’m delighted to say I finally figured out how to create a Twitter page for the Camptown Ladies, those chatty souls who soon will be talking up a storm about some very lively novelettes. Their Twitter handle is @RacyLadies, and their profile page there is at

Please do check them out, and follow them on Twitter!

For reasons I can’t fully explain, this whole process of launching our enterprise on social media has given me the whim-whams in the big way. It’s been irrationally stressful. But why?

Primarily, I suppose, it’s that I’ve become exponentially less techie than I was when I was a young thing. Believe it or not, back in AOL days, when IBM and Xerox dominated the PC market, I was an early adopter of everything. I learned every piece of software that was even remotely relevant to my work or my interests — in EXTREME believe-it-or-not, once I even interviewed for a job as a software reviewer.

Over time, though, my interests shifted away from things technological. Even though I developed the first online courses in my campus’s College of Liberal Arts, the teaching demands and then the editing work absorbed so much time and attention that I grew increasingly disconnected from things high-tech. And as you know, once disconnected from this stuff, it’s almost impossible to reconnect.

Then we have the fact that when it comes to things “social,” I am not good. The very phrase “social media” makes me wince. It’s not so much that I don’t like people as that they tend not to like me. That’s been true since I was a small child. And though adults have developed ways to hide their mean thoughts, the fact still remains that few of them seem to think other than mean thoughts about me. I’ve never learned why or what I do to alienate people, but one thing’s clear: I wasn’t born to live in polite society. So I’m really, really put off at the prospect of having to jump into anything dubbed “social.”

Oh well. The Twitter thing is up, and in just a few hours the girls have already got sixteen followers!!

Tomorrow I’ll work on building them a Facebook page, and I see we now finally have something called a Goodreads Author Page. So the other thing I’ll have to do tomorrow is figure out what that is and how to make it work.

And THEN and then and then… By the first part of next week (sooner if possible), we’ll have a BIG GIVEAWAY CONTEST to choose stage names — noms de blog? — for the Racy Ladies. I figure to run this through Camptown Ladies Talk, and to offer the first-prize winner a choice of 1 PG-13-rated Fire-Rider story, or our first X-rated Camptown Races Press book, or a hard copy of How I Lost 30 Pounds in Four Months. If we have a second and a third prize, I think those folks will get our choice of a free book.

Maybe I can get my hands on an Amazon gift card, too.

LOL! The belly has been so upset over the past few weeks, I’ve made an appointment with my old high-powered gastroenterologist, thinking something real was wrong.

But no. Now that the worst of all that is done — or at least launched to sea — suddenly I feel fine. It must have been stress.

Oh, how I wish I could farm the marketing out to some stronger soul! Maybe after I’ve become a rich old porn queen, I’ll be able to afford a real, live marketing agent!