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Fantasy Waltz: Midweek Serenade

Happy Wednesday on Thursday, everyone. I am being sneaky here, and presenting you with a musical interlude from my upcoming musical album. The ninth track is still being composed but I wanted to share this one with you.

I have decided to use Vimeo for sharing this album. It’s so quiet over on Vimeo because there are no ads interrupting my flow and messing with my mojo. I never have to worry about some rando screaming at me in every language to give him my life savings.

The video was created on Canva with one of my logo images as the backdrop. Hope you like the joyful feeling you get when listening to this track.

Thank you for listening.

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Greetings from the Metaverse + Twitter (Spaces) update

Happy Monday, creators.

Photo by Anna Shvets

Does anyone remember that time last year, when I was crying into my phone about Twitter? Well, I took my own advice and it seems to have worked. I was miserable because I felt I had to change myself to fit into what I thought would gain traction. However, with this new account, I started out with the intention of doing what I wanted to do.

A musician I met on Saturday had this to say this morning.

Being a person with broad interests and unquenchable curiosity might have helped. After deciding to focus on non fungible tokens as a subject, I had no idea that all of my favourite topics would collide under that niche.

Unlike my previous post, in which I showed how you can get Instagram’s smart tech to work for you, Twitter is tricky. I can only give you generic advice with the caveat that everything depends on your specific subject matter. As you read, remember that I am using Twitter to promote sales of my creative projects, including fiction writing and fine art.

Social audio, specifically Twitter Spaces, allows me to hear from machine learning specialists, Buddhist and Hindu philosophers, philanthropists, musicians, authors, poets, programmers, game developers, actors, singers, tech venture capitalists, marketers, attorneys, architects, publicists, and blockchain specialists.

My work has been to use Twitter Spaces to create one large thought bubble, wherein everyone discusses a topic from the perspective of their areas of expertise. Reaching for a cognitively rich experience has made my time on Twitter stimulating instead of exhausting.

An example of a good bio tweet

In the list below, I will share some general ideas for working within your own niche with the help of Twitter Spaces. The most important principle to remember when marketing or promoting your work on any platform is simply, “Do what works, not what you like to do.”

  1. Spend time on Twitter. Can’t tell you how many times I have had people tell me they had no time but wanted to know the one tweet they could post so they could gain 10,000 fans overnight.
  2. Curate your feed. Do not scroll. Stop and engage with tweets for about ten minutes. Like it, share it, or toss it. Use the “Not interested in this tweet” option and add specific reasons. This helps the smart tech to learn more about you.
  3. Tweet a bio tweet like the one in Sreeran’s example above. Thereafter, when you enter a space, say your account name and your personal tagline and the smart tech will index your account under the correct topics of interest.
  4. Join Twitter Spaces and listen in as a priority, even if invited to speak.
  5. Use your time on a speaker panel to give a voice to your engagement. You may want to say that you have commented, liked, or retweeted a speaker’s tweet.
  6. Support other accounts more than you tweet about yourself. We use the word “shill” to mean “self promote”. Shill for others because as a rule, do for others and they will do for you. If you receive no support from an account, focus on other accounts until you find your group.
  7. Take your time and work consistently. Results will multiply over time, because your diligent effort will earn you trust within your network.
  8. Keep the hashtags to a minimum (2 – 4 maximum) until you meet your ideal threshold of engagement in terms of tweets, retweets, comments and likes. Thereafter, use them rarely.
  9. Avoid negativity. Rephrase your words positively (for the smart tech). Do not follow accounts that are antagonistic towards your principles.
  10. If you must be outspoken, discuss and debate in spaces where your ideas will be heard, even if others disagree. Same rules go for all audio spaces. Keep rants super short.
  11. Quote tweet. Own the conversation by bringing it to your timeline. Bring it up later in spaces and ask for feedback, shares or other engagement on your tweet.
  12. Tag accounts and mention them in tweets with requests for answers. This raises your engagement by putting you on their timeline. It is also a great way to start a conversation.
  13. Consciously disengage. When you disagree in a comment, etc., the person with whom you disagree gets a boost by the algorithm because the smart tech will read your engagement as POSITIVE interest.
  14. Avoid engaging with inactive accounts. Twitter’s smart tech loves fresh content, so keep within a view/comment/share threshold of about 17 hours.
  15. Follow accounts that you genuinely like and want to support. As a rule, I avoid following popular accounts and add them to lists instead.
  16. Any support you receive must be reciprocated. And focus on supporting accounts that give you support in return.
  17. Analyse, rinse and repeat. If you start gaining support from your activities, try them again and see what happens. If a thing is working, keep doing it, regardless of whatever “advice” you receive, including mine.

