Tag Archive for promotions

A Video Trailer For A Haiku Poem

After I decided to publish a daily haiku poem on Tumblr, I started writing haiku poems for submission. My first acceptance and publication was “Changing Winter” for Poetry Haiku (Winter Issue 2013). My second acceptance was five haiku poems for “Words Fly Away: Poems for Fukushima” (Spring 2014), a poetry anthology about the March 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. The editor posted YouTube videos of poets reading their Fukushima poems. Last week I put together a video trailer.

Unlike the other poets who read aloud their poems in front of a video camera, I wasn’t going to do that. If I read all five haiku poems that I submitted, the video would be very short and very uninteresting. A 30-second video trailer to introduce my haiku and the anthology was a better approach to promoting both.

“Fukushima Seeps” was the easiest of the five haiku to adapt into a video with the last line being about Godzilla, our favorite kaiju who routinely stomps Tokyo whenever mankind does something incredibly stupid, say, building a nuclear reactor in the path of a tsunami. With the new Godzilla movie coming out in May 2014, this became a fun little video to put together.

On a piece of paper, I broke down the video into a script.

 

BEGINNING TITLE ONE

“Fukushima Seeps”

White text on black background.
Fade in Godzilla theme soundtrack.

BEGINNING TITLE TWO

A Haiku Poem by C.D. Reimer

White text on black background.

HAIKU LINE ONE

Fukushima Seeps

White text over still picture of blown nuclear reactor.

HAIKU LINE TWO

Poisons Pacific Ocean

White text over still picture of Pacific Ocean radiation exposure.

HAIKU LINE THREE

Here Comes GODZILLA!

White text over black background.

MONEY SHOT

Godzilla coming out of ocean still picture.
Fade in and out Godzilla roar soundtrack above theme soundtrack.

FINAL TITLE ONE

Read “Fukushima Seeps”
& Other Haiku Poems by C.D. Reimer

White text over black background.

FINAL TITLE TWO

“Words Fly Away: Poems for Fukushima”
http://fukushimapoetry.wordpress.com/

White text over black background.

FINAL TITLE THREE

Spring 2014

White text over black background.

FINAL TITLE FOUR

“Godzilla” © 1954 Toho Co. Ltd
All Other Copyrights Belong To Their Respective Owners.

White text over black background.

FINAL TITLE FIVE

“Fukushima Seeps” Haiku & Video
Copyright © 2014 C.D. Reimer

Fade out Godzilla theme soundtrack.

 

After I scoured the Internet for still pictures and Godzilla soundtracks for an hour, I put the video together in two hours with my MacBook and iMovie. This was my first time using iMovie, so I spent an hour learning how to use the program and one hour completing the video. Satisfied with the results, I uploaded the video to Tumblr and YouTube.

Read An eBook Week 2014

Read An eBook Week 2014The annual “Read An eBook Week” promotion at Smashwords is here again, running from March 2nd through March 8th. Check out the resource page for more information. This year I have 15 ebooks enrolled in the promotion. Five omnibus ebooks at a 50% discount (coupon code REW50), five recent ebooks are FREE (coupon code REW100), and the usual FREE ebooks are still FREE (no coupon code).

If this year is like the last few years, the FREE ebooks will fly off the virtual shelves and I’ll have one or two direct sales. This isn’t surprising. Most writers who publish on Smashwords make the majority of their ebook sales from the premium catalog (i.e., Apple, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, Flipkart, Kobo, etc.). This promotion and the annual summer/winter promotion in July are good opportunities to reach out to the many readers on the Smashwords website.

Two related notes concerning the Smashwords premium catalog.

With the recent announcement of Sony closing their ebook store on March 20, 2014, and transitioning their users to Kobo, I have removed all the Sony ebook links from my author website. Because Kobo is still transitioning users from Sony, this has prevented my recent pre-order ebooks from showing up on their website.

After the announcement that Scribd was coming to the premium catalog in December, I pulled my ebooks off the Scribd website and removed the ebook links from my author website. With my Smashwords ebooks now showing up on Scribd, I’m in the process of restoring all the ebook links on my author website.

The Apple Store Job Fair eBook

The Apple Store Job Fair Essay eBookA preview of my newest essay ebook, “The Apple Store Job Fair: Don’t Drink The Water, Don’t Use The Restroom,” that is now available.

AFTER BEING OUT OF WORK for a year-and-a-half since losing my help desk support job on Friday the 13th in February 2009, an Apple recruiter offered me a one-on-one job interview at the Apple Store job fair being held at the main campus in Cupertino, CA, later that week. Having worked at a number of high-profile Fortune 500 companies—Fujitsu, Sony, Intuit, Google and eBay—over the years, I desperately wanted to add Apple to my resume as it has surpassed Google as being THE PLACE to work at in Silicon Valley.

Except for one small problem: I had no retail experience.

