Coffee heat rising

Taking a Brief Break…

“Brief” is the operative term. After several frantic weeks, things are cruising along on a fairly even keel just now, so I think I can take off a morning or so to rest and try to think. Actually, I should run out to a grocery store, but the crushing heat discourages one from venturing out of one’s burrow.

We are now ready with about a dozen racy bookoids for Camptown Races Press. That will provide about a month or six weeks’ worth of uploads, if we’re putting them online about every three or four days. With any luck, we’ll be able to run a month or so ahead of that.

Book V of Fire-Rider went online this morning: Kay’s Ghosts. After an angry confrontation leads Tavi to rebel against Kay’s apparent lack of empathy, Kay asks Tavi how he thinks he (Kay) came to learn the Espanyo language. In the absence of an answer, Kay’s horrifying personal story emerges, one that parallels Tavi’s and possibly even outdoes it.

Yesterday I spent some time trying to learn how to use Twitter. The “hashtag” thing has always been a mystery to me. I guess it amounts to a user-generated search term. Apparently you can found one simply by typing it into a tweet. And apparently you can associate a tweet of your own with a larger community (as it were) of people nattering on the same topic. Say, for example, something like “Camptown’s latest #eroticromance just went online at Amazon: http://bitly.hotsytotsy.”

The first experiment with Tweetvertising is branded (uhmmm… I guess that’s the term) with #FireRider, #postapocalyptic, #futurehistory, and #adventurestory. Now I need to find some cool things to share with readers, so I’m not just blitzing folks with ads.

Can you post images on Twitter?

What I don’t yet understand is what the “@” symbol is supposed to do. I think it’s some sort of identification badge.

And can you create a Twitter account or an entity in a new  name, or are you limited to one account? I think the FunnyAboutMoney Twitter persona was created way back in the day, by the delightful Mrs. Micah. (Remember her?)

Same question applies to FaceBook: can I create a site for Camptown RP and the Ladeez? Since certainly I can’t be blitzing my coreligionists, who comprise most of my FB “friends,” with news of lascivious literature.

Also yesterday I made an interesting discovery that will allow me to build a large and entertaining backlist quickly and easily. Better not discuss that here: it will soon become evident what I’m getting up to. It’s a stealable idea, and I think it’s best not tip my hand before the launch.

Working on learning how to make “boxed sets” compiling related bookoids under one electronic cover. You can do this cheaply using freeware called Gimp, but I think I’d rather have Gary Bennett, who designed the Fire-Rider cover, create the things, since he’s a pro, he has many years of experience with PhotoShop, and the result is likely to look a lot more professional than anything I could trick out in a program I don’t know.

Must decide today whether to cancel the New York Times.

The paper uses a local delivery service that also throws the Wall Street Journal and the Arizona Republic onto people’s driveways and into any available puddles. This delivery outfit just stinks. One of two specific reasons I canceled the Republic was that they used to call me on the phone about ten days before the bill was due and harass me to pay up right that minute, as though I were a deadbeat and was late on payment. (The other reason is that the Sunday paper contained nothing but advertising and went directly into the recycling bin without even being read.)

The Times wasn’t delivered either Saturday or Sunday. On Saturday, I don’t believe they came up our street at all: I walk the dogs before it gets too hot and so can see whose driveway has a dead tree on it.

I called and complained. No paper was ever forthcoming.

On Sunday (apparently as a consequence of my complaint), everyone else got a paper but I didn’t.

This is not the first time such a thing has happened, and it’s far from the first time I’ve complained about this bunch.

I have an “educator’s” discount for the Times, which makes it marginally affordable. Still, they’ve raised the bill with some regularity, to the extent that if I canceled that paper, I could use the money to subscribe either to the New York Review of Books (a favorite I can no longer afford) or to The Economist (a weekly that I’ve always coveted).

An online subscription comes with the dead-tree subscription to the Times. If you want to read the Times online only, you have to pay for the privilege. I don’t know if it’s a lot less. Nor do I know whether I would want to pay for the privilege: though I use it all the time to post links to Times articles, I usually find those articles first in the hard-copy version. And I do not find reading the thing on a tablet to be very alluring.

But even when they do deliver the damn thing, these days I rarely get a chance to read it. I’ll look at it while I’m bolting down breakfast, and then I’m launched into 14 or 18 hours of nonstop work. That means I may read maybe two or three pages. Why am I forking over money for that? At that rate, one issue of The Economist would provide reading material for an entire week of breakfasts.

I want to support the little high-quality journalism that survives in this country. But hell. Donating to Pro Publica or PBS would accomplish that.

Such a deal.


5 thoughts on “Taking a Brief Break…”

  1. You can sign up for multiple twitter accounts – I believe you just need to use different email addresses.

    Facebook officially frowns upon multiple accounts per person – but you can build what I believe are called “fan pages” to your heart’s content – I’m not sure if the pages are connected to your original FB account or not though?

  2. Spiffi is right – you can have multiple Twitter accounts, but they each need their own email address.

    Facebook Pages are connected to your regular Facebook account, in that you manage them through that account, but they don’t have your name or anything associated with them. Definitely set up your business imprints as Pages, rather than as their own people with their own logins – Facebook does not look kindly on businesses who act like people and will aggressively shut down accounts that do that.

    As far as Twitter goes, the @ symbol is used to identify people and to “call” them, in a sense. If I write to you on Twitter, “Hey FunnyAboutMoney, what’s going on?” you won’t necessarily see that show up in your timeline, or even get a notification that I want to talk with you. But if I write, “Hey @FunnyAboutMoney, what’s going on?” you’ll get an email, or another notification, that I mentioned you in a tweet. You can have conversations with people by using their Twitter handles in tweets, and it’s a good way to get in touch with people who don’t already follow you.

    I think of Twitter as a good way to find out what’s going on in the world right now. A lot of its utility depends on who you follow. Personally, about one-third of my followers are people I know personally or have met online in some capacity; one-third are celebrities, bloggers, and other news sources; and one-third are people in the local or national hockey community or hockey players. (I like hockey.)

  3. Funny it pains me to hear of the poor newspaper service….In another life I was a distributor for the local paper…a pretty good one. And if one was willing to work….a comfortable living could be made. I was a featured guest one Winter on a local news program when bad weather was the headline. It was a pretty big deal as one of the VP’s caught me on air and saw my “tattered sweat shirt” with the company logo….The following day with my newspapers came a box with three new sweatshirts….with a note from Mike (the VP)….to “please wear these when on camera….keep up the good work”….I still have one left. In those days I had an hour to deliver a “missed paper”. And there were incentives for good customer service. I was able to take my family to Disney World not once but twice…air fare included….all expenses paid on the Company dime…. It appears that ship has sailed…
    As for today’s newspapers….they are a shadow of their formal self and the folks bringing me my paper make right around $300…7 days a week…out of which they must pay their own auto expenses….hardly a profitable endeavor. I recently renewed my subscription for this paper on the Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday plan….for $9.93….A YEAR….that’s right 52 weeks… Which to me is just crazy.
    But like you I enjoy the New York Times BUT the price is prohibitive….like $6.50 for the Sunday paper. I do get to read it at the library when I’m in there….it is a good paper and I see things in there I see no where else….Anyway to get the NYT thru the mail or on line….?

    • That’s a thought, thanks! Dunno whether they’ll let me do that with the “educator’s discount,” but it’s sure worth asking!!

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