Category Archives: Site Updates

Branding: Some Things I Want to Try

Lately I’ve been reading up on social media, and gathering tips on how to use it to further my brand. Specifically, I’ve been reading Social Media for Writers by Tee Morris & Pip Ballantine, and taking note of its suggestions about the many platforms available to me, the writer, and the ways I can use those platforms to reach you, the reader. I’ve also been looking up insightful blogs from writers like Dave Bricker at The World’s Greatest Book, Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer, and Kimberley Grabas at Your Writer Platform to widen my range of understanding. And, I must say, I’ve learned a lot from each of these sources.

I’ve also learned that my “brand” is kind of a mess.

When I started writing many years ago, my interest was solely in telling stories. At some point, my range of stories grew from fiction, to personal narratives, to speculative philosophy, to speculative fictional philosophies based on personal narratives, mainly because my interests in connecting with people has changed much since that day I decided I wanted to give writing a try. And in that vast space of time, I have acquired a wealth of material, and pretty much nowhere to put any of it. Ideas may have been consistent to themselves, yet inconsistent to each other, and I’d keep building on them in the hope that someday I’d “crack their code” and turn them into something readers could experience. And sometimes I was pretty sure I’d cracked those codes, even if they didn’t systematically crack each others’ codes.

But I also had three problems going along with those assumed cracked codes:

  1. I have a hard time throwing things away. So, rather than let my good, if not inconsistent ideas linger in the void, I’d just put them on display like a proud adult man who shows off pictures to complete strangers of not just his kids, but also his dog, his truck, and his annual income.
  2. Branding requires consistency, according to the books and the blogs. Inconsistency confuses people.
  3. No one will care about the works I have on display if no one’s here to read it, and they won’t come to read if they don’t why they should.

Obviously, for someone who’s a better writer than marketer, specifically for one who makes his “brand” about whatever is currently on his mind, this is a conundrum. How do I keep doing what I’m doing and still get people coming back if what I want to write about today isn’t thematically in line with what I want to write tomorrow?

Well, I’ve been giving it some thought lately, and I want to try a new system. This system would inevitably focus on practical things, fun things, and other things as much as it would focus on my writing things. But how would it lean focus on such ambiguously defined themes and still somehow force a “brand” on me?

Here’s what I’m thinking:

My main goal for this site is to express my thoughts. It’s always been about that. Sometimes it includes a review of something. Sometimes it talks about an idea I’ve had. Sometimes it hypes something I’m working on or trying to sell. It’s all about the things that concern me.

But, not everyone who comes to this site is looking for every type of post I make. So, I think I want to give a calendar system a try.

For example, Sundays are usually relaxing days for some, church days for others, so I figure that can be the day I post inspirational things. Mondays start with M, so that can be a miscellaneous kind of day. And so on. Each day can have its own theme. BUT, let’s be clear that I’m pretty busy without blogging every day, so not every theme will be met every week. I would like to try to stay weekly or biweekly on one or two themes a week.

How ever it goes down, and however frequently I post, here is a sample calendar of themes I may try for soon:

  • Inspirational Sunday – includes quotes, spiritual matters, life advice, and so on.
  • Miscellaneous Monday – mainly fun things like “Beach Photos of the Week” and other things that have no real category.
  • The Tuesday Review – where I talk about the movie I saw or the book I read.
  • Writer Wednesday – where I talk about writing, books on writing, the life of writing and so on.
  • Throwback Thursday – because why not? I’ll probably use this as my reminder of past posts day, or my link to other bloggers I like day. I don’t know. This one’s in the air.
  • Friday Hype Day – when I talk about my books.
  • Saturday Fun – when I focus on fun things.

Now, I’m one man, and I don’t have machinery in my bones, so I won’t actually be posting every day. What I want out of this is to have a plan for the days in which I offer certain types of posts. So, if you’re here for some writing tips, check in on Wednesday to see what’s new. If you want to see a cool beach picture, check in on Monday. No promises that there will be something new that particular week, but check anyway! Maybe this is the day you’ll read that post you’ve always been hoping for.

