Thursday, August 28, 2008

Science, Sales and School

The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives. ~Robert Maynard Hutchins

We did an inadvertent science experiment the other day. My DH had picked a bunch of wild blueberries at his uncle's, and brought them home in a sealed, plastic container which I popped into my fridge.

Three days later, I realized I needed to wash and freeze them or they were going to rot away into a massive blob of purple goo. So, I dumped them into my colander and began the sorting process: berries vs. sticks and stems and leaves and... ACK! A spidey. A very much alive and active spidey, despite being deprived of air and left in a fridge for three days!

I put his happy little self outside and went back to work sorting: berries vs. sticks and stems and leaves and... ACK! A Japanese beetle! A sluggish, all but dead Japanese beetle. His little legs moved VERY weakly as I grabbed him (ick,ick,ick -- they have pokey little legs and they crunch and EWWWW... I do NOT like them). His not-so happy self got thrown into my potty and sent to the septic. Blech.

Still... it was amazing at the difference between the two. Happy, healthy, active spidey vs. all but dead Japanese beetle.

Okay, so maybe y'all aren't as fascinated by it as I was... lol...


I've been contemplating online promotion -- what works and what doesn't. I had an author approach me regarding advertising on LASR and she asked what I would suggest.

Now, I love the LASR site and we get quite a bit of traffic (yay!), but I am also an author on limited funds, and so try to balance the two and be honest.

So... truth is, a good many people who visit our site are looking to enter the contests. BUT, they are all voracious readers (I've gotten to know a good many of them and they're incredibly sweet) and probably buy more than they try to win.

Of the LASR advertising, what works best? Most likely the author spotlight -- the potential readers get to know you AS A PERSON, and I think that can make a significant difference in whether they eventually buy your stuff.

Same goes for the author interview and the Q&A session in the Yahoo group the following day IF (and this is the kicker) --IF you handle the Q&A the right way. We have several hundred members in our group, but most are lurkers. This is probably true of most promotional Yahoo groups. You need to entice them to come forward and gab. You need to keep the conversation moving. It is up to the AUTHOR to make sure it is a successful day, not the group members. And, again, this enables your potential readers to get to know you. People support folks they know and like.

What about the book cover/banner ads and the author pages? We're working hard to direct traffic to both of those places by asking contest questions pertaining to them. As a reader, I find that if I keep seeing an author's name or book cover eventually I'll get curious enough to look into what it's all about. So, although you may not get zillions of click-throughs or sales immediately following or during your ad run, each time your cover or banner is viewed it adds to the exposure.

The biggest thing though? Websites and blogs. And, PROFESSIONAL websites. Nowadays, as cheaply as you can buy hosting, there is NO reason to have your website on a freeweb (with all those stinky ads and unprofessional setups). The company who hosts both my personal site and the LASR site is only $4 a month. Four. Dollars. I know that as a reader, when I click through and see freeweb sites, I am completely turned off. If the author doesn't take themselves seriously enough to have a "real" site, then I can't take them seriously either.

And there you have all my sage wisdom for the day.



We're struggling with DD's curriculum. When I originally installed it, I had disabled her ability to access the internet (for obvious reasons). Now, her curriculum has links built in to the reading, but I figured they were just additional information and not absolutely necessary to the lesson. I figured wrong. Yesterday she took a quiz and could NOT answer one question. I looked in her reading and couldn't find the answer either, so I checked and discovered that the ONLY way she could get the answer was by clicking on an internet link.

Well... I'm not thrilled about that, but okay. I increased all the security to the maximum available and changed it in the admin part. But it didn't take. And when I tried to go back in... nothing happened. Click. Clickety-click. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

Okay... rebooting. Dang... it decides to auto-install updates. Two hours later, it's finally done.

Okay. Open up the admin software, click on the link. Nothing. Like the link wasn't there.

By this time, it's 3:00, DD hasn't gotten much of her school done and I can't get the stupid teacher software to do anything.


Maybe computer based learning wasn't the best idea after all.


What Your Taste in Chocolate Says About You

You are sophisticated, modern, and high class.

Your taste is refined, but you are not picky.

You are often the first to try something new.

You are energetic and quick to act.

You are open minded, and you easily adopt new social causes.

While your heart is in the right place, you often can't follow through with your dreams.

You love being around people. Friendships are important to you.

You feel lost when you're by yourself... so you tend to avoid being alone.

Okay.. so TOTALLY not me.



Diane Craver said...

Thanks for the information about promoting on LASR! Very interesting!

MomJane said...

I still can't help looking at my very pale pink geraniums looking for Japanese Beetles. And they don't even have them here, thank goodness. I didn't know they liked blueberries. Don't remember seeing them on the bushes.

I don't write, but you were right on in what I look for when I browse books.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Some of the computer-based learning stuff is a mess. If you want to write me and let me know which program, I might be able to help (we tried to darned many!)

Melissa said...

Thanks for your take on web promotion!

Hugs on the computer problems. My sister uses K12 and swears by it. I don't know though if she puts some kind of filter though on where they can go on the computer.

Tori Lennox said...

*hugs* on the curriculum issues. That's pretty stupid on their part. If nothing else, they should tell you up front!

Brandy said...

We used a computer based curriculum when Daughter was in the 3rd grade. That was the first and last year for it. Hugs and luck on getting the links working.

As a reader it's interesting to read how authors promote their work. *g*

Have a good day and hope you find no more bugs!

Amy said...

Spiders and beetles in your blueberries?

::faints dead away::

If that ever happened to me, I'd NEVER eat fresh blueberries again. NEVER EVER EVER.

We had a spider building a web in the upper corner of our sliding glass door. I got to the backyard by going around the front and using the gate until Husband moved the spider to another location.