Saturday, August 26, 2006

As god is my witness.

I hate sitting out in the rain.

But there I was again, this morning, sitting under my tent at the farmer's market, selling my soaps, and shivering. It was cold, it was windy, and it was raining. And there I was.

Since no customers were there, being in their right minds, I sat on my chair and thought. I have to tell you, I like working at the markets. I don't mind setting up and tearing down--my body is used to it now. I don't mind being out there when the weather is cool, warm, or hot. I don't mind if it snows!

But if it is raining, I am pissed off. I don't like it. It makes me miserable.

So I was sitting there, thinking, and hating all of it. This is what I thought:

I am going to pay off our credit cards and sell this business, and with god as my witness, I'll never sit out in the rain again.

It won't happen anytime soon, let me tell you. It rained for an hour, and then cleared out. However, because it was so cold, the people stayed home.

These markets have been so slow! Hopefully, when the weather starts to regulate itself, the people will come back.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bloggy Bloggerson

Jeezy creezy. See what happens when school starts?

I disappear.....

IF I have time, I'll write more later. I'll write about school staring, and my very first interaction with a student, and the incredible people who are running the school. They just might make me excited about teaching again. We'll see.

At any rate, this is all the time I have for now. Seriously.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

End-of-Vacation Log

Can you believe the end of vacation is here? Can you believe:

  • I have worked at the farmer's markets 24 times?
  • I have sold approximately 720 bars of soap over this summer?
  • I have sold close to 1,000 bars of soap since the end of April?
What kind of a vacation is that? Well, it's mine. I spent a lot of time with my daughter and my husband. We went swimming in the backyard paddling pool, and at the rec center pool. We went out for ice cream. We went to the park. We read a lot of books. We sang songs. We danced every day!

I'm going back to school, for just a few hours, tomorrow. Trying to set up my office, as they made me move it this year. If I can get some of that kind of stuff done, then the first few days won't be as hectic.

I am sure going to miss my cutie. This was a great summer break.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I love Bollywood even more.


Okay, this one I actually like for aesthetic reasons. The costumes and colors, the dance is it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I love Bollywood.

Solla Solla Enna Perumai

This is, quite possibly, the best thing I have ever seen.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Book review: The Well-Fed Self-Publisher

I have read Dan Poynter's The Self Publishing Manual three times. I have written and published an ebook, just to get my feet wet in the whole, scary, ISBN process. I have planned all along to self-publish my teacher book.

So when Peter Bowerman released his long-awaited The Well-Fed Self-Publisher, I figured it would be a book to fill in the cracks of my knowledge. After all, Dan Poynter is, "THE grandfather of self-publishing." I didn't expect to learn too much more--after all, Dan Poynter's book is comprehensive. However, the book's subtitle, "How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living," is so seductive, I can't imagine a writer who wouldn't be at least intrigued.

There was no question, though, about whether or not I would buy Bowerman's book. Oh, I would buy it, that's for certain. I am one of thousands of loyal followers of his series:

(click on any book cover to buy them)

So I knew I would buy it, thinking that it would be a good additional reference to have in my self-publishing ventures. It's a tax-deductible expense, after all. I did not think that it would surpass the other self-publishing references that are out there.

I thought wrong.

Bowerman lays out the self-publishing process step-by-step, in a logical, thoughtful manner. I did know all of the good reasons to self-publish, and knew that publishing is not about art or writing, really, or grand higher purpose ('s about business). I didn't know exact marketing strategies that he has used to be successful. I didn't know how little money could actually be spent on fulfillment services, to free up my time. I didn't know that he would be so detailed with his examples, which is most helpful for a new publisher who may be frightened with the entire project.

Mostly, I didn't know how much marketing needs to be done. Oh, I knew in theory, but Bowerman presents the marketing options like a lovely banquet table full of new and exciting treats, begging to be consumed. He makes the marketing efforts seem far less daunting than they did before. Of course, this is easier to see once you go along for the ride with him, and realize that, as a self-publisher, " have one job and one job only: Build the Demand for Your Book." Accepting this premise, all of the marketing strategies outlined throughout the book fall into place.

Along the way, Bowerman pays tribute to many other fine authors who can help a publisher become a success. He always lists contact information, or at the very least, a website for these folks. What I found most helpful about the lists of people and information, though, were the personal examples that Bowerman illustrates. He always returns to his example of a successful book campaign, be it how to work with, how to give a great radio interview, or how to assemble a press kit using a copier, scissors, and glue stick. No, seriously. It's in there.

Everything in the book is presented from Bowerman's perspective; he presents himself as a "case study" for the rest of us. It's a type of , "This is what I did, now you do it," scenario, and it works. Not only does he let us know what he did, he lets us know who he worked with to get it done. He refers often to particular pages on his website, to illustrate his points. This is another way that he makes the point: his advice is meant to be practical. Use it.

Marketing isn't the only thing a self-publisher has to do, though. Having a good book in hand is always the best start. What about the self-publishing industry itself? What about creating the perfect book cover, editing and typesetting, having an index and appendix? Yes, yes, yes, all of this is discussed at length. No worries.

