Category Archives: Movies/TV/Books

Book Tasting: The Art of the Book Sampler

King, Queen, BishopBob’s post, So You Want to Make a Living Writing? 13 Harsh Truths struck some nerves with a lot of writers. There were many comments and reblogs and as #13 reminds us “Content is King.” That said, in comes little old me with the “Promotion is Queen and together they rule the publishing world.” We really should adjust that. Maybe add the notion of (keeping with the chess analogy) “SEO and all things Algorithmic is the Bishop.” These three things play a huge role in any author business. Point is, you can have great content, but if no one knows it exists, well does it exist?

Bob and I will go back and forth and back and forth for hours in email about various different aspects of these chess pieces. We recently tried taking out on-line ads with a company that places the ads in related content. I was actually surfing blogs one day and found one of our ads. Pretty cool. We tried it for a month and currently we don’t have plans to renew, not because it wasn’t effective, because it was. I have all that lovely data about click ins and click outs and time spent on each page of our website and what they did from there, but I didn’t see a direct correlation in sales on the sites that count, like Amazon. If Cool Gus were still an ecommerce site, selling our own books, this might have been much more valuable, but we’re not and anyone selling on-line knows that there is a huge cost in customer acquisition. You don’t just slap a website up on the internet and expect to have massive sales. And lets face it, everyone sells on Amazon. Heck, I bought my last MacBook Pro on Amazon. You can buy underwear on Amazon. My sister-in-law works for a company that sells tech products through Amazon.

Bob constantly calls himself a publishing whore (he’s not allowed to call me that), but essentially you must be willing to try all sorts of things both in your writing and in the business aspect of your career. The key is to remember that not everything you do will lead to sales, but much of it will have a positive impact. Also, what works for one, might not work for the other. We’ve seen people chase trends in writing as well as in business. If someone is doing XYZ, then everyone is doing XYZ. Nature of the beast. Not saying you shouldn’t, but we are saying, try something different. New. Be adventurous.

The Bob Mayer SamplerThat’s my big Segway to Book Tasting. That’s what I decided to call The Bob Mayer Sampler – a taste of 42 books. And its FREE. You can download a copy from our website, from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google Play and coming soon to iTunes. We’ve actually done these before. We had the Science Fiction Sampler and the Thriller Sampler. The feedback we have gotten so far on The Bob Mayer Sampler has been very positive. It’s given his fans one place where they can see the order of each series. But its more than that. Bob also talks about his ideas, where they came, how he researched them and some other interesting facts. Did you know that the idea for Psychic Warrior came from when he was a Green Beret and a real, then restricted training program? Interesting stuff. Gives the reader a look at the man behind the books. A connection.

And it gives me more opportunity to push the algorithmic button and play with keywords, make fun charts and spreadsheets. You should have seen one folder I put together about a year ago for one of business meetings (yes, we have them regularly). I had all these pie charts and statistical information compiled on all sorts of things we were doing at the time and Bob just looked at me like I had 5 heads and had beamed down from Planet Crazy or something. Bob is currently rolling his eyes because he looks at this very differently than I do. I see the behind the scenes opportunity in promotion and how readers will find Bob Mayer Books and increasing the chances of new customer acquisition (I just like that word) and repeat buyers. He sees a neat way to connect with his readers and introduce them to his Factual Fiction. I see another way to have the algorithms pick up his titles. And we’re going to be working with our authors to do this for them. I think it’s a good tool. Another look inside, except the reader gets to look inside every book in one place via a download.

I also look at this book tasting as another way to promote binge reading, which is like binge TV watching and that’s important because we as a whole have changed the way we watch TV, a lot and we are changing the way we read. Remember back in the day before VCR’s and DVR’s and if you missed a show, you just missed it. Granted, not as many shows to choose from, but still, you were tied to that time. And, because gremlins do exist and they eat VCR tapes, I missed the series premiere of Who Shot JR. OMG, it was terrible! Oh, and free book to the person who names that show first in the comment section. Bob got my DH and I hooked on The Good Wife. Any show we watch, its all Bob’s fault. Just saying. Anyway, on a rainy day when the poor DH couldn’t go play golf, we watched 9 episodes in one sitting. Yep. Got to love Amazon Fire TV!

