Everyone say goodbye to Betty

Friday afternoon, Mandy and I were poking around, asking people on Twitter what we should do for the evening, and we were considering one of the (apparently several) regular poetry readings around town, but then we heard about a meetup of Podcasters and other social media types (whatever that means) from around the valley. So, we went down to Tempe Marketplace (fashionably late – plus ten minutes just to get into the parking lot from the turning lane) and met a whole bunch of new people (plus a couple of people we’d met at Creative Connect a week or two ago) and had a good time hanging out until we’d literally closed the place down.  THEN, because Mandy and I weren’t done with our night out yet, we went to see Zombie Strippers at the Valley Art in Tempe.  It was much more fun than we were expecting.  Not to mention nudity, gore, zombies, and dark comedy, there was plenty of anti-GWB sentiment from even the first scene.

Anyway, as I do, I discussed my writing, my art, and my attempts and plans for making a living from it with the people we met.  I’ve previously spent a fair chunk of time formatting and transferring photos of my art to my iPhone for just such conversations – people like playing with the iPhone enough that it’s fun to go through dozens of pictures in the midst of conversation – so I had the opportunity to share my art with several people.  And my art really resonated with a couple of people.  And long story short, they decided they wanted to buy Betty.  So Mandy and I hand-delivered it to them on Sunday and hung out with them some more – they’re good people, and we all got along well, which is even better.

This is all good news.  Very encouraging.  Not selling a lot of books (yet – still working on getting the word out there), but that’s two direct book orders (five books total) and two art orders (five paintings total) so far this month, which is more than I sold all last year and the first quarter of this year combined.  And there’s been additional interest in some of my other pieces expressed from a couple of corners, so perhaps we can turn that into sales down the road, too.  Word of mouth is always good. And my “big marketing push” for Dragons’ Truth (my first audiobook, currently being recorded and edited) should start next month, so hopefully that will sell some paperbacks and a few CDs.  Oh, plus I’m going to (finally) start showing at First Fridays in May.  Just a 10×10′ space with the Roosevelt Row folks, but I’ll have my art, I’ll have my books, Heath will be there with his chainmail jewelry, too.

So, times are reasonably good, so far.  I spent all day today (literally from 7AM until Mandy came home around 4:30PM (and a while afterward, as well) just going through stacks of paperwork and filing things, sorting papers, getting things organized into the “new” filing cabinet, and samesuch.  Yet the table I’m trying to get cleaned up to use as a working area is still entirely covered in mess.  More work on it tomorrow, but I’ve also got to take care of the Roosevelt Row paperwork tomorrow, so … maybe we’ll get done.  Maybe we won’t.  Having a couple extra days off the audio work is good, though, even if it is all business-side, mostly paperwork stuff.

You guys better love the audiobooks.

DailyLit has apparently never heard of the long tail

So, I’ve been working on getting my books and eBooks around to as many places as possible lately. Putting them up in over half a dozen formats (apparently have to figure out how to make eReader, Palm Reader, and MS Reader compatible versions, as well) for free on my website, getting them available on Amazon for the kindle (done), getting them on Google Book Search (apparently even uploaded PDFs need to be manually “processed” so that could be a couple of weeks), getting set up at Lightning Source (which would include distribution, and for which I definitely want to have the MS and Palm versions ready, if possible – oh, and for which I’m faxing the paperwork over to them today), and emailing other eBooks sites to see if I can get my books up. I need to look closer at WOWIO and a couple of others, but so far I’ve emailed DailyLit and BookGlutton to see if they could put up my books. Each is either entirely or mostly free, having mostly or entirely Public Domain / CC works.

Heard back from DailyLit. Here’s an excerpt of what they said:

“… right now we are looking for works in the following categories:

  • Best-selling or critically acclaimed titles
  • Titles by authors who have a big following (especially on the web)
  • Works that are especially well-suited to the DailyLit format”

Which is to say, they’ve apparently never heard of “the long tail” … DailyLit would be an excellent service for the long tail of eBooks, since they have an even lower psychological barrier-to-entry than traditional eBook retailers; they send books to you via email in small, easily-digestible chunks. Everyone is used to getting daily emails these days, email newsletters, they check their mail, they read their mail, it’s part of everyday life in a way that reading paper books often isn’t, and reading eBooks on digital readers isn’t for everyone who doesn’t own one. DailyLit is a format I can imagine people would be willing to try new books out on, new authors on. DailyLit has a universal enough platform that all those niche books in the long tail, instead of targeting their eBooks at only the people with digital readers, or who are willing to read a full-length traditional eBook on their screen, they can target everyone who is comfortable reading email. Which widens their niche, I would think.

As we know about the long tail, each title may not be purchased very often. Yet if we make each of these less-popular, niche titles as widely available as possible to the most possible readers, they will see an increased possibility of success. (And DailyLit would see more volume of business overall.)

Alas, like traditional “Big Publishing”, DailyLit is only interested in you if you’ve already got a big audience they can tap into. Oh well. Their loss as well as mine.

Hand-advertising; posting flyers

So, as I mentioned the other day, I designed a flyer to advertise modernevil.com – This weekend, Mandy and I selected a paper color (goldenrod, not too yellow, not too bright, eye-catching but also differentiated from the fluorescent yellow and orange flyers everyone else is posting), found some cheap copies (2c/copy at the UPS store at Dunlap & Central in Phoenix, if you pre-pay for 1k), and spent several hours cutting the little tear-off strips at the bottom of 250 pages.  In the unlikely event that every strip gets torn off every flyer and all those strips convert to new readers, that’s 3,000 new readers.  If some of them actually buy books – hooray!

Of course, that’s all dependent upon finding 250 places to post the flyers.  (I’ll ignore for a moment the hundreds or thousands of people who will walk by each posted flyer without even seeing it, the dozens who will see it but not be interested, and the few who will be interested but lose the tiny strip of goldenrod paper they shoved in their pocket.  First it has to be somewhere, and only then can it become ineffective!)

Yesterday, after stopping by the bank and Discount Tire (to pay for the tires I ordered – I get to go back Thursday afternoon and wait for them to actually get put on (ooh – I won’t really have internet access there to distract me, maybe if I take my laptop (or a pad of paper) I can get some work done!)), I started driving around a few places to see if they’d let me post the flyers.  And to stop in to any independent book stores I saw, to see if they’d carry my books. Continue reading Hand-advertising; posting flyers