Remember to try many things. Do what works and not what you like to do (for example, staying off Twitter or only tweeting about yourself). After joining Twitter with a fresh new account on June 19, 2021, my account now has 3107 followers today, September 27, 2021. The final push to 3000 happened last night (Sunday) when the count was at 2992. Thankfully, when I asked for some help getting over the line, my friends were there to offer their support. And that is how it should be. That’s all for now, and thank you for reading. See you in the metaverse.

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Instagram’s smart tech is a loving me thing

It is Saturday afternoon and as I write this, I am waiting for a meeting to resume. Unfortunately, two expatriates seated at the far corner of the conference room are talking loudly about assorted bedroom activities. I gather that the man is gay and his friend is a married straight woman. I suppose they are comparing notes?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

It was impossible to hear myself think, so I am standing near an open window to let the sound of traffic drown out their voices. And while I am here, I thought it would be good idea to update you with my Instagram goings on.

At the moment, I’m hardly posting on Instagram. But for the past eight days, every 23 hours to the hour, I see that I have 25 new followers. This exact number, at exactly the same time, tells me that this is the work of a machine. 

Remember that last year, Instagram was burning my posts. And now, after two months on the platform, the smart tech is working for me. I was advised in a Clubhouse room, a couple of months ago, that Instagram was doing a big reset. I was also advised to take advantage because this was a once-in-a-lifetime event. The problem is that I am an introvert and going live on video will never happen. Because of that, I needed a modified approach.

Photo by Tim Gouw

Here is what happened after two months and 18 reels, 3 (15-second) stories daily, no lingerie selfies, and zero live posts. I am at 472 followers. My account is growing every day, so I will continue on this path. (If only Twitter were as malleable).

Metrics 

  1. This is a business account. 
  2. I do not pay for ads which means that all of my engagement is organic. 
  3. All of the new followers brought over from Instagram’s smart tech are 85% artists in the NFT community, 5% follower boosting accounts and 10% crypto investors. 
  4. Quite a number of my other followers are from Clubhouse. The apps share data with each other. Instagram will automatically suggest my account to anyone following me over there and vice versa.
Photo by Fiona Art

Posts and engagement  

  1. After my first five posts, I started posting reels in the form of animated videos showcasing my artwork. 
  2. Avoid captions. Only a few of my reels have them. Instead, I tell a story in a slideshow or MP4 video. 
  3. Nearly zero hashtags on posts or reels. Instagram treats hashtags like spam. 
  4. Edit all videos or images (to create a slideshow) in the IG native editor using filters.
  5. Add music and carefully choose clips within the song to match the story. Music choice is the number one compliment I have received so far. People seem to have a positive emotional reaction my artwork because of the music. 
  6. Repost my own reels/posts to stories. 
  7. Hashtags only in stories – limited to one per story and this is always NFT related. 
  8. Follow back as many accounts as possible. Check occasionally to make sure that all followed accounts are active. 
  9. Restrict spammy, fake looking accounts and never follow sales people (crypto investors). 
  10. Reply to all comments and respond to private messages. Delete messages I don’t want to answer. Accounts look spammy if they don’t talk to each other. 
  11. Mute accounts that post more than 5 reels in one hour. These kinds of accounts rarely engage with my posts. Then I look spammy to the smart tech. 
  12. Visit new followers’ profiles and engage with posts. 
  13. Engage with my timeline. Hide, mute, like or share posts to friends.
  14. Join live broadcasts even for a few minutes. Send comments and reactions while there. This signals that I am a real person.
  15. Engage with my followers’ stories by sending reactions and comments. Gauge feedback to these and mute accounts that are not responsive. 
  16. Remix posts from active followers and share them to my stories. Add music, fun stickers, gifs, scribbles, text and mentions.
  17. When a follower adds the above remix in their stories, immediately share to my stories.
  18. Use voice memos or calls where possible. 
Photo by Steve Johnson

If you are interested in testing this approach, try it on your Instagram account. I must point out that I am niche specific. I am an artist in the NFT community. I focus on graphic design and I’m interested in paintings from visual artists. And though I never tell Instagram what my specific niches are by using captions or hashtags, the smart tech introduced me to blockchain specialists, abstract painters and 3D/animation artists in the NFT space. Then, bear in mind that I spend no more than 30 minutes a day creating at least three stories. I also respond to all of my messages.

