I’m not doing too well at posting more often! But it’s been a somewhat frustrating week.
Publishing news: Book sales are steadily increasing. As of June 30, Amazon will double the royalties it pays on Kindle books. The Longer the Fall now appears in the catalog for Powells Books, but still is not up on Kobo and is still “processing” on Google Books. I’m waiting for the short runs to be delivered from Lightning Source.
I tried advertizing on Facebook for one month and didn’t see any perceptible return on my investment (which was rather a lot of money) in sales or traffic on BLUM’s website. Nevertheless, I was still thinking of trying out Google AdWords, and had set up an account a couple of months ago. Google kept sending me cheery little reminders about that. They also sent a free $100 credit, which I received both in email and snail mail. (Yes, amazingly enough, Google sent an actual piece of paper mail!) The email offer expired on May 31, and I missed the deadline by accident.
I was putting away paperwork last week, however, and realized that the snail-mail credit had a different deadline: June 11. I could still take advantage of it. So, just in the nick of time, I created several ads (Google rotates them) and started a “campaign” running. It has the same pattern the Facebook one did: because I’m being very strict about my per diem limits until I see what return I get, the ad runs for 2/3 of the day and then stops until the next 24-hour period, making for funny-looking graphs and evoking cheery little hints from Google that I should increase what I’m paying them.
So far–and it’s only been a couple of days–the click-through rate on my Google AdWords ads is MUCH better than it was for my Facebook ads. And, every click on the Google ad goes right to BLUM’s website. I never was sure where clicks on the Facebook ad ended up, because the SiteMeter traffic counter on the website sure didn’t show any big uptick in hits. This coming Friday (when I get the SiteMeter weekly report), we’ll see what the Google ads are doing.
I went up to Dad’s on Friday afternoon and missed a call back from Baker & Taylor, which blows. I honestly didn’t expect they’d call me back! So now the telephone tag game is afoot, and at least I have a definite person and her individual number to call, instead of whirling around the endless voice mailstrom as I was doing. I called back and left a message apologizing for missing her and promising to call on Monday, which I will. I haven’t heard anything from Lightning Source’s distribution department about why Baker & Taylor won’t list any BLUM titles after the paperback edition of Mortal Touch. I hope I have better luck!
If only I could get so far with Sony. Smashwords was supposed to ship to Sony on Friday. None of BLUM’s books show as shipped in the distribution channel manager on my Smashwords dashboard. I just don’t know what the hell is happening with Smashwords and Sony, and Mark Coker isn’t talking! Neither is Sony, who has not replied to my publisher “application.” If twenty or thirty people who owned Sony Readers went to the Sony website and filled out the title request form they have asking for BLUM’s titles to be available in the Sony Reader Store, it might have a positive impact. But right now, I only know of three people who own Sony Readers!
However, The Longer the Fall has shipped to the Apple iBookstore, and should appear there in just a couple more days.
Aside from that…Dad’s band concert was cancelled due to pouring rain on Thursday. That sucked. On Friday, I went up to Dad’s to help him with some work around the house, and ostensibly to help put in the docks. But we never got to the docks, because Dad was pooped by the time we finished everything else. That makes four times that I’ve rearranged my day and/or actually gone up to Dad’s to help put in the docks, and they’re still not in! I got to spend some nice quality time with Dad, though.
Dad gave me a really cool early birthday present. He just bought himself a new Dell Inspiron laptop computer, and he told me that he’d gotten me something. He was very eager to give it to me. He kept saying that he thought it was something I “could use right away,” and he saw it and he just had to get it. Naturally, my curiosity was piqued! Whatever could this be? I was happy to wait until my birthday–I have no problems with deferred gratification–and I’d like to unwrap a present on the actual day, which practically never happens. But dad really, really wanted to give me his gift.
His anticipation was justified because he got me the greatest thing!! When I got my new computer, I bought one of those little Wacom pen tablets for digital graphic art. But I was economizing so I just bought one of the inexpensive little low-end models. Dad bought me a big one–top of the line, a real professional caliber pen tablet. And here I just invested in Adobe Creative Suite CS5 so I have Illustrator and PhotoShop now, and I’m doing original illustrations for book covers now from scratch. Dad couldn’t have given me a more perfect gift! Even if he didn’t wrap it, oh well! I oohed and ahed and thanked Dad over and over. I was really very pleased!
Unfortunately, the last three days have been a complete loss work-wise and very stressful, and the tablet inadvertently kicked that off. Oh, no fault of the tablet, there’s nothing wrong with it. But here’s what happened.
The tablet came with all these bonuses, including a rather astonishing collection of free optional software. One of the software bundles was PhotoShop Elements, and when I went to download it, I saw that it was pretty large, and I’ve been downloading all these TV episodes in iTunes, so it occurred to me that I should check my hard drive’s status. I was startled to see that my hard drive was almost full. Since I thought I had dual 320GB drives in a RAID 0 configuration, that just didn’t seem right.
Well, I thought I had two 320GB drives. The system thought it had two 320GB drives. Windows thought it only had one, 130GB drive–which is squat. I logged into Dell’s online chat support, and, to make a long story and two very long nights short, after four sessions with Dell tech support and many many hours of running diagnostics…
…I had to wipe and reconfigure the hard drives and install Windows 7 and everything else from scratch.
Nothing was wrong with the hard drives. Nothing was wrong with anything! But the only way to reconfigure the drives and partitions and get Windows to recognize them was to start from square one.
I gave Dad an external hard drive that he hadn’t started using yet, so on Saturday I was back at the lake begging it off him to back up my system. My flash drives weren’t sufficient for this. I also helped Dad with a couple of things and we had another nice visit before I came home and ran a full system backup (which took hours). I didn’t lose any data files. I have tons of drive capacity now–because I agreed with one of the techs that I didn’t really need the RAID if I was going to be backing up to external hard drives, and I’m a backup fanatic, I back up my data every day. I got the wireless network up and the printer set back up with a minimum of trouble, got email restored into both email clients, it’s all gone about as smoothly as recovering from a complete hard drive reconfiguration could possibly go. But everything has to be reinstalled, and then I’ve had to find and re-enter registration keys for things, and I have to reactivate Office 2007 and there seems to be a problem on Microsoft’s end, and nothing looks quite the same as it did before, and I’ve lost all my browser history and saved passwords, and…*sigh* Just a million little things that have to be restored and rebuilt and redone.
Dell tech support was extremely helpful, I must say. It remains the case that this whole problem was caused because somebody at Dell f*cked up when they built my system and shipped it with the wrong hard drive configuration. But then, I didn’t check it properly when it arrived, either. I was so fussed getting the wireless network and email clients set up, it didn’t occur to me to doublecheck every detail of the system configuration and make sure it was right. I guess I know better!
So that’s set me back a couple of days. It’s always something!!! My garden is doing great, but it’s been wet and rainy since last Thursday. I’m going to have to mow the lawns the minute I get the mower back. That should be soon because the repair shop gave me the estimate and I approved it (very reasonable, IMO). I haven’t gotten to play with my new tablet yet and I have plenty of art projects to use it for that need to be done, like, yesterday–starting with the cover art for Blood Justice, whose author will be promoting it at Comic Con in San Diego and needs promo materials, and the Readercon 21 Souvenir Book. So, out of another pothole and full speed ahead!