The recruiter reassured me over the phone that a lack of retail experience wasn’t a problem. Many people got hired from a wide variety of backgrounds to become Creatives, Geniuses and Specialists to work at the Apple Store throughout the world. Someone with no traditional retail experience was preferable to someone who had to unlearn everything they know about retailing. Every new employee receives extensive training before being allowed to work at an Apple Store. Extensive training. The magic words I wanted to hear from any recruiter.

As the Great Recession begun in 2008, many employers lay off workers and hoarded cash as consumer demand dwindled away. The first thing to go—if the business hasn’t jettisoned it years before at the behest of Wall Street—was the training budget. If your job skills aren’t current and don’t fit the job description precisely (i.e., five years in a new technology that came out six months ago), don’t expect to get the job. If you need any training whatsoever to get up to speed on your first day (i.e., asking directions to the restroom), don’t expect to get the job. If you’re out of work for longer than a month, don’t expect to get the job.

Although I owned a first-generation black MacBook from 2006 at home, I had no troubleshooting experience with the Mac in general. The Mac OS X operating system worked so perfectly with the MacBook hardware that I stopped using my Windows Vista PC for everything except high-end video games. Using a Mac meant I didn’t have to become a Mac technician to learn how to use it well, unlike Windows where I did become a PC technician. The Mac worked and worked quite well for what I needed it to do. The idea of troubleshooting the Mac was almost incomprehensible to me.

The corporate environment was a different story. A co-worker would informally train me on the Mac computer, which often meant deleting a corrupted System Preferences file that prevented iTunes from working. (Most companies prohibited users from storing gigabytes of personal music and videos on their work computers, but PC technicians will often look the other way if a hard drive backup wasn’t needed.) Two weeks later I would get laid off from that job, as if I broke an unspoken rule that prevents an experienced PC technician from moving into the light.

A smattering of Mac experience on my resume amounted to nothing useful over the years. No matter how carefully I worded my resume and pitched my Mac experience to recruiters, many hiring managers in the follow-up interviews were often disappointed that I didn’t have the guru-level Mac experience that they were looking for. Never mind that neither the recruiter nor the job description mentioned anything about having guru-level Mac experience, especially for the less than guru-level pay rate being offered. If you’re applying for technical jobs directly at Apple, guru-level Mac experience is a requirement whether or not it’s in the job description.

Recruiters often make unwarranted assumptions about my resume, hoping that I’m a better candidate than what my resume actually suggests. Since I used to work at Japanese companies like Fujitsu and Sony, most recruiters assumed that I spoke fluent Japanese. One recruiter went so far as to arrange a phone interview with someone in Tokyo to test my ability to speak Japanese. Although I don’t speak in either conversational or anime Japanese, I’m well verse in navigating the cultural differences between East and West.

A newly appointed vice president from Japan took over the testing group of the WorldsAway virtual world division at Fujitsu. A Westernized Japanese who spoke fluent English and comfortable with talking to Americans, he took us out to lunch at the Jade Cathay Chinese restaurant on North 1st Street in San Jose, ordering the same hot-and-spicy dish for everyone. I ate everything on my plate as not to offend my host who sat right next to me, although I had no clue as to what I was eating. (My taste for Chinese food these days is steam rice and orange chicken at Panda Express.) The lunch weighed heavily in our stomachs after we came back to the office, like a bad omen of things to come.

He expressed disappointment that none of us were mainframe programmers, the division he previously led that needed more mainframe programmers than virtual world testers, and recounted his glory days of battling IBM for mainframe superiority. This struck the testing group as anachronistic thinking in the rising era of the Internet in the late 1990’s, when Netscape and Microsoft were still fighting for web browser supremacy that was far from over. But Fujitsu was a big company with so many divisions still fighting the last technology war while surrendering the future.

After the vice president declined to renew the contract for my six-month internship, my coworkers gave me a farewell party at the same restaurant. A bittersweet moment when someone wondered out aloud if farewell parties were the future of the division. The answer came a month later. Two-thirds of the division was laid off without warning and security guards escorted everyone out of the building. No farewell parties for them—or for those who stayed.

As for the WorldsAway virtual world, it became the Dreamscape virtual world at Vzones [http://www.vzones.com]. After looking through the website, the underlying technology haven’t changed in the last 15 years.

Recruiters stopped calling me about the Japanese-speaking positions after Fujitsu and Sony fell off my resume as I acquired new work experience at other Fortune 500 companies. I sometimes wonder if I should remove all my less than guru-level Mac experience from resume to avoid doing the dog-and-pony interviews for Mac jobs that I wouldn’t get anyway.

The Apple recruiter reassured me again that my technical background—five years as a help desk support technician and six years as a video game tester, including three years as a lead video game tester with responsibility for ten titles—made me a perfect fit at the Apple Store. What he didn’t tell me was not to drink the water or use the restroom.