No selfies, no bikinis, no bare butts. Only plenty of good music, interesting stickers, and artwork to inspire me. Best of luck.

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The Quarter Percent: Effortless book sales with social audio?

Quarter Percent – Trailer

Can you, as an author, achieve effortless book sales using social audio? Please read this post and learn what I have discovered. But get some popcorn first, because there is drama. 

It has been a year since I published my novel, The Quarter Percent, and if someone had told me to relax because that people would ask to buy it, I would have thrown a tantrum. And yet, since joining social audio nearly eight weeks ago, I have had lots of people tell me they bought my novel. First, in my Clubhouse profile, I mentioned writing my second novel. Then after a number of requests to share a buy link for the first one, I added it to my Twitter bio.

The Quarter Percent, novel by Lily Nicole, cover art
Cara de la Reina

I’m not using social audio to sell books, by the way: the book sales are a side effect of staying active on the platforms. By staying active, I do not mean staring at my phone all day. Instead, I make time for active participation in spaces or rooms on a range of subjects.

Last year, I collaborated with several artists and we produced artwork for The Quarter Percent. We focused on key scenes and events. One of the scenes opens in front of a graffiti mural in the foyer of a refurbished warehouse. Tensions in a friendship, the transfer of power, and a generous gift are overseen by a portrait of King Cordial’s late wife, Queen Cara. The scene, mural, and cover art are called Cara de la Reina or ‘face of the queen’. To write that scene, I did a lot of research into warehouses and architectural design because the description of the interior had an important function. It set up a contrast between the home’s cool, trendy, laid back atmosphere and the next level scheming that would take place there. 

North to South

Based on other research, I knew that a cover with a face was ideal, and I assured my publisher that using the mural art was going to work. A year later, this is my avatar everywhere, and saying so in the first paragraph of my Clubhouse profile has made promotion effortless. When people ask me why I don’t use a selfie, I tell them that I am using social audio for business, and I don’t want to attract the wrong sort of customer. Seeing that I get book sales without doing anything extra, it stays right there.

And now, I will highlight some amusing incidents from last year’s promotional campaign. A book marketer told me he had no idea why I would give away free copies of my novel. He had no idea how that would help with book sales. One colleague suggested that a political assassination to help me get mega downloads. Another said to give up drafting if people did not download the beta version. Later, a young lady clickbaited and free trafficked me to her blog after saying that people would never download the $0.00 promotional Kindle copy without reviews, while agreeing that people would need to read the novel to review it.

A tale in the crypt - storyboard of first scene of last chapter, The Quarter Percent
Ruby Castle’s crypt with a statue of Saint Joan on the left.

On top of that, someone has been earning money from views of my trailer on a dodgy platform. Every marketer I hired to promote the book has denied having merched the trailer. I only found out because the analytics on WordPress finally appeared in February and showed me a cascade of clicks out to my blog. The owners of the platform are not answering emails or taking phone calls so I cannot find out who is doing this.

Amid all of that drama, you will understand why I gave up on promoting my novel altogether. But I am happy that l have stumbled upon an effective way to sell it.

Costmary is talking with her publicist Karen Aoki

Regardless of the obstacles, I enjoyed the creative process from last year, and I will expand on that for my upcoming novel. My first idea was to create art prints and posters. Still researching styles that I want to use, and practising on Procreate. Currently, I am producing instrumental compositions for piano, violin and cello. These will match the mood and themes of the story. My YouTube channel is dry and ashy so I asked a composer friend to help me out. I am hoping to share the music with artists and creators who like listening to music as they work.

About an hour before publishing this post, I talked about the project in a business networking group and I was encouraged by the response. The music will also be my rehabilitation after sacrificing brain cells to ratchet YouTube (for research purposes). 

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Keep creating, and thank you for staying in touch. 

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Scrum Mastered

Scrum for creative focus

Are your goals clearly defined? Your next step is to collaborate with likeminded individuals. Work with practical, updated information. Record results and refine your process as you go. To master the practice of scrum, recognise when it is necessary to regroup and realign. Then do it.

