Showing posts from February, 2014

Socially Overworked

So things have ramped up again on the book promotion front. Don't ask me why, but these things come in waves, and my anxiety and sense of urgency waxes and wanes like the surf. When I first got my book deal, I could barely sleep all week. My mind was racing with all that I wanted to do and I had  a terrible time figuring out what to do first. Eventually, common sense and exhaustion set in and I came to my senses. I realized that what I really needed to do was to figure out what to do today . Not next week, not tomorrow, not in June, but today. That worked for a few weeks, and I've been pretty good. I ratcheted things down a bit, got some business cards, updated my author site, and made some decent contacts to promotional people. I got on Twitter and Facebook, posted daily and got the word out. Now, all of the sudden In a single week, I'm working on a book trailer, figuring out what the heck GoodReads is all about (still not sure) and loading up my shelf on Shelfari.

Trailer Unveiler

I spent my Friday night with a couple of good friends working on a fun project. I've been kicking around the idea of a book trailer for awhile. A book trailer is like a movie trailer; a short teaser as to what the book is about in video form. They vary in length from 1-2 minutes and are another way of publicizing your book. In this day and age, you need all the help you can get, and I kind of like the whole video creation process, so I thought I'd give it a whack. My friend Nick is a musician who has actually produced a couple of CD's of his own. Going under the auspices of SnowCap Weber , he is extremely talented and adept at multiple instruments. His focus is guitar, but he does bass, harmonica, keyboards and probably a few others. He's one of those guys who can pick up an instrument and just blast away. In fact when I mentioned some harmonica he picked one up and said it would probably sound like this - and proceeded to blow a tune that I can only dream of eve

A Story Written - A Life Rewritten

In an effort to support other authors from my publishers, eLectio Publishing , I ordered a book written by Phil Hamman , titled  Under the Influence . It's my hope that other eLectio authors will support my book when it comes out, so I thought I'd do the same. Phil and I have chatted a few times on Facebook and he's been very helpful with some of the ins and outs of book promotion. I'm only a little ways into the book, but already some things have jumped out at me. This guy grew up in a really tough neighborhood. His house was among several other small houses that once served as army barracks and were not much bigger than 10' X 25'. It was government housing by any other name, but the neighborhood served to breed crime and violence. He tells stories of unspeakable abuse and alcoholism from his father, schoolyard bullying, and unmentionable tragedies that occurred in the neighborhood around him. The story resonates with me for a few reasons. While my second

The Musicality Of Leveraging Your Repurposed Words

The English language is a beautiful thing. It is complex, hard to learn, and, when used eloquently, can move a person to tears. At the same time, watching the Olympics has reminded me that there are words that aren't really words at all. Sports announcers have ways of making them up to fit a situation. Other times they just say stupid things to fill the void and then, when you think about what they said, you wonder...What did they just say? We all know that texting has taken the English language to a new low. Some people say we're "evolving" the language and that all of its dumbing down is here to stay. Devolve or die, they say. Give me death. In addition to dumb sports words and the dumbing down of texting and Twitterage (aka, the language of Twitter. I just made that word up.) there are those sayings that are just annoying. The business world is loaded with them and whole some of them might be meaningful, many of them are over used and downright annoying. I'

February Grab Bag

Because it is February - which is hard to spell - and I am at a bit of a loss with regards to subject matter, I am going to jump among a bunch of random subjects, factoids and I-didn't-know-thats. Its an ink-blot post, kind of a free-form stream of consciousness. If I get off track it's only because I never had one to start with. It hit 17 degrees today and believe me that is a good thing. Tomorrow's bringing 33 degrees to my neighborhood. More good. Three doors down they're digging up a water lateral that froze. The city is encouraging people to turn their cold water on for 5 minutes at a crack, 5 times a day to avoid freezing your lateral. Drain what little aquifer we have left in Waukesha in the name of flowing laterals.  Another Valentines Day is looming in a couple of days. I'm glad I married a woman who most years says "No $4.00 Hallmark Cards!" Most years we take the money we spend on cards and put it towards take out pizza. That's not just

Dirty Shirt: A Sneak Peak

It occurred to me that for all the mention of my writing and my book, I've never disclosed much about what Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir  is about, or how it came to be. I know I've addressed the process and lamented about my struggles with it, but I've never really prepared an elevator talk outlining what the book is about. Part of me just assumed that from the title, people could figure it out for themselves. Another part of me thought that I should keep it secret, or to myself, so that the book would be somehow more engaging or self-revealing to people when they read it. Neither of these are good assumptions to make from a marketing standpoint. People don't get interested by "mystique". So, I'll try and talk a little about the book without giving it all away. The book actually was never intended to be a book at all, I'll start with that. In 2005, I enrolled in a class called Writing from Your Life. It was a class offered through the City

Friendly Psychotherapy

I had lunch with an old, old friend at Rochester Deli today. We were supposed to get together last week, but something came up and he had to cancel. When he texted today that he was free, I made time and we went. When I say old old, I don't mean he was old, but our friendship is. We go way back to the late 80's and early 90's. His name is Bill and he is one of the funniest friends I have. He's just a lot of fun to be around. He does great impressions and loves being the life of the party. At one point he had aspirations to become a standup comedian. People are attracted to him because he's a warm person and his ability to laugh at himself at times is an endearing trait - at least it is for me. I've always had that trait, I think it comes from my mother who, at age 80, can still laugh at herself when she does something dumb. People that are incapable of laughing at themselves a little bit strike me as too uptight. Life is too short. Anyhow, I haven't seen

Classics, Keepers and Rubbermaid Totes

I went looking for a book today and ended up finding it in our upstairs bookcase. The photo above is but one shelf of the two shelf bookcase - which came from the house I grew up in in St. Paul, Minnesota. Now before you judge us on having such a small book collection, let me explain. If you know my wife and I, we are voracious readers - she more than me, but I do alright. We have a stack of books by our nightstand constantly.  (Ironically enough, as I write this at 8:30 on a Saturday night, she is up in bed...reading. What else to do on a February night?) Right now, I have three books up there, From the Top , by Michael Perry, The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Marten Troost and the Hawks of Sorga , by Summer Hanford . These three books are resting on top of a Sun Magazine , a Verse Wisconsin Poetry Magazine and a Bible. Sex Lives is finished, From the Top is in progress, Hawks is pending and Bible is ongoing forever. Finished, in the works, on deck. I've read, I'm r