Obviously, announcements and time-sensitive posts will be in the moment, regardless of day. Just keep checking for those as you think about it.

So, that’s what’s on my mind. If you like this idea, let me know in the comments. If you want to find out what’s new, subscribe.

Oh, and if you want a review on Social Media for Writers by Tee Morris & Pip Ballantine, come back here soon. Reviews on writing books will happen on Wednesdays (when they happen). I do plan to make that a thing.

And just for kicks, this postscript will make this post clock in at a cool, sleek, awesome, amazing, rounded 1000 words.

 

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A Recap of Important Events: Amazon Edition!

January 2, 2016:

So, if you’ve been paying attention to this blog in the last week, you may have noticed some subtle updates or mentions about the work I’ve been doing over my Christmas vacation. If you haven’t been paying attention, then let me catch you up on some things:

1) The day after Christmas, I finally released my long-in-production series starter for A Modern-day Fantasy, called Cannonball City. Or, to put it more realistically, I released the introductory version of the story, which takes the core elements of the first three books and combines them into a single yearlong tale. It’s about a tennis star who must undergo an identity shift to keep one step ahead of the murderous stalker who’s hunting him and people like him down like dogs. It’s a free e-book at Smashwords and its distribution channels (Barnes & Noble, et al.) and clocks in at a whopping 270,000+ words. It’ll take a while to finish it, but it’s a fun journey I’ve been told. Click on its store page to check it out. The trilogy of books it’s based on will be released at a later date.

cannonball city cover art version 1p
Cover Image for “Cannonball City: AMDF, Year One”

2) After seven months of e-book publishing, I’ve finally ported all of my existing titles to Amazon. Each book has its respective link already listed on its page. Click your book of preference to check it out. Note: Amazon does not allow authors to set their prices at “free,” so each free book on Smashwords costs $.99 at Amazon.

3) Not only have I ported all of my e-books to Amazon, but I’ve also made paperback editions of them. More specifically, I’ve made a paperback edition of The Computer Nerd (354 pages), retailing at $14.99, and a paperback collection of the shorter stories in a single volume called Zippywings 2015: A Short Story Collection (644 pages), retailing at $21,99. Why should you buy these instead of the cheaper e-book versions? Well, because they’re actual books you can hold and flip pages and smell and stuff. I’m still waiting for my copies, so I can’t yet vouch for the print quality, but I know they’re the best we’ll have until I gain the interest of a traditional publisher. As of now, each book can be bought at Amazon or CreateSpace. I’ve selected “Expanded Distribution” as an option, so other online retailers should have them in the next six to eight weeks. It’s why I can’t price either book any cheaper, otherwise I would. Both books can be purchased through the links provided at their respective store pages.

zippywings 2015 title 2
Cover Image for “Cannonball City: AMDF, Year One”

If you purchase any of my books, please leave a review. The more feedback I hear, the more I learn, and the better I can make my next book(s).

If you’re not sure whether to buy from Amazon or CreateSpace, let me give you a couple of facts:

Buying from Amazon will better improve my market sales rating, and will allow you to review directly on the site (something of which I need a lot of, whether positive or negative–because a comprehensive review is better than one man’s opinion). Buying from CreateSpace will give me a higher royalty. So, before you buy, decide which bonus you’d rather bestow on me (the author), publicity or royalty.

Option #3, of course, is to save your money for something you actually need.

4) I made the announcement for it yesterday, but in case you missed it, I now have a header page for “Promotions,” which will keep you informed of any specials I’m running on my books, including coupon codes. Check it out if you want to pick up my books and save money doing it.

5) I finally released the cover for my upcoming novel, Teenage American Dream. Actually, I’ve attached covers to all of the books listed in the “Future Stories” category, but the other two have already gotten covers attached to their store pages at Smashwords. As of now, Teenage American Dream is the only one that will release with its existing cover. The other two have temporary covers. They will become permanent only if my actual plans for their covers fall through.

So, that’s the summation of my busy holiday break. If I have time tomorrow, I’ll talk about my goals for 2016. Hope your New Year is off to a good start.