Screen caps from the desktop version

The first iteration of this installation was a mass of crawling text that broke WordPress. Yay! But after it broke my phone’s browser, I decided to update this post with a collage of screen caps from Reader and the main site.

Glitched text on main page and in Reader.

Thankfully, I had saved the screen caps for the tweet design below, so it was easy to make another pass with the two typography posters. I hope you enjoy them.

It’s art and it is business
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Schlüsselmeister Grau

Keymaster Grey

These posters are still in a work in progress but I wanted to dedicate the drafts to the German business owner who has left two advertisements for his keymaster business on my feedback form. That’s Schlüsselmeister in German.

I spent the weekend designing posters and video pins while also being professionally petty on social media. And one thought I had was about WordPress throttling my posts, so that I must display my artwork on a Pinterest board. The difference in engagement on both platforms should become a meme because it is so vast. Wow WordPress.

Fast on site

Though I am busy over there, I wanted to post some artwork here for you. I also wanted to say hello to the German business owner before pinning the final versions.

The keymaster’s website is well-presented, but I changed some of the identifying information in the poster. Sir, please be good enough to leave your real email on that form so I can send you the PDFs? You can print them out on your office printer and frame them.

It feels weird not posting weird art on here. Perhaps that is a Church versus State thing. Or, business art versus hobby art, though which one is which, I don’t quite know.

For everyone else, have a great Monday. Allen anderen einen schönen Montag.

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A few rough drafts

Dominate every space
Rough draft one: An app created these effects.

Happy Sunday to everyone reading this. (You might want to grab some popcorn.)

A few weeks ago, I started what should have been a wonderful collaboration with a marketing specialist. I asked a lot of questions to minimise errors. But when the invoice arrived, it seemed someone had used their elbow on the “zero” on a keyboard.

They were asking for the equivalent of 1/3 of my annual salary to do niche research, marketing, and advertising. No samples had been produced, no dry runs executed, nor analytics presented. Which means that in exchange for absolutely nothing, I would be working to keep them in Burberry and Dolce. 

One more test cover and two T-shirt designs

To end the negotiations, I sacrificed my catalog of designs. I told them to sell it all themselves. If they are good as they claim, they should be raking in the cash right now.

If you were me for the past month, you would have discovered some startling truths about advertising firms. Traffic, views and clicks can be purchased, and “stats” can be spun out of whole cloth. I now make sure that I negotiate for “my best outcomes” and ignore their “best efforts”.

Image for web store and Facebook fan page cover graphic
One’s office for social media/fan page cover

If effort alone were enough, each person reading this would be worth billions. Based on effort alone, it might be easy for all of us to set up shop as advertisers. Simply collect fee$ and promise to show your clients’ work to everyone. Then, pack yourself a nice sandwich, a smoothie, a bottle of water, and a muffin. Drive yourself down to the bay and have a picnic. Then, when clients complain that they have no traffic or sales, gaslight them and say they need to spend more money.

I guarantee that with this work ethic, you too will become a successful advertising executive in no time at all. 

Here’s hoping that you have a productive week ahead.

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Everyone wants the cherry on top but it takes work to get there

Commitment Cupcake

Does anyone remember who said, “Follow your joy”? I think this quote is popular because everyone can imagine feeling happy at the final stage of a project. Recently, I told Caring for Art that my nightmares have become work product. I was not exaggerating. Public speakers will never tell you that you must hard work to find the thing to which you can happily commit. If they told you to face reality, nobody would pay them $50,000 to talk about themselves for 30 minutes.

And because I know that the truth is hard to hear, I feel confident that no-one will copy my secret formula, which I am going to share in this post. This is my recipe for staying committed and focused on the way to finding joy. First read it, then scroll down for a taste test. 

🧁 Commitment Cupcake 🧁

Ingredients
Absolutely everything real about you right now. 

Directions 

  1. Write down every idea you have but stay loosely attached.
  2. Seek advice from qualified experts. 
  3. Listen to advice and evaluate for quality.  
  4. Search for useful ideas in negative feedback.
  5. Be assertive but never argue, no matter what.
  6. Lose fixation on irrelevant details.
  7. Shut down anyone who attempts to devalue you. 
  8. Transfer your idea from a “hard” medium to a “soft” one. 
  9. Follow up on each new idea (see item 1).  
  10. Table, pin, or expunge unworkable ideas. 
  11. Shred your lists.  
  12. Start over. 
  13. Keep at it. 

