First and most important, how are we all feeling about the divorce of Tom Cruise and my best friend Katie Holmes? I'm so glad that this was not oddly foreshadowed by my novel, Hollywood Car Wash, which is about a made-up relationship that is just for publicity and is not at all a roman a clef about them. Nope. You'll also notice that they've made this announcement on a Friday to give it the weekend to die down a little, and that it came AFTER his movie "Rock of Ages" came out, for which she did few to no effusive red-carpet appearances.
So, hi! It's Friday again, and I have two blog posts again. On my other blog, I have challenged a well-known author to a self-publishing cage match, so we'll see how that goes. Should be good for a laugh.
On the "Funny Strange" tip, I'm wondering-- do you buy dog food at Petco? I noticed recently they changed their rewards system, and the new one is laughably complicated. It used to simply consist of the following offer: you buy ten bags of dog food, you get one free. This was fine with me, as I really only buy dog food at Petco and don't spend alot of time or mental energy there. I just noticed that they re-launched, though, and now their rewards program has some kind of algorithm, the info graphic of which looks like this:
Wow. This is like a complicated piece of math, whereby a small dog bowl plus a tennis ball plus some scissors equals some kind of acrrual of an unknown amount of reward points that I am unsure how to redeem, making me go "What the whaaaaat? Are you going to discount my dog food or not, Petco?"
I'm sorry-- I do marketing and search engine optimization as part of my job and I would rather not think algorithmically when it comes to dog food. I fail to understand how marketing departments think stuff like this is a good idea. Here's another example: in New York, the D'Agostino grocery stores also have something like this where you earn a certain amount of points per purchase and and you can apply those points to certain other purchases when you check out, and the checkers will say things that they don't realize sound completely absurd, like "Do you want to use your 11 points on those bananas?" and you're like "I'm just hungry, I don't want to do math. Why don't you apply it wherever it makes sense?"
My point here is that I think it's funny when companies want their customers to put brain power into their made-up rewards programs and they actually think that this is going to prompt increased engagement, when what programs like this actually do is make me stop using them altogether. I predict that a year from now they will go back to giving me the 11th bag of dog food for free, because they will hear feedback about how confusing this new system is.
Or maybe they're trying to get me to not engage their rewards program, which would also be interesting. All this "dog food algebra" experiment has accomplished so far is to make me check the other pet store down the street to see if I can get the same dog food for a better price. Awesome job, Petco marketing department!
I must admit, I got this idea straight from Thoughts from Paris, which is a cool blog by a guy whose last name is Paris (not a blog about a guy living in Paris, which is totally what I thought too). See, this is the power of the internets/ social media-- one minute last weekend I was just sitting here, backing up my computer (what, you don't do that on Sunday? WHY NOT?), and the next minute I glanced at Twitter, happened to see a friend tweet about this, went over to this guy's blog, and now I am his fan. BAM! Just like that. I find his writing to be refreshing and funny, and he had one quote in particular that made me laugh out loud, about how he's riding a bike to work with his dog in a backpack and some teenagers almost run him over, and how he's so mad about this (mostly because he doesn't want the dog to get hurt), he wants to "beat the [teenagers] senseless in front of their mothers." Also, I really like the graphic design of his blog, which is something I do not find myself saying (or thinking) very often, so it's worth pointing out.
His blog reminded me that while I spend alot of time talking about myself and my books on here as well as tweeting pictures of clowns and weird food, I could be using this blog for good (and not for evil), giving back to you guys and maybe even connecting you to other people who you might think are funny and cool, or who might help you accomplish something in your life, or....how do I know? I'm not psychic, ok?
So, here's your chance. Do you have a blog? Please post it in the comments, and also I'm going to take the prompt from Thoughts From Paris and ask you to kindly leave a thank-you poem when you're done.
I will enjoy finding out about some new blogs, and you will get a nice backlink out of it.
Comments are open!
Today I have written two posts! One is over on my other blog, Book Promotion.com, and is just talking about trends in the publishing industry (though it is kind of funny in places, because it is hot outside and I am feeling ranty). The other, this one, is also book-related-- telling you more about my new book that just came out!
Hey, is now a good time to tell you more about my new book, How to Market a Book? I know, the title is super generic to the point of almost being funny, and my co-author (Katherine Sears, CMO of Booktrope Publishing) and I actually did that on purpose. We talk to writers every single day, and we wanted them to have a place to go where they could just start feeling empowered about their platforms (including websites, social media, networking, etc). We’re really proud of the book and it’s already been doing really well (Amazon bestseller status in its category all this week! Holla!), so it’s getting out there, and that it super awesome.
Here are some of the things we cover in the book, in case you’re on the fence (though, for $4.99 for the Kindle edition, honestly, you can’t beat the deal. I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but it would cost you an arm and a leg if you wanted to sit both of us down and get that much info out of us).
