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One of the secrets of busking, if you want to earn your dinner or pay some bills, is to find a good corner. Somewhere that the merchants won’t chase you away, where you and your audience won’t block traffic, and where people who like your special style of music will hear you. If you sing French folk songs, it probably won’t be effective to stand outside the local Mercado, or the local Rap club, for instance.

Cyberland is a little different. No, a lot different. Every corner is, theoretically, equally distant from every other corner. That's good, right?

Well, not really.

First, all corners are just one click away, from any site that has your url--but how many sites do?  And are they sites where people are looking for what you do hang out?  Just because all sites are equidistant, doesn't mean it’s easy to find the corners you’re interested in, from wherever you are.

So, it’s not as simple as picking a spot, opening the guitar case, and performing. You can’t count on someone’s shopping list or evening commute taking them past your corner.

So you go out and put your name and url places.  Then you try to figure out what's working. 

This is problematic too, for though I know there's tools out there, I don't know enough about them to use them efficiently.  I haven’t figured out how to use tools like visit counters—and don’t know if LJ is friendly to them. ( It’s not particularly friendly to PayPal buttons, which have to be pasted in with the screen in HTML mode, and even then usually don’t work the first time I test them, so I have to edit the entry and paste the code in again.) So, unless people leave a comment, I don’t know they’re here, and unless they tell me, I don’t know how they got here. So that makes it difficult to track what works and what doesn’t.  I did tell LJ I do want to know who looks at my journal, but if that feature is running yet, I haven't found it. I also don’t know what, if anything, it would tell me about non-LJ visitors.

That said, so far, Twitter, with the assistance of e-fiction book club, have allowed at least one new reader to find me, and places like Author’s Den and Blogspot have not yet produced results I can see, though that may not be a fair comparison, as I joined Twitter earlier.

So, my quest to figure out how to make my corner of the net a good corner for Cyber-busking is ongoing. You could help me a bit—you can answer this question:

When you’re bored and wanting to find something to read on the net, how do you go about looking?

And, of course, if you are more net-savvy than me, feel free to show off your knowledge as much as you want! 


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 11th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
My casual reading has gone way down over the last several years; when I go looking for a book it's usually something that somebody has recommended or linked to. If I can't find a downloadable or HTML copy online I'll usually go to Powell's to order it.
Sep. 11th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
You haven't had time to be bored lately, unless you count time doing necessary but dull chores! I know that! :-D
Sep. 11th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
When I am looking for something to read on the internet, I usually start with an RSS feed list I have in my news favorites. It includes celebrity chefs, Jakie Mitchard and the US National Park service as well as the larger papers. Every line is a headline and can take me to a larger article.
Sep. 11th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
Ok, though that sounds like news, not fiction. I suppose I'd be news if Oprah decided to tell people about Fireborn... :-D

It would be news to me, anyway!
Sep. 12th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
I have a counter at my Cafe Press shop, it tells me how many returning/unique visitors visit. But the prob with putting it on LJ I think would be it might only count visitors to your profile page, not your journal entries, so that wouldn't help. There's a lot at Cafe Press on keywords, being found, SOE (Search Engine Optimisation) but if you Google Search Engine Optimisation you might find some stuff.

Options would be posting in as many places as you can: Twitter, Dreamwidth, Myspace, Facebook, Livejournal, etc. mentioning Fireborn. That does two things: Gets your book out to potential audiences (but you do need to have some different friends at each, not just the same people in all) and it also gets the name of the book to search engines (see above about SOE, you do need to sign up/put your book in them to start).

I had a thought yesterday. When you finish Fireborn, what about making a *physical* book. You can put the special "subscriber" info into it to make it more appealing and sell it somewhere like Cafe Press or Lulu, link to it here and/or Twitter, etc. Cafe Press will pay by check, Lulu I think pays by Paypal. The info on books on CP isn't as obvious as some of the other items so here's the link: Cafe Press Book help. I use CP for my photo items, have used it about a year. I like their other items well enough and haven't had too many problems with them (the rare issue with quality, but that's a given with Print On Demand websites & they were good about rectifying it). They don't do colour books or I would have used them instead of Blurb for mine.

It's not ideal but it would give you something for now, until you can find a publisher. I think Lulu lets you buy ISBN codes so you can also market your books to small bookstores in your home town or sell them on Amazon and stuff (they don't let you buy ISBNs for photobooks since they don't allow text in photobooks).

Just some brain storming....
Sep. 12th, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
One thing I'd love is to get a Wikipedia entry. It wouldn't have to be long. I'm not sure if that is best left until I have the book done? I did look up Fireborn in Wikipedia--there's an RPG by that name that I'd never heard of. Shouldn't be an issue, since Fireborn came from the millieu of my book, which is quite different from what I saw described for the game.

When it's finished, I intend to look into the possibility of a physical book. Right now, I'm focusing more on stuff like posting to Twitter & Facebook whenever I put something up. And building a Twitter following. And I found a cool thing - #fridayflash on twitter. And writing other stuff. And adding to my collection of rejection e-mails.

Oh--this reminds me I didn't put the #fridayflash story note up on Facebook. I should go do that.
Sep. 12th, 2009 07:51 am (UTC)
I think the Wiki would be best after it is finished. That way you'll have something for people to give a good read of. And if they are publisher types then you'll have the finished manuscript to offer them.

You've got it all full on. :) I'd buy a physical Fireborn when it was all done. :) And I had a thought today, when you do cross that bridge, get stickers (or print on your computer) with the website address the book is on or your LJ/Twitter/Facebook address and/or username, buy a couple copies yourself and donate them to a library, high school, somewhere like that and put the stickers in them. That would get people reading the stories, interested in them and bring them in for other stories you are writing.

I haven't read the Friday Flash yet, I've got the tab open to check it out later.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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