The taste testCovers only
Item 8 became especially important this week when my plans came to a full stop. And though I was feeling isolated and trapped, I decided to shred everything and start over.  

Contessa Magazine: Cover 2 in Icelandic

One of many ideas I had written down was “launch a magazine”. However, I threw it out because there are billions of writers, millions of magazines, and only a handful of subscribers.

From that, I imagined what it would be like for a young writer to dream of launching a magazine only to hit roadblock after roadblock. How would this writer solve these problems? The answers to that question became the treatment for a writing project. My preferred medium for presenting that story is a “hard” one, so I pinned it for later.

The transfer to a “soft” medium was a frictionless fusion of my interests. After careful research, I did some math: photography + fashion + world cultures + health + making stuff up + graphic design = a concept that I really like.

That is to say, I will only produce the covers. I’ve posted two test copies for you and I hope you like them. 

Contessa Magazine: Cover 1 in English
(Spoiled it, so don’t look too closely)

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Sunday, at the (home) office


On Saturday afternoon, I was waiting to take down an art exhibition and while I was waiting in the car, I decided to pull an Oracle card. I bought them because they’ve got a matte velvety finish and the gold inlay looks pretty. I could not for the life of me understand what it was trying to say.

Threads of Fate Oracle Cards "Patience"
“Patience” from the Threads of Fate Oracle cards

Hello everyone. Are you enjoying your Sunday? I have been at my “home” office all day. I am chuckling at the moment, because when I was searching my phone’s image library, I noticed that photo from yesterday and suddenly, my entire Sunday makes sense. This, for once, is not a rant.

I’ve had the most insane day. I had a vague project deadline circa now: Thirty episodes for a Japanese/English animated series. Sounds fun, right? Except, the criteria changed three hours before I submitted the scripts for TEN episodes.

There is a budget issue. “Smaller budget: remove characters.” So I asked three friends to help me out of a jam. Halfway through, when I presented a snippet of the draft, the graphic artist/animator demanded I write the script for the trailer first.

Now, the reason his company hired me was that the project team was led by a talented graphic designer and animator who was not a writer. Because I understood that, I explained to him that the writing process is not linear. One never starts with the summary. It appears that way because that’s how a story is presented to us. But you can start in the middle and work your way backwards or forwards. You know what I’m talking about, right? You’re all writers.

Colors of love by Thomas Bergersen

And of course, I might be the most non-linear writer of them all. I was giggling because he probably thought I was being unreasonable.

I say, “Should we have notes on the first ten episodes and then write the trailer script, which will happen very fast because we will know what the story is all about?” Doesn’t budge.

That’s how four of us were at one point editing the same sentence at the same time. I would like to give a special big up to Google Docs for facilitating that. When we were all finally done tweaking the scripts, the graphic artist texted, “I’ll take a look in two hours because I am going out.”

What?! It’s 7 past 22 o’clock (two hours later) and he wants to have a meeting at 23 o’clock. I, on the other hand, will be going to bed.

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A short video, with thanks

(If you’re having any problems viewing the video embedded above, please tell me. It’s in my WordPress media library. The point of upgrading was to not have this issue, WordPreeeeeess.)

Thanks for coming over here to support me when I re-launched as a brand-new entity last Saturday.

Earlier, WordPress responded to the altar call and got right with the Lord, but is now backsliding and error coding my videos. I cannot penetrate this chaos with code, scripts, tags, or commands. Nothing can defeat it. And I have tried everything.

I wish you a brilliant, glitch-free Thursday. (It’s Friday.)

*Big ups to @TonyWijsVA (Twitter) for the ‘frustrated Kylo Ren’ voice over.

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That went well…

Hello everyone, I went and did another thing. Sabiscuit’s Catalog is now Saint Joan, a creative studio which will be work and/or play. It is evolving. Welcome, in every language.

Saint Joan Creative Studio by Lily Nicole
Saint Joan : Creative Studio

But, to be clear, I have done several things. One was to set my blog to private after WordPress said they were going to publish posts from other bloggers here. It was going to be a matter of time before some antisocial idiot ended up next to my art work.

Signed, sealed, delivered ….

During the break, I was writing a lot of scenes for my upcoming creative project. While doing some research on a character, I went so far down the digital rabbit hole, that when I shook myself awake, it was a brand new year.