Websites. Wordpress.org vs. Wordpress.com vs. Blogspot, and which one you absolutely, positively must be using in order to make sure you are maintaining your rights to your own content.
Facebook. Are you using a Facebook profile to market your books? If so, you are probably violating Facebook’s Terms of Service and you need to stop right now. Luckily, there is a super easy solution for this that you can put in place and start using today so that you’re covered and don’t have to worry about this (though honestly, if you’re still using your profile to market commercial stuff, don’t you kind of KNOW you’re not supposed to be doing that?)
Twitter. WHAT. IS THE DEAL. WITH TWITTER? Katherine has a super awesome analogy for all of these social media sites, which I will entice you to go and buy the book to read. She equates each one to a different type of social event and urges to you act accordingly.
Also, this book is absolutely PACKED with other stuff you’ve probably been curious about at one time or another, that we just go through and explain to you in case you love it and want to use it to market your book, like Pinterest, and Triberr, and Instagram, and Posterous, and Klout, and Scribd, and Squidoo, and StumbleUpon, to name just a few, and I am naming just a few, BECAUSE I TOOK SCREENSHOTS OF EVERY SINGLE ONE SO YOU WOULD KNOW WHAT THEY LOOKED LIKE, dude.
There is even a chapter on doing your website yourself (including SEO/ keyword research), because honestly, I think you should be able to do that stuff yourself if you’re on a budget, and I want to help you.
That’s it! We’re really happy with the book and we’ve been getting some nice feedback, and we’d both so appreciate it if you picked up a copy and either used it yourself, or gave it to someone you know who is trying to get their book out there. If you’re a writer, it really it pretty great to have people you don’t even know reading your books, and I want to help people do that as much as possible.
Hey, were you excited when you heard that Dallas was coming back? I kind of was, although as it turns out, I'm a little more cynical now than when I was 8 and it was on the first time and my mom would let me stay up late and watch it with her and I totally wanted to be a mogul like J.R. Ewing. Last week I watched the new Dallas pilot while I was on the treadmill, and I ended up wanting to make so many snarky notes, I had to get OFF the treadmill, re-start the show, and create what has become a scene-by-scene guide to the pilot, complete with a drinking game for every time someone mentions Miss Ellie, because I'm pretty sure the writers of this version are trying to tell us that we must never, ever forget that the patriarchal structure of Dallas was built by a MATRIARCH, dammit! Don't forget Miss Ellie, y'all!
I want to make sure we get this game all laid out before the next episode, so I'll just go through my notes with you now, ok? Oh, and by the way, this post is basically just all spoilers, so don't even bother if you still have it DVR-ed and you want to be surprised. Don't say I didn't warnyou.
Here we go. The new Dallas opens on Jordana Brewster, looking like a young (ish) Demi Moore, drilling for oil (which I will now spell AWLL, because that's how they say it in Dallas), then striking AWLL, then celebrating with "John Ross," who we're assuming is the young J R. They are supposed to be the "new generation" of Dallas, so we think they're in their twenties, although I'm guessing Jordana Brewster is more like 35, because she seems to be frozen by Botox and looks like she's extremely hungry, if you know what I mean. By the way, in case you're curious, Jesse Metcalfe is famous for being shirtless on Desperate Housewives. They strike AWLL, and they're celebrating "finally bring able to drill on Southfork."
Hold up--wait, really, no one's ever drilled on Southfork? I feel like the whole show in the eighties was them fighting over AWLL money. I may have to get the box set of the old seasons, or at least get my best Wikipedia-fu going so I can figure out what they were actually fighting over.
Next scene-- Bobby (Patrick Duffy from the original cast) is at the doctor's office. He has cancer that he wants to keep secret , because that always works out really well. Is now a good time to say that Patrick Duffy's still got it? In case you're wondering, yes, Patrick Duffy was the Jesse Metcalfe of the eighties.
Next scene-- J.R. now suffers from clinical depression and a clinical inability to trim his eyebrows. Ooooh, snap-- karmic credit plan in action! He also got shot and many other shenanigans.
Note-- how excited were we to hear that "Dallas" theme music? Thank you TNT for keeping it the same.
Noteworthy-- Bobby is apparently now married to Brenda Strong, who you'll remember as the Desperate Housewife who committed suicide and then narrated the whole series. Does this mean that Victoria Principal is otherwise engaged? I'm pretty bummed about this. I'm guessing they didn't make her a good enough deal to take her away from selling the Principal Secret, because Victoria Principal is one of those eighties actresses who is now a multimillioniare business mogul like Suzanne Somers (laugh it up, she could buy your city). Anyhow, it's good to see Brenda Strong actually acting on-camera rather than just narrating and appearing occassionally in a flashback.
