Patsy Porco

Free (and worth it!) Advice to Self-Published Authors

In Books, libraries, Self-Published Books on July 12, 2016 at 6:38 pm

Being the genius Being fairly adequate at marketing self-promotion, it occurred to me that if I had self-published a book, I would offer it to my local library, and to every library that responded to my inquiry emails, for free. Most self-published-authors (known as SPAs in my head) all-too-soon discover that, once their relatives and friends buy their books, their selling days are over. In fact, they will probably never sell another copy ever again. That’s what marketing departments are for, and most SPAs don’t have one.

If SPAs gave their books to as many libraries as possible, however, they might at least find readers, albeit cheap ones. Once an SPA has acknowledged that he or she isn’t going to get rich from a book, he or she will settle for readers, of any ilk.

I was on my local library’s website last night, perusing their digital library. The inventory was sparse and consisted mostly of books with lurid covers, i.e., bodice-rippers*. (A lot of SPAs write bodice-rippers. I know this from experience. At one time in my life, I had a website dedicated to self-published books [yes, I called them SPBs; amazingly, the word didn’t catch on] and the majority of the books submitted to me were bodice-rippers, followed by self-help books written mostly by people with no credentials.)

But, last night, I wasn’t in the mood for a bodice-ripper, so my choices were severely limited. But why, I wondered, was my library’s inventory so heavily weighted toward this type of romance novel? And then it hit me. I’ll bet the authors gave the library their self-published books. But then the question was: Why would a library download an unsolicited, and probably unreviewed, book and upload it to its website for borrowing? The answer was obvious: Because, as soon as everyone and his/her brother/sister/friend got a Kindle or the Kindle app, libraries needed to build digital libraries, and do it fast. Library bosses probably came in one morning and told their librarians, “I want a big digital library and I want it yesterday.” (Library bosses are so behind when it comes to the latest expressions.) So, in order to keep their jobs, the librarians probably downloaded every book link that was emailed to them. The next day, they had hundreds of e-books (out of millions of available ones, probably) ready for their patrons to borrow. And, they were mostly bodice-rippers. Because that’s what the librarians had immediate access to.

So, SPAs, get a move on. Send your book to your local library today. And to every library on the planet. Some librarian somewhere is bound to have a boss who is saying right now, “Our digital library is languishing! Get more books uploaded, and do it yesterday.” And whose book will be sitting on the library’s computer, just waiting to be uploaded? Yours. You’re welcome.

 

* books similar to those published by Harlequin

 

 

The First Weekend of Summer

In cookouts, Humor, Summer on June 27, 2016 at 1:34 am

If you recall, a few weeks ago, I tried to sell giant hosta plants from my garden on an online garage-sale site, but the site’s administrator asked me to take down my post because my plants were not hosta, but garden-variety weeds. Several people I know asked why the site’s administrator cared if I was selling weeds, as long as they weren’t illegal ones.

I agreed with them, but I preferred not to look like a moron who thought giant weeds were hosta, so I took down the post and spent this Saturday ripping those plants up by the roots. Then today, my husband and I went to a backyard party hosted by our friends, a husband and wife we’ve known for years. While we were there, the husband showed me his very impressive vegetable garden. He was especially pleased with the progress that his rhubarb was making. I took a closer look at the rhubarb and realized that I might have just thrown out ten or fifteen of those plants. The rhubarb plants sure looked like my weeds. But then again, so did hosta. I’m glad that the plants are gone, though. This way, there’s no temptation to make a rhubarb pie that might turn out to be a weed pie.

After the garden tour, we went over to the screened-in deck, where a few of the younger guests were comparing their tattoos. Only one of the older people there had a tattoo — the rhubarb-growing husband. His tattoo was temporary, and was bought and applied by his wife. Temporary or not, his was the popular favorite.

Mike's tattoo

When we got home, I was inspired to check on my vegetable garden. I know that what I planted are actually vegetables because I bought seed packets and they were clearly marked with words and pictures. My vegetables aren’t showing any progress yet, but that’s to be expected since I just planted them a week ago.

The bird feeder, on the other hand, has seen lots of action. I have one of those square suet cages that you fill with a cake composed of congealed fat and seeds. There are small openings in the cage so that only birds can feed from it. Somebody didn’t tell the squirrels, though. For the past few mornings, they’ve been hanging upside down from the lattice fencing around our deck, grabbing the cage with their little squirrel hands, and demolishing the suet. I’ve refilled that cage three times so far this week.

Always the optimist, I also bought a cylindrical bird feeder that is guaranteed to attract finches, and a bag of bird seed. I don’t even know if Connecticut has finches, but since I wouldn’t recognize one anyway, any bird is welcome. Yesterday, I put the new feeder and the bag of seed on our picnic table out on the deck. Today, while we were at the party, my brother was at our house, and he said that he looked out the window and saw at least six squirrels romping on the table. The squirrels had poked holes in the bag and were gorging on the seeds and drunkenly tossing handfuls into the air. He politely told them to go away, and when they ignored him, he threw flip-flops at them until they left. Then he hid the seeds.

After relating this harrowing experience, he suggested that I consider washing down the table before our next cookout. I definitely will, with bleach. But things could have been worse. My next-door-neighbor regularly sees raccoons copulating in broad daylight on her picnic table. Washing that table wouldn’t be an option. I’d have to burn it.

What’s a Drive-Through?

In coffee, Humor on June 25, 2016 at 1:07 pm

My friend, Rosemary Bartlett, posted this on Facebook this morning.

“Stopped for coffee this morning. And see this…”

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