Wallet Name, Politics, Blogging

One of the great things about blogging in this particular day and age is that even if you only very rarely write about a particular subject,  it’s still completely practical to keep a free blog where you publish your only very occasional pieces about , say, politics.    Shhhhh.    Please don’t tell.   But this going on 50 something guy who mostly tries not to talk about politics online….actually has a (very rarely updated) blog where he tries to talk about politics.   With all of the respectfulness and intellectual fairness he tries to bring to everything he writes about,  including himself.        I’m not in fact terrified that some of my conservative friends might click through.   (Honestly there are like a total of five articles on there and while all of them are about politics…they are also all rather personal in the same way that my entries on this blog are always an essayish combination of journal and topical post.    If you click on any of my categories you will find an array of posts with genuinely useful information about all of the subjects in my categories.

CapitaL eLs  was created largely in order to have a place to post something I wrote for some contest on Blog Catalog,   a site I used to hang out on a lot,  and where I met a number of wonderful people who continue to be Facebook friends,  indeed Facebook friends whom I genuinely value for the glimpses into their worlds and interests that they share with me online.    Facebook is a great place to chat with people whom you like and respect,  even if you only chat with them occasionally.    I’ve come to realize that I don’t actually want to know who subscribes to my Facebook stream.    I generally don’t subscribe to any individual streams if we are not Facebook friends.   And I have liked a thousand pages or so,  but I am quick to unlike if I find a page is cluttering or otherwise not adding value to my Facebook stream.

And one of the great things about having a personal blog is that it can be a good place to promo and link, even though only in this one post to my largely neglected political blog.  where it just so happens that I just now published a  new post,   a kind of riff across a Washington Post column about Obama and the “Youth Vote”.    If you choose to take a look,   that would be great and if you don’t want to hear me riffing about the coming (and not a day too soon) US Presidential election,   don’t look.    You’re welcome to subscribe or comment on any of the posts.   And to a very real extent I am the same me I am here when I am over there.    This is the only Google AdSense blog I still have.   (I am one of the zillions of people who were so excited about AdSense,  until after years they have accumulated 28 dollars in earnings and wonder if they will ever reach the one hundred dollar earnings threshold to actually be able to cash in on this “blog income”,   earned over a number of sites over all these many years.   There’s a lesson in here for new bloggers,  but I can’t quite hashtag it,  which makes This post hard to promote  🙂

Full Circle

Blogging has been, truly, a long strange trip for me.   I started a site on Blogspot on June 1, 2007,  largely to keep up with a couple of very long-time dear friends, whom I mostly kept up with via their blogs.  (Hi Ron!, Hi Bev!)    Since that first uncertain post,  almost four years ago now,  my life has been through so many changes, ups, downs, ins and outs that I am hardly the person I was then.    In September 2007,  I took some good advice and moved my personal journal to this site (which until very recently was at http://outofit-personal.blogspot.com) and focused my site at http://libdrone.info  much more tightly on book reviews.

Only I never really did keep up with the journal on this site.   There were a few months in 2008 when I did post fairly regularly  (and most of those posts were about how very challenging it was to produce a daily book review site) but honestly this site never made it very far up my priority list.   And that definitely shows.  (I remain in awe of my friend Bev who for more than ten years now has published a daily, 7 days a week,  journal of her life.)   I learned more than a bit about blogging and web publishing.   I learned about web site promotion.    I moved on from Blogspot to self-hosted WordPress.   Still later I moved on again to free-hosted WordPress (.com).    My health took a turn for the worse and I had to retire from the library.

Being on disability is okay.   Although under our insane health care system it requires taking a two year vacation from seeing doctors and taking pills.    I’ve still got 9 months to go before I will have healthcare again,  and my diabetes, blood pressure and bi-polar disorder are starting to really worry me  (untreated).   While I kind of know in theory how to create a money-making blog,   I found that putting it into practice was oh so much more difficult than I’d ever imagined.    I’ve found that free-lance writing is a very tough way to earn extra income.   (Lots of buyers want excellent, eloquent, “native-speaking”  English;  but they mostly want it at wages that would be so-so in rural   India,  let alone the urban United States.)  So now,  I am working on writing a book,  which I plan to self-publish.   