Coupon Codes Available

January 1, 2016:

First off, Happy New Year. Hope you had a good one.

Secondly, I’ve added a new page to the site header for “Promotions.” Check here if you want to receive any of my books at discount. Note that coupons for unreleased books are posted in advance, but won’t be usable until the day of release. As of now, codes are available for Smashwords e-books only.

Thirdly, I have my first review of The Computer Nerd, posted yesterday! The reviewer didn’t like it, so you know I didn’t pay him off. 😉 But if you would like to form your own opinion, please check it out. For reference, the review can be read here.

Note: I appreciate getting feedback about specifics issues if you don’t like what I wrote. Helps me write a better book next time.

2015 Stats are in

It’s probably true that I’m the only person who cares about this, but I’m a fan of that thing called disclosure, and if I can provide info that might help others learn what to and what not to do, then I’m going to share it. So, if you’re into blogging, publicity, numbers, or some combination of the three, then you might appreciate this end of the year report on the activities of Drinking Cafe Latte at 1pm in 2015:

https://zippywings.wordpress.com/2015/annual-report/

This is way better than my 2014 results. I think I had a total of 76 visits at the end of last year, even though I had established the blog that March. So, this was a good blogging year. I’m sure I have a certain post about hoverboards to thank mostly for that.

P.S. I’ve recently updated my header tabs with a “Series Books” selection. I think I’ll also set up a reports page in the About section for future reference. Anyway, the more you know…

P.P.S. I don’t think the report takes this post into account. So, it’s relevant to everything I posted in 2015 before this post. Maybe. I don’t know how this works. I don’t remember ever getting a report this fancy in 2014. But I like it. I’m a fan of numbers, even if I am a writer who got his degree in English and never wants to take another math class again.

New Site Content

October 18, 2015

Just a quick note to new and returning readers, I’ve recently updated Drinking Cafe Latte at 1pm‘s upper toolbar with hotlinks to important pages. For the longest time, I’ve wanted to do this, but I wasn’t quite sure how. This week, I’ve finally figured out how to make this place look a little more professional, so I’ve spent a couple of nights updating various background locations.

Here’s a quick guide on what each new menu selection offers:

About: This was always up there, but it was generic and reflective of the blog’s early intention. I’ve since updated it to highlight my new vision for Drinking Cafe Latte at 1pm, as well as to offer some information about me personally. If nothing else, you can click on it to see what I look like. Sorry, if you were expecting George Clooney.

Contact: If you need to get a hold of me for any reason–you want to interview, guest post, get a free e-book, etc.–here’s how to reach me.

Policies: This is mainly about my books, present and future, and explains my policies on pricing, giveaways, publishing, cover art, etc. Read this if you want to know the nitty-gritty on why I make the decisions I do. I’m open to criticism if you think you have a better plan than what I present.

My Books: This is where you can quick-access my books’ pages for content information and links to their respective shops, reviews, and other relevant content. In the near future, you’ll also be able to access chapter samples from here. Note that every available book can also be accessed from the cover photos down the right margin of the page, or in the hotlinks on the left side (though, those are much harder to find).

Future Books: A direct link to the page dedicated to my upcoming books. This is updated periodically, so it’s worth checking out from time to time. Also provides links to previously released books.

So, that’s a brief overview of the new menus. I’ll create another post like this if I add anything new or make changes to an existing page down the road. I realize that after spending a year and a half on WordPress I should already know how to do this, but I take a little longer to learn how to do Web-related things than others do. The important thing is that I’ve learned it, and that’s what makes us stronger.

Oh, and I just recently finished reading a great book on blogs if you’re new and clueless on how to make yours work according to your needs an interests. Look up Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton, or visit her site at http://bloggingforwriters.info/ if you want some tips on how to make yours bigger and better (or smaller and better, if that’s your goal). It’s a couple of years old now, but still good in my opinion. I learned a lot more from it than I ever did from doing this on my own. Definitely recommended if you have a blog and you feel like you’re drowning in it, and no one’s coming to help you swim, or to read it.