Minute 18:00-- First Miss Ellie reference. Drink! Barbara Bel Geddes died in 2005, in case you're curious. Miss Ellie was holding that place together, and without her it has descended into frakking chaos. You know it's true.
19:25-- Miss Ellie! drink!
20:00-- Christopher is not a real Ewing? Again, perhaps a trip through the Dallas box set is in order.
21:00-- Bobby discusses a land conservancy with someone from California who is apparently named Mr. Booby. Has having cancer turned Bobby into a hippie and stripped him of his sense of irony? Also, drink! Miss Ellie!
23:00-- Drink! Miss Ellie! x 3
Side note: Christopher is harvesting methane, and methane is also what farts are made from. There, I said it. Also, apparently harvesting methane causes earthquakes in China. Is that a real thing?
28:00: Drink! My grandma! My grandma is Miss Ellie!
29:00: Drink! Miss Ellie!!
Side note: Thorazine be damned! Bobby selling Southfork to turn it into a park is just enough hippie talk to snap J.R. out of his clinical depression. You will have to pry that AWLL out of his cold, dead hands! Maybe now we can talk about those eyebrows.
29:51: Drink! My mama!
39:00-- I love it how people on TV shows can't Google, so they use search engines called "WebtimeSearch.".
41:00: Bobby is taking a helicopter ride with Marta from Arrested Development who is totally hoping to buy Southfork and turn it into Bug Sur. Drink x 3, with a double for "no lady was ever more competent than my mama."
42:00: Charlene Tilton! Omg!! Is now a good time to say that Charlene Tilton should have worn sunscreen and laid off the Cheetos? Oh! Harsh!
44:00 Speaking of time passing, Linda Gray looks amazing. Does she know the Principal Secret? If you're new to Dallas, yes....that is just....the way she talks.
49:00: Apparently Christopher and the Cook's daughter were the victim of a Romeo and Juliet type breakup hoax on their wedding day. She still needs to let that Botox relax.
51:00: Hey, is that Big & Rich in the group of wedding guests?
Side note: they keep saying "methane" and I keep thinking "farts.". Will this go away?
53:00 Yes, that is Adele's "turning tables" in case you're curious.
55:00 Drink! My mama!
Also, in case you're curious, J.R. is famous for lines like "AWLL is my birthright, son! " this trait is now being passed on to his son, with one liners like " the fun is just beginning."
So, ok, first let’s address the seemingly strange issue that I was away from this blog for a little while, and then to mark my return, I didn’t write up a whole “what I’ve been doing” blog post like this one, all filled with pictures and links and things to see.
Instead, I Tweeted a picture of a clown, just to break the ice. Had to be done, sorry!
Actually, I Tweeted a picture of a bizarre clown wig that was labeled “Neon Afro Wig,” taken at a party store where I went at least six times in preparation for my friend’s baby shower. To prepare for this baby shower, I swear I turned into Helen from Bridesmaids with the overplanning, and probably not in a good way. But, the shower was yesterday, it was great, and I made cake pops, which looked like this:
Omg! So nice! So hard to make! It’s going to take a whole ‘nother blog post to explain the nervous breakdown I had while making them. A word to the wise: this video is clearly designed to make you feel inferior and to have this nervous breakdown, as it makes the making of the pops seem overly simple, WHICH I ASSURE YOU IT IS NOT. I should have known that any recipe starting with “bake two cakes” was not going to end by midnight, right? Also, how the HELL did they have the time to make that cute, twee little song for the background? Isn't that song almost mocking you? I kind of hate it.
I’m not posting pictures or anything about the baby shower, and you can't see any of the people in that photo on purpose, because the expectant mom doesn’t want me to, and you know what? Good for her. I feel that. Let her have a private moment in this overexposed social media age, for the love of crap. So, that’s why I wasn’t talking about that, and I'm not going to start, except to say that everyone had a great time and that the cake pops WERE SO GOOD.
Moving on. This is what ELSE I’ve been working on over the past month or so.
That’s enough of an action-packed update for now, but I did want to let you know that I am here and super busy, but that you should feel free to drop me a line or leave me a comment to say hi or whatever. I miss hearing from you guys!
Or really, maybe I’m just writing this post to get all of these formalities out of the way so that when I post a scene-by-scene snarky breakdown of the Dallas premiere last week, you don’t feel like “You never write, THEN YOU WRITE ABOUT DALLAS? WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?”
I feel like maybe the Funny Strange audience is split down the middle with people who want to hear what is going on with my life and people who just come for the pictures of clowns and weird food, don’t you ? Sometimes I wonder.
Anyhow, look around, get the marketing book, and tomorrow I will be back with some Dallas commentary that I promise will make you laugh and forgive my absence.