And I find that what I really want to do,  in addition to write books and play games online,  is get back to this personal journal.   Which has been online for nearly four years.   And which I’ve never really made a serious effort at.   Now that I know that I am never going to make more than pocket change for creating it;  now that I have a much better understanding of how to create, publish and promote it;  now finally I have come full circle;  to publishing on BlogSpot;   about my life and my feelings.     I don’t know if I will ever have the self-discipline to post every day,  but I’m going to give it a go.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.    I welcome your comments and will endeavor to reply.

Dinosaurs stumbling badly into new media

As the publisher of a book review web site that is now entering it’s third year, with it’s third major re-themeing and having acheived a level of success, in terms of visitors, page views, ad revenues, Alexa ranking and Google Page Rank, I have become used to corresponding via e-mail with other web entrepreneurs and to working with other web publishers as well as with traditional book publishers and their publicity departments.

Sometimes an unsolicited approach can lead to a very mutually rewarding co-operation. And in my humble opinion, being successful on the web is all about building relationships. Relationships wiith other web publishers, with the source people in the field your web site covers and with your readers and audience. I have made tons of friends in online forums and through e-mail corresponce with strangers who responded to my web site. I am lucky that my spam filters mostly filter out the real junk. But this past week I had an un-solicited e-mail from a company (that apparently has “professional” level funding and PR. The PR agent (let’s call her “Karen”) wrote to tell me that she had “found my site” and thought that I “might want to share” with my readers the exciting news that HER COMPANY was introducing a new book promotion portal site. And surely I would love to give them some free publicity on my site. This was my reply to “Karen”

Hi Karen,

I checked out your site. I can’t quite figure out whether you are very naive on how to approach and make deals with other web publishers or if you assume every site you find out there is a fan site that will be happy to promote your brand new un-ranked web site for free. It appears to me that what your firm is trying is a lot like Library Thing and Shelfari but you are trying to make it pay by having authors and/or their publishers pay for the privilege of being listed in your directory. Who knows, enough authors may take you up on it for you to make it a viable business, but honestly there is a Ton of competition in book promotion web sites and all of those sites (including yours and mine) are trying to reach the same Internet audience. (Do you even know what an Alexa rating is? Or Google Page Rank? Here’s a hint, as of today mine are Much better than yours.)

My site is a Book Review site. Occasionally I make things a little bit more personal but mostly it is just all book reviews. I am in the process of opening my own online store to sell the books that I write about. I have never written about Library Thing or Shelfari, though at one time very early on I did use Library Thing widgets to display book covers in the side bar. I will not review your site for the same reason I never reviewed Library Thing or Shelfari. I review books, not websites. The publishers (of books) seem to get the book review web publishing community rather better than you do. They shower us with respect, advanced reading copies and review copies and NEVER ever require that we Post about let alone Recommend any particular title. By contrast you’ve approached a competing web publisher with an offer or suggestion that I give YOU free publicity. Like I said, I can’t figure out if you’re simply naive or utterly slimy.

If you would like to discuss advertising rates on http://libdrone.info or the possiblity or a reciprocal linking agreement, please let me know. You might consider having a third section of your site for book reviewers (in addition to readers and authors) since we are a Huge part of the book promotion scene. I hope this reply will be helpful to you in learning how better to approach established book review web publishers.

After two years of hard work and sweat equity I have steady, solid though not at all spectactular search engine traffic. I have 350 well tagged posts that will continue to draw search engine traffic. I have finished and ready to go a brand new template and some dynamite SEO optimized content about some of the Hottest and most popular books being published today in the can and ready to roll after the launch date. My e-mail address book has nearly a dozen publicists, including the Abolutely Fabulous Miriam Parker at Hachette, who could teach every newbie out there like “Karen” how to build a successful online book campaign a life time’s worth of lessons.

My site revenue at this time and if I had to pay hosting fees (which due to the generostiy of one of my cherished friends who prefers to remain anonymous, I do not. Even though libdrone IS professionally hosted by an IT professional with specific expertise in the library and WordPress markets who, out of friendship gives me better hosting and tech support for my sites than the professionally funded “Karen” can buy at any price) my revenues would be barely break even. But unlike Karen I am working on a ten year marketing plan. And I actually took a lifetime of work in the book industry to learn how to deal with publishers and publicists and two years of hard sweat equity to learn about being an internet publisher in the book promotion field.

They tell writers that when you read something in a published book or magazine and you KNOW that you could have written it better, that’s when you know you’re Really a writer. I can now say that when you get a very naive letter from a newbie in your business who clearly doesn’t know anything at all about the field she is entering, even though she has professional backing. Is the day you know that you are a Serious web publisher.