Choosing Tools Wisely

So I was talking to my friend Hartley (aka PetLvr) about Pinterest.   It seemed to me to be yet another sort of cool, sort of so/so  photo sharing site.    And then he showed me the pin for his book.   “That’s nice,” I thought.   Then he showed me how the pin is linked to the book’s actual download page.   He asked me for my book’s landing page,  and then added a pin for it.     It took me only moments then to realize,  hey this is WAY cool.    My friend and I just made a bookstore.   And it’s a bookstore that could get lots of casual browsers if only we got a bunch of other folks to join us.

I’m looking for authors who are willing to let me promote their books.   Your e-book or print book must already be for sale at a unique URL.    You will only need to permit me to pin a picture of your book cover and link it to where  you’re already selling it.   If it’s on Smashwords or Amazon please note that I will use affiliate links and earn a tiny commission,  though I am happy to feature ebooks that are offered for download from your own web site or even books that are sold,  but not on Smashwords or Amazon.   As long as you have a decent book cover image and a unique sales URL,  you’re in!

Just leave a comment with your book’s URL  and I will take care of the rest.   That Pinterest makes a great free virtual storefront may not be what the folks who created it intended,  but it seems perfect for this use,  at least for books with colorful covers.   I am thinking that this could be a great way for lots of us #indie authors and bloggers to promote our work–  as Hartley pointed out we can All re-pin each other’s books and the links to the sales pages will endure no matter how many times you re-pin the book cover image.   This is a great example of a friend showing me how to use a tool that had not seemed very useful to me before.    And you know,  maybe Michael  is right that all of the tools he promotes really are  necessary for a serious social networker.   But honestly,   I think it’s more likely that as my friend Stu Rader (aka 12flat of Olivia International) observed the other day:

” For a company, brand or client I whole-heartedly endorse a social media manager to have a central focus to a max of say 4 top level outlets from within a central hub. The hub should be a collaborative cloud or internal web based network/intranet. The front door to their business online is the Web site. Facebook personal profile is pretty obvious, G+ is gaining the momentum for businesses that cannot be ignored in 2012. Quora is a great place for an executive and brand/product manager to field questions about a product or service, since it does not allow business aliases. Facebook page with a possible tumblr feeding in. You notice I didn’t say Twitter, though we re-publish to it from #fb. Way too much IM noise/short link affiliate types there but fun when you’re bored. The above all applies to sole proprietorships and mega corps with many business units. ”

I greatly admire Michael‘s perseverance,  and honestly I don’t ever actually expect to “win”  our little argument.     I’m not a fan of all the sites Stu talks about–  you may remember that I hated G+ and canceled my account on that network months and months ago;  I also have never tried or used Quora.  And while I acknowledge what Stu said about the spammy short links and noise on Twitter,  I think that Twitter can be a very powerful tool for businesses and activists alike    I don’t think there is nor can be any “one size fits all”  answer for marketing,  social networking or anything else.   But I am dead certain that no individual or company can afford to be  everywhere.

Happy Bear

So this Thursday finds me a happy bear.  My Empire Avenue stock is up to a share price of 105 and while I do have some back sliding days I am still (knock wood) above 105 today.   I invest some in newbies recommended by DES Daughter and invest back in people who have recently invested in me.   I do try to max out to 600 hundred shares in all of my investments,  but if your div ratio is not great it may take me a Very long time.   And if you sell off all of the shares you hold in me I will block you on Empire Avenue in order to be sure I do not again invest in someone who didn’t think enough of me to buy even a single share.

Now that I have Timeline I am going to try directing the FB post promoting this blog post Only to those on my Empire Avenue list.   It is possible I may have tagged a person or two incorrectly but I believe that all of the folks on these lists connected with me First through Empire Avenue or have been active on one or more Empire Avenue related discussions.  As I’ve mentioned before,  I was Not blown away by Google Plus and deleted my account on that service not too terribly long after starting it.   Honestly,  at this point Facebook allows me to meet and get to know and keep up with an ever expanding circle of virtual friends.

Since my main purpose in social networking is to meet and get to know other people,  and any business that results from these relationships is for me,  simply an extra benefit.  While I do promote my book regularly,  I try very hard not be one note about it and I talk with lots of different people about lots of different things in lots of different threads on lots of different web sites.      For me,  online socializing is very much a time consuming hands-on more or less full time activity.   But I try never ever to forget that it’s All about building real relationships with other real people.

(And I am a very happy bear this morning because I just got back from a great visit with my cub friend and I am maybe even Joyous Bear today  ;)_

Still Counting

As we approach the new year,  I am still counting my blessings.      I decided to move my personal blog to WordPress.    Since Google introduced Plus  (the new social network I do Not find compelling and am mostly waiting for it to fail) I have had to log in to separate Google accounts for my g-mail (, YouTube (where I am now WalkingEAv rather than Libdrone) and my old personal blog spot blog,  which I have never in fact  been faithful about keeping up with.

Since Empire Avenue is now tracking activity,  I realized I would be better served ditching a Google product I don’t really like and trying to focus my long form blogging activity here on WordPress.   I plan to buy a domain (possibly   I will also work on installing a better theme and uploading my own graphics.