Possibly the best part of the book is Appendix A, in which he compiles the names and contact information of the actual people who helped him put his book together, all in one place. I wonder, knowing how popular his books are, whether or not these people are absolutely swamped with work. I imagine they are. I know I'm considering calling them.

In addition to the actual book, three bonus ebooks are offered:

The Well-Fed Self-Publisher's Biz-in-a-Box
  • contains every bit of marketing "paper" that Bowerman created/filled out/used during the promotion of his books
The Self-Publisher's Time Line - LIVE!
  • a time line for the bit-by-bit approach that helps us to conquer the mountain that is publishing, with live links (given the correct .pdf reader)
Self-Publishing Resources - LIVE!
  • essentially a repackaging of the indexes of the book, with live links. Very helpful.

The first one is available for separate purchase, and at a discount if you buy it along with the book. The other two are offered as free bonuses for purchasing the book off his web site (you get your choice, or pay a bit more and get both) and sold as standalones as well. This is an example of creating "spinoff" items for purchase, which is covered in its own chapter. Their value, compared with the enormous expense of printing one's own book, is incredible. They are worth far more than the asking price. Of course, I bought the whole schlamazel.

It's easy to beat the same drum as others when writing a review like this, and should be avoided, but I cannot: his writing style is what sets this book apart from the rest. This has been said about all of his books, and frankly, it's worth noting again and again. Bowerman writes like he talks, which is what he advises.

While it is refreshing to see someone practice what he preaches, I must say there is one aspect of his writing that grates on me: he often uses incomplete sentences. Bowerman has done this since his first book, and it is a remnant of his marketing writing skills. He asserts in his first book that a writer need not always use complete sentences, because sometimes a conversational tone would otherwise be compromised. Every time I read one of the sentence fragments, it raises my hackles. There are enough instances of this for me to take note of it.

Should that discourage someone from purchasing this book? I think that would be foolish--especially if that person wants to be a publishing success. Really, it's my problem, because Bowerman is right: writing like we speak makes a book easy to read. I should just get over it.

Someone who wants to pursue a conventional publishing route may benefit from this read: knowing all of the different components of a book publishing project may help writers to understand why it is so difficult to have someone else publish them. Those who think that self-publishing is for them will enjoy this book more than the others out there, because of Bowerman's easy-reading style, and personable nature that comes across in his writing.

Yes, I'm a groupie, and yes, I'll buy anything he writes. There's a reason for that. Buy the book and discover what all of the Well-Fed writers know.

Friday, August 04, 2006

What does it take?

You will note that I have added another blog link to the right. Her blog name is "Dooce," and no, I didn't misspell it. She's a wonderful writer, and she takes photographs, too. Fun stuff. Have a read.

After looking at her About page, I realized that she makes money off her blog. In fact, if her About page is to be believed, she supports her family FROM HER BLOG. Just from the advertising. That's how many people read her blog each day.

So now I wonder: how does one get so many people to read one's blog? Posting it on craigslist? Word-of-mouth? Not in her case: she became famous for being fired for blogging. And now, in this world, a person can get paid because of blog popularity. Blogging is not difficult, people.

And so, I admit, I am considering this. Considering how to make my blog more interesting, more exciting, more...more....advertisement-worthy. I suppose little vignettes about my life would help. Most of the popular bloggers do that. It's either that or do political rants, and frankly (Franken! Love him!), that's covered. I don't wanna.

I believe I'll continue to blog daily, and tell the stories, and see just how popular I become. I suppose I'll have to have a "real" website, to support "real" advertising. Maybe not. Maybe I should read Blogger's terms of service more carefully, so I know what is actually allowed.

But I don't see any big news stories in my future. So I guess I'll just stick with tellin' my tales to the three people who read this.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

...where it will go....

So I was reading the paper this morning, and came to the movie advertisements. There is a new movie out, called The Night Listener, starring Toni Colette and Robin Williams. What struck me as interesting about this movie is not its actors nor its premise (indeed, I don't know its premise), but the review at the top of the ad.

Roger Ebert proclaims: "...An eerie Hitchcockian Thriller..."

Hitchcockian? I must not be in the Hollyweird loop, because this word struck me as funny. And not because of the word in the middle. Okay, maybe a bit.

I wondered how many other people use the word Hitchcockian. Turns out, it's quite a few. A Google search noted 966,000 results for it. I thought that Hitchcockian dot net would reveal to me the seedy underbelly of the world where people use this word. Alas, it was not to be so. It's one of those weird mini-sites full of links. Hitchcockian bastards.

Okay, so there we come back to my thought process. "Hitchcockian" sounds like other things to me. It also sounds very "made-up," which I'm sure it is/was. It works as a word, I suppose. I know what Ebert means when he says it. I suppose it's been used to describe M. Night Shyamalan's work. I would.

But it made me think of other things:

Mr. Tom Fooligan, Football Hooligan. He's

Or perhaps a rogue, attractive in a, "he's such a boor, but I could tame him, and I bet he's good in the sack," sort of way. He's so Madmartigan.

Of course, we can always go to the verb side of Hitchcockian: someone who's always grabbing his crotch.

Okay, I'm done.