Sunday, October 28, 2012

Orycon 34 Promo

Here's a coupon for anyone who'd like a free copy of Masks from Smashwords!

Promotion and marketing is weird.  Not tough, not bad, just weird.  Everyone and no one seems to know what they're talking about.  And I'm not sure I want to spend time and money promoting.  I love doing little things -- designing post cards, business cards and stuff like that.  But ads in newspapers and stuff?  Trying to get on the radio or tv?  Maybe it's a hurdle I have to overcome.  Or maybe my instincts are right.

You gotta just spend time writing, and writing well, and then putting that writing out where people can find it.  Promotion and marketing stuff is what's supposed to help people find your writing.  But with the great flood of self-publishing out there, how much marketing would it really take, and how much would it cost?

Hard to say.  I guess that's why even the big publishers get it wrong with marketing sometimes.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Trials of Marketing Part One


I just spent all day ordering my first ever promotional postcards.

Okay, maybe not allll day.  But it felt like all day because I had to redo the postcards so that they fit within the bleed margins.  I thought I already had, but apparently not.  Also, apparently my powers of math are weak, because they weren't quite proportioned right.  After playing with resizing the existing postcard sides, I gave up and rebuilt them from scratch.

Then and only then was I able to upload them, order them, and I then find out that with the not-cheapest but not most expensive shipping, they will arrive the day before Orycon.


That's a little tighter margin than I like, but I'll live.  And they are done.  Done!  For this batch, anyway.  With the heart attack moment at the end of ordering time (finding out when they'll actually arrive) I think I would have preferred to go with a local big box instead and worry about getting the cheaper price later.  Especially since the shipping was scary expensive.  The moolah I saved I basically lost to shipping.  Assuming the quality would have been the same (I'm not sure it is) I think I would have rather spare myself the heart attack and buy the cards at a higher-per price and driven them home myself.

But, having said that, now that I'm a (scarred) postcard-creating veteran, I can save buckaroos by ordering larger batches with essentially the same shipping from the same company.

Or not.  These postcards may not result in any sales.  If not, I guess I'll be out about $60, which is not devastating in the grand scheme of things.  If so, it'll be money well spent even if it only initially sells me a couple of copies.  That'll be a couple of chances for reviews, a couple more chances for the word to get out, but most importantly, a couple of chances for the writing to prove itself (or not.) 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Autumn Work

The weather forecast promises a wee bit of rain soon.  I dunno.  It's clear skies as far as the eye can see right now, and warm and beautiful.

The air has that autumn bite to it.  Makes me want to wander, explore, hike, get stuff done in the garden ....  The natural cycle of things makes me restless.  Is it a deep instinct written into my DNA, to either migrate to warmer climes or batten down the hatches for a long winter?  I can't say either way, but it feels good.  The grapes are getting sweeter every day, and the akebia fruit is starting to darken from a pale green to a deep, dusky purple.  The apples are ripe.  I still have tons of pears on the trees.  Though this year was kind of a bummer as far as the veggie garden is concerned, the arbor and orchard didn't fail.  In fact, they're better than ever.

If you're a gardener, now is the time (or past time, if it were a normal year!) to get out there and clean up stuff like crazy.  The work done now is work that won't have to be done in the spring.  Put fresh mulch down, weed, edge the lawn, prune trees and shrubs, and make everything tidy.  Note to self--put away all those tools still laying around before they're covered in snow.  A rake in the face kinda puts a damper on that first fun walk through fresh snow.

It's also time to start stocking up on winter supplies.  Rice, flour, sugar, butter, etc. will go into dry storage or the freezer.  If we're snowed in, we want to have plenty of stuff on hand.  I used to have lots of canned food too, but it actually takes up a lot of room, is usually over-salted and over sugared, and it's under-nutritious.  Better to keep the raw materials around.  This year I'll probably add a big bag of frozen sausage patties and frozen chicken patties.  That one year we were stuck for an extended period, they really came in handy and unlike the rest of our frozen protein, could be cooked without thawing.  I'll get those last.  The things that keep the longest and are the least expensive I'll get first, and I'll do it in installments this year instead of making one big trip.  The one big trip thing is fun, but sure hurts when it all gets added up at the register.  And this year, I won't forget a nice big box of hot apple cider packets and two big containers of hot chocolate mix.  Yum!

Happy Autumn Weather, everyone.  I hope your last days before winter are as beautiful as mine are.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Hanging in There, Waiting

My belly is full and now all I want to do is sleep.  The problem is that there are all kinds of things I have to take care of.  Besides, if I went to sleep now, I probably wouldn't wake up again until the middle of the night.  Fabulous for getting creative work done, not so much for going to work the next day.

That's rational, intellectual stuff, though.  My brain feels as heavy as my belly and my eyes feel sooo good when I shut them.  It feels even better when I lean back and rest my head and stretch my body.  It's like an all-over body massage.

Not gonna go there.  I have a book cover to finish, and a time line I have to do.  Those take forever, especially when I get sucked into the book.  Instead of skimming I end up reading, and I'm not a fast enough reader to get through a book in a day.  Plus, I want to get something done outside.  Watering, at minimum.

It is scary dry out there.  Between the lack of rain and the brisk wind, plants are literally shriveling up and blowing away.  I'm afraid we're going to lose one of our big trees as a result.  The mountain ash out front looks really terrible.  It's mostly brown.  We're in the midst of a record-breaking dry spell, with no end in sight.  We're a little late to the drought party, but it seems that the party is still goin' on.

Not good.

I have to be careful with our well water, too.  Like any other natural resource under stress, it's fragile.  I'd like to think that we have almost no impact on the local water supply, but that would be a dangerous assumption.  We can't afford to run our well dry.  So, sadly, we may have some losses this year.  As much as all of us here in the Pac NW love the sun and miss it all winter long, just about everyone I've talked to is ready for the rain.

Once it starts, it may not end until July, but we're ready.  Until then, I have to make the artificial rain fall, and hope that our luck doesn't run out of the end of that hose.

Monday, October 01, 2012

My Silver Lining Day

There's so much sun I hardly know what to do with myself.  Should I bask?  Play?  Write while sitting or standing on the deck?  Cut flowers for the table?

I can't garden.  Well, okay, I can, but it's depressing.  The deer officially have eaten everything.  They tore through the netting over my surviving tomatoes and eaten both the fruit and the vines. 


Pumpkins, gone.  Yes, they ate pumpkin leaves, and zucchini leaves and stalks and fruit, everything. 

Okay, not everything.  Weirdly they've left the grapes pretty much alone, and to my surprise, my marionberries weren't reduced to stumps.

They've eaten so many tomato leaves and vines their flesh must be toxic. 

So, my next project is a fence.  I've got the bones of it up, but I can't do anything with my veggies this year or any other until I've got this fence up.  Even if I were to succumb to my disgust and anger and decide venison is on the menu tonight, that won't solve my overall problem.  I need to protect the garden.

The long growing season this year, stretching into October, is almost unprecedented.  Everyone has tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins, everything coming out of their ears.  Except me.  I'm like Charlie Brown at Halloween, only I didn't even get a rock.

But, I have lots of beautiful sunflowers!

I guess there's always a silver lining, at least when you have clouds.  Which we don't.  But today there's a silver lining anyway.  It's a beautiful, beautiful day.