So, carrying this idea over to books. We’ve always said the best promotion is a good book. The next best promotion? Another good book. And so it goes. A reader recently contacted Bob about the sampler and how much he appreciated it because he’d just found Nightstalkers and knew he’d read some of Area 51 but hadn’t read all 9. Anyway, he could figure out what he read, and hadn’t read, and go to town because what do readers do when they find a book/author they like? They go looking for more books. But again, that’s another thing that has changed. The way readers find us. And it is harder. How do readers find authors? A recommend from a friend. A review on Goodreads. A search on the internet for Area 51, Atlantis, Green Beret, Yellow Labs, whatever. Or maybe a Librarian or a book blogger. So, what is your favorite book or series?

Nothing but good times.

I’m addicted to TV and it’s all Bob Mayer’s fault.

Okay, so not his fault, but he has a tendency to email me with things like check out Luther, you’re going to really identify with the female killer or you watch Nurse Jackie? Your kind of show. Makes me wonder why Bob thinks I would identify with a killer and Nurse Jackie is my kind of show, but he was right. Both shows have turned out to be some of my favorites. Actually, he once recommended I watch The Shield and I’ve now watched the entire series 3 times. Talk about a protagonist with issues, sheesh. But besides having an obsession for the darker side of human nature, I like other kinds of shows as well.

Every season we have new shows and every year I try out a bunch. So, here is my new season TV line-up this year. None of which, by the way, were recommended by Bob and some may surprise you.

Revenge. This one came as a recommendation from my 20-year-old daughter who is off at college. She called me one day to tell me about a show she thought I might enjoy. Weird, because she wasn’t asking for money, but cool because she wanted to talk “story and characters”. Of course, I blame her for my obsession with Harry Potter and Twilight.

Revenge is about a young woman who is seeking revenge against those who have wronged her in the past. These wrongs were no simple wrongs, but the kind of wrong that ruins people’s lives. They started the season out with what appears will be the ending of the season. The murder of a young man–the man our protagonist was to marry–but also the man is the child of one of the families she wants to destroy. Key element here is she wants to ruin their lives, not kill them. Perhaps this makes her likable. She’s kind of predictable, but we can relate.

I don’t like shows that start off with “the end”, but it works okay in this case. I like the show, and will continue to watch it, but part of me is more interested in some of the supporting characters. Not really a good sign, but again, the show does intrigue me. Actually, I’m very vested in this season and finding out some of the whys. Worth checking out.

Web Therapy. Dumb but just the idea of a new “treatment modality” and the way Lisa Kudrow says the two words together is just plain funny. The season is technically over, but it was one of those stupid funny shows that is just pure entertainment. There is no real reason to like it other than the fact I am a fan of Lisa’s and actually love the idea she has for this new treatment modality. Basically, 3 minute therapy sessions on the net. Kind of interesting and kind of telling in the sense we live in such a fast paced society that I could actually see this becoming some new rage. Dumb, but entertaining.

Person of Interest. Well, lets just say that Jim Caviezel is worth it alone. But it is interesting. I graduated in 1984 and had to read and do a major paper on George Orwell’s novel 1984. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated with anything looks remotely like ‘big brother’. The idea that a machine could find persons of interest in crimes and the government considered them irrelevant because they were not of a terrorist nature is very interesting, but I’m struggling with this show lasting. They’ve teamed up two odd balls, both with baggage and quirks. They are intriguing baggage and quirks, but kind of predictable and so been there done that. But again, their form of vigilante justice is right up my alley. I’m interested to see where they take this show.

Besides, I think the show is fun, the technology behind it fascinates me, especially now with all this stuff up in the cloud, etc.

Pan Am. Retro soap opera with wings. I have to admit this is my favorite new drama. I remember my first flight and I remember having to flip my brother for the last steak on the plane. A steak! On a plane! Oh my. Those were the days. I love this show and have no real valid reason for loving. It’s not great, but it has my attention. Will be interesting to see what they do and if the show can sustain itself. It’s no Mad Men, but it does have potential.

So there you have it. The shows I’m fixated in this season. What new shows are you obsessed with or what other shows are you really excited about this season?



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