Don’t get me started on what has happened already. I left you alone for three months and you bring dogecoin back? Not to mention, amid the mayhem on Wall Street, Demi Moore managed to break the Internet. This tells you that star power is real. Because, let’s be honest, how many of you wear $600 Fendi tights?

Saint Joan  Creative Studio by Lily Nicole
Creative Studio – I love books and retro stuff

Miraculously, after eight frustrating months, WordPress has finally allowed me to upgrade to my own domain. I am grateful for the buffer of time. This domain, saintjoan.studio, is named for the Congregation of St. Joan, an orthodox religion I created for my first novel, The Quarter Percent. It was referenced only once in the final chapter. However, a breakaway sect called St. Joan’s Parish is featured in the next novel. Special thanks go to Draculauren for interviewing me about both projects last year. It was a fun experience.

After brainstorming ideas, I thought the church needed a governing body that behaved like it was running a global sportswear brand. When I thought of the outrage this concept would induce, I decided to bring the Blessed Lady into this timeline.

How are you all doing? Please let me know.

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Better is one day

Better is one day, from Hymn by Sarah Brightman

Therapy is working. I had to complain to my therapist about this because, for two weeks, I have been staring at a wall of text that usually my brain would gather up and frappé into a poem.

However, my therapist and I have worked out my underlying issues. The stuff that was causing me to be codependent, passive-aggressive, resentful, angry, and vindictive had helped me to write poetry. There is no better way to cloak my hostility or deny my own needs. Now, the magic is gone. Nice job, doctor. 

I am able to confidently state my needs, and sometimes that involves screaming to the world that I’m not okay. This always happens when I am in traffic on Sundays, but I think that’s true for everyone. Anyway, she says I need to ping my brain with music. I say that it is a meditative process that only works for writing prose fiction. We also talk about feeling sad about the tragic passing of someone we all know.

After that conversation, I swear to Jesus, I went to YouTube and I see Sarah Brightman posed like the Columbia Torch Lady. I had no idea that she released an album in 2018. I listened out of curiosity, and realised that YouTube did not suggest this to me before because I avoid songs that praise the Lord Almighty, in English. I made a face at first, but it stuck and I had to play it again. The song is based on A German Requiem by Brahms. It sounds uplifting, cheerful, and transporting.

How did this happen? Google’s neural networks are getting better at listening to my private chats (!) and/or analysing my emails. I strongly suspect the latter because yesterday, I emailed myself the ecclesiastical portion of a coronation scene that I am writing. It’s for a new novel, but the machine believes that I’m Catholic or something. Oops.

I love the song. And I still can’t write poetry.

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Back on the Ferris wheel

My novel has been released into the wild, and I should be celebrating, but I am back on the Ferris wheel. I finally understand why some writers don’t even try. The book promotion game is not necessarily about self-confidence, diligence, originality, or skill. What happened?

THE QUARTER PERCENT is on Amazon.
FREE downloads through Friday, August 7.
Click that link and find out what the fuss is all about.

Playing with stickers on paper. Cucumber.

Friday, July 31, 06:20. I am on an influencer’s website binge-reading suggested articles. In twelve hours, it will dawn on me that this is an elaborate scheme to drive up page views and create demand for her services.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Onion.

Only an hour after expressing my confusion with her process, I see two blog posts demonstrating the effectiveness of promoting free books for a limited time. They presented statistics, and graphs, as well as screen captures. My plan should work fine, but the influencer insists that people will never download a free copy of a book unless it has at least ONE five-star review on Amazon.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Pink.

Keep calm, I get it: readers want to know what to expect, and they want to hear it from another reader. I completely agree. This is why I’m doing the promotion in the first place.

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Orange slice lip.

The influencer now advises me to get on social media and spend literally hundreds of hours tweeting and emailing strangers to ask them to read and review a free copy of my book. This contradicts her assertion that people won’t download my book unless it has reviews already.

Screen capture from my publisher’s desktop monitor. Click the image to grab a free copy from Amazon.

I go back to the first message I sent her. Sure enough, in my pitch, there is a longer description and a link to the trailer. There is also an invitation to download a free copy when the promotion starts. It takes me a full day to realise that “books with five-star reviews on Amazon” was code for “don’t wanna read it.”

Stickers on paper. Making faces: Cucumber eyes.

Her next suggestion is that I pay almost US$900 to an elite online book club in exchange for a single honest review by a team, on their website, a process that could take seven weeks.