I have decided that my immediate focus is going to be on writing a section of the advanced guide (haven’t settled on a title yet) that deals with Empire Avenue’s  new Missions feature.   As you may know the advanced guide will be directed  towards social media professionals,  so I am a little bit nervous,  but I think that if I do a really good job on the Missions section,  I will go ahead and release 1.2 adding the Missions section from the upcoming advanced book.   This will allow me to truthfully state that the book is fully updated to reflect all of the changes that have occurred going forward.   If Empire Avenue continues to grow I hope to be able to continue selling both books for years to come.

As I remarked to my friend Jenn last night,  the first advice is always to write about what you are passionate about.   And I continue to very much enjoy Empire Avenue and socializing with all of the great people I have met.  Honestly,  I don’t know if I will ever become a faithful scheduled poster to this personal blog.  But I know in my heart that there will always be long form things I feel like saying to my friends that will never quite fit into any of my specialty blogs.   (I actually have half a dozen sites on blogspot but most of them have not been updated in years.)   I intend to keep my music and words blogs on Tumblr where I feel their abbreviated format is a perfect fit.   I am going to wait until I get the new domain to re-register this blog with Empire Avenue.

I’d like to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for being a friend and for your help and kindness throughout the year.    Here’s wishing you an yours a safe and prosperous new year.

I don’t like noisy bars

This is a rant.    If you’re in no mood to hear it,  please click here to go somewhere else today.    I’ve been genuinely pleased with the modest success of my beta release of Walking Down The Avenue.   More than 70 people have downloaded a copy already,  and all of the feedback I’ve received has been positive.    I am working on adding additional material for the 1.0 release,  which I am not in any hurry to rush out.  

As previously mentioned,   I have not been enjoying Google + very much.    Due to Google’s restrictions and profile requirements I find that I am now using THREE separate Google accounts– and while it is possible to get two of them going at the same time in separate browsers,   I literally have to log out of my e-mail to use G+  or to post to this blog.  #IAmSONotAHappyCamper.      And the G+  feature that everyone seems SO excited about is a complete non-starter to me–  the group video chat thing appeals to me not at all.    I am severely hearing impaired and web video chat does not work for me.   Period.   Paragraph.   Page Break.    I can watch tv or movies by relying on the closed captions.   In person I can sometimes read lips and interpret expression and body language— though this can be hit or miss,  particularly with people I don’t know well.    Honestly,  even my spouse sitting five feet away from knows to type me an IM if we Really need to Talk.    G+  sure doesn’t look like a Facebook killer to me,  at least not in this early iteration.

All of which is by saying that I continue to do most of my socializing in Facebook groups.     It appears that Empire Avenue is Not going to be adding FB groups to EAv scores any time soon:  they seem to be focusing on improving the discussion boards in the Empire Avenue communities and trying to lure the discussions in house.   Unfortunately I don’t believe I’m alone in feeling they are a long way in terms of both ubiquity and user interface from making much progress towards this goal.     I know from my 20 years online that change,  often drastic change,  is the only constant in any online community.    And  it really saddened me today to see that a community I had really enjoyed seems to have become Way too spammish for me to enjoy.    The rule has always been that Buy Me spam is strongly discouraged but members are allowed to celebrate “significant game milestones”.    I know that everyone has a slightly–very different experience of Empire Avenue.   The more active you already are on the connected social networks the more rapidly your price will rise, and your dividends may well keep up.

I am experienced on social media,  though I’ve never really tried to be “most popular” and after more than three months in the game,   I seem to be seriously plateauing at 80.    I have gotten as high as 82 but today am back down to 80.    After a heavy day of active social media,   I’ll probably go up again tomorrow but I am reaching the limits  of how much social media I’m willing to Do and am beginning to wonder if I will have to come to grips with being an 80 dollar stock that just isn’t going to go on to become a centurion.   (At least not without a lot of help from my friends.)    And in all this time,   I think I have Once posted a buy me-ish type spam to One group,  when my shares were going for 42 and I made a Hichiker’s reference.   So this gorilla icon guy,   whom I haven’t met and don’t know posted the _n_th  Buy Me spam thread  (I saw at least 6 buy me or single player recommendation threads,  both of which are supposed to be against the rules) before the gorilla guy’s post prompted me to ask if the rules had changed.

Gorilla guy  (whom I’ve blocked, thanks) took offense and told me to sell him or whatever.   No need,   never bought.    Like I said the guy posting was a stranger to me.    Who seems to be a good bit newer in the game than I am.    Who posted a thread and got tons of replies about his big push from 77 to 80.      Whatever.    (I firmly believe that it is quite impossible to be friends with everyone;   the ability to civilly ignore people you don’t wish to engage is the most useful online social skill imho.)   But then one of the groups moderators posted,  not to trash the guy for spamming,  but to assure me that I am a valued group member too and would be more than welcome to share my significant game milestones too.   Oh—–kay.      The problem is if now 600 people are allowed to spam any particular price milestone they choose  (and not just the traditional 100– which like a bridal shower is more properly pushed by one’s friends rather than by the Bride) what had been a cool place to hang out and shoot the breeze with some incredible people has pretty much become a spammy snake pit that I am just not likely to hang around very much.    There’s another group I like and respect and belong to,  but I rarely go there anymore because the scroll rate is so high and the signal to noise ratio has gotten way noisier than I’m comfortable with.    What I hope the mods  (and even the gorilla guy for that matter) understand is that it’s not about being angry or taking my marbles and running home.    It’s about too much noise making the good conversations too hard to follow.