I need to get off this Ferris wheel. I am told that I can’t promote my book without reviews, and that I won’t get reviews if I don’t promote my book. I stop reading, and in a panic, compose an email to my publisher.

🌺🧡💚❤️🌺

Paperback format available soon. Big ups to my publisher, StelaEVF, for making this possible. Thank you, everyone, for your support.

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Oh my gosh…

Google is doing a terrible job stalking me on my new iPhone SE. Look at the ad they showed me (renting out your property circa death) while I was watching that Nicki Minaj video. Like, what exactly are they trying to imply? The Anaconda music video is at 943 million views, so I know you all saw it.

I don’t want none of this ad, hon

I am preparing to publish my first novel, The Quarter Percent, while working on new projects. Hurricane Nisto is still angry but her story will unfold in a different part of this solar system.

The Quarter Percent pays homage to Greek tragedies and is written in an episodic format with a ‘time-as-protagonist’ feel. I wonder if I should worry that some readers may not understand this even after I have suggested “focus on the timeline” in the two blurbs and the trailer? The story itself is based on William Shakespeare’s play Lear of Britain. We meet King Cordial on a Sunday morning and almost two weeks later, on a Friday morning, … read the novel.

Don’t judge me…

I grew up around famous people and I know that for them, every problem is an image problem. The narrative style of The Quarter Percent is meant to illustrate the superficiality of this world. Quarter percenters are obsessed with what others think, and are doomed to live from one crisis to the next.

My question for you is do I need to create a long blurb for the back cover or should I trust readers to work things out for themselves?

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One is selling out, but will they buy it?

Image by Carolyn V via Unsplash.

For my next project, I was planning to sell out and write a romance novel. Not sure how, because I can’t even watch people kiss on telly. On top of that, real research with live participants is going to be a dead end, as I have no game.

After reading the treatment, I realised it wasn’t romantic. So I set it aside and tried to write a few scenes. Still nothing. To procrastinate, I googled name generators. That was when I spied an automatic romantic plot generator. The software gobbles up keywords and spews out plots in mere seconds. Here, you will see what I got when, just for fun, I tried it on for my new fiction project.

AUTO GENERATED PLOT

Madeleine Locke is a stunning, fit and focused actress. Her life is going nowhere until she meets Badger Mulroney, a slim, tall man with a passion for wealth. Madeleine takes an instant disliking to Badger and his stubborn and obsessive ways. However, when a stalker tries to smear Madeleine, Badger springs to the rescue. Madeleine begins to notice that Badger is naive at heart. But, the pressures of Badger’s job as an intimacy coach leave him blind to Madeleine’s affections. Madeleine focuses on fame to try and distract herself. Finally, when controlling model, Hurricane Nisto, threatens to come between them, Badger has to act fast. But will they ever find the sizzling love that they deserve?

Auto-generated plot for a romance novel

Brilliant! Even I couldn’t have come up with an outline as terrible as that on my own. Then, I wondered, “Is there, like, an automatic novel generator, because I don’t wanna, like, you know, write a whole novel?” The answer is, yes, there is.

I plugged in the name of my main character, some adjectives, emotions, objects, place names, et cetera, and put the software to work. This is supposed to be a romantic short story, but as you can see, the software does not believe me.

Image from Arno Senoner via Unsplash.

ANGRY HURRICANE NISTO
An auto-generated story

Hurricane Nisto looked at the shattered shovel in her hands and felt angry. She walked over to the window and reflected on her freezing surroundings. She hated isolated Skartoya with its greasy, glamorous glacier. Then she saw someone in the distance. It was Madeleine Locke, a stubborn diva with hot hands and tight legs. Hurricane gulped and glanced at her own reflection. She was an angry, obsessive, wine drinker with skinny hands and tall legs.

Once, she had rescued Madeleine’s career from a burning building. But not even an angry person was prepared for Madeleine today. The blizzard teased like posing cheetahs. As Hurricane stepped outside, Madeleine glared at her with all the wrath of 8,484 controlling vigorous vixens.

They looked at each other with frustrated feelings, like two crispy, calm cougars acting at a very ruthless press conference, which had violin music playing in the background, and two vile uncles shilling to the beat. Madeleine looked jealous, her emotions blushing like a smooth, stinky satellite antenna. Then she stepped inside for a nice drink of red wine.

THE END

Thank you for reading my word soup. Have a great weekend coming up.