Read An eBook Week 2013

Read An eBook Week 2013Smashwords has a special promotion every year during the Read An eBook Week (March 3-9, 2013) for authors to offer their ebooks for FREE or at a discounted price. My entire ebook catalog is available for FREE (no coupon code), FREE (coupon code RW100) or 50% off (coupon code REW50).

If you download and read one of my ebooks, please leave a review at the Smashwords website. Or send an email to chris at cdreimer dot com.

FREE eBooks

FREE eBooks (Coupon Code RW100)

Discounted eBooks (Coupon Code REW50)

Do You Have Klout As A Writer?

Klout LogoAlmost every Sunday afternoon from 12PM to 3PM PT, I’m tweeting about writing and ebook publishing with the #writechat hash tag. Last week, after a spirited discussion about a variety of issues, @domynoe tweeted that she gave me a “+K” about writing on Klout. That left me stumped. I’ve heard about Klout before but I didn’t have a Facebook account for the same reason that Facebook went public: I couldn’t figure out the privacy settings.

After I mentioned this tweet out aloud, my roommate informed me that I needed a Klout account first. I searched for the website and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I didn’t need a Facebook account at all. I could sign in with my Twitter account. That was good enough for me. Low and behold, my Klout score was 44 out of 100.

My roommate was upset that I had a higher Klout score than him. He muttered darkly about me being a Republican and all the far right-wing conspiracies I’m involved with as being the main reasons for why I have a higher Klout score.

Whatever, man.

I’m a moderate conservative in California, which is an endangered species in this very blue state, who supports President Barack Obama. Besides, most Californian Republicans stayed home from the GOP convention in Tampa, Florida, as a hurricane is real weather that is scarier than a swarm of earthquakes.

About 75% of my Klout score is writing. Not surprising since that’s biggest soapbox that I stand on week in and week out. The other subjects that I have influenced on are all offshoots related to writing. Except for the odd assortment at the very bottom, which are the topics from my personal blog.

What good is Klout to a writer? I’m not sure. Again, I had frequently heard about Klout but never got involved with it until now. May be more useful for me as a blogger on what non-writing areas I need focus my influence—or, lack thereof. Beyond that, I’ll let you know in a future blog post when I find out more myself.

The Month-Long eBook Promotion That Wasn’t

Promotion and key concept

Smashwords had their July Summer/Winter Sale last month, where I offered a 50% off discount on three omnibus ebooks and a half-dozen ebooks were automatically enrolled as they were already FREE. (See the new free ebook page for list of titles.) The results are in—drumroll, please—it’s, meh.

That’s not surprising. Nearly all my ebook sales from Smashwords are through the third-party distribution network (i.e., Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, etc.). Sales through the website itself are very rare events. The 50% off discount went over like a lead balloon. The FREE ebooks, however, went flying off the virtual shelves. The Post-It note with the pre-sales numbers disappeared, so no breakdown of how well the FREE ebooks did for this promotion.

July was such a distracting month that I couldn’t do any active promoting.

I spent three weeks trying to get a small business checking for my intellectual property holding company (IPHC). US Bank didn’t like my anonymous limited liability company (LLC) from Wyoming, or the supporting documents provided by my registered agent to represent me in Wyoming, because my name wasn’t officially listed anywhere. After three trips to the branch office and several heated arguments, the manager denied my application.

This isn’t an uncommon problem in the post-9/11 era. The stricter banking standards are to thwart terrorists, organized crime and Wall Street from opening accounts for money laundering. Not that this actually prevents that from happening. The practical application is to prevent the little guy from getting a leg up on big business. I’ll have to shop around until I find a bank or credit union that will accept my out-of-state LLC.

US Bank, however, had no problems opening a business checking for my writing business with a California LLC as my name was on all the documents. Providing a copy of my DBA statement also proved that my writing business had existed since 2006. Opening a new account still took two more trips to the branch office to get it done. The manager became shocked—shocked!—to find out that I wasn’t kidding when I told her that I was operating a “small business” with lowercase letters. I hope that will change next year.

Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale 2012

Smashwords Write Stuff LogoThe Smashwords July Summer/winter sale with selected ebooks at discounted prices is now available. This is a perfect opportunity to promote your Smashwords ebooks. Since I specialized in short story and essay ebooks, a significant discount on the omnibus ebooks (i.e., multiple ebooks combined into a single ebook at a much lower price) and a handful of free ebooks provides a good mixture for increasing sales on other non-sale ebooks.

The following ebooks are at half price at $0.99 each (use coupon code SSW50 when checking out).

The following ebooks are FREE for the summer.

As with the Read An eBook Week in 2011 and 2012, the first blog post in August will have a breakdown of this month promotion to determine if it was successful or not.

Read An eBook Week 2012

2012 Read An eBook Week

In honor of “Read An eBook Week” for this year, the following ebook titles at Smashwords are available at 50% off or FREE!

If you enjoy reading any of my ebooks, please leave a kind review on Smashwords.

Updated 03/17/2012 — Last year for Read An eBook Week, I gave away 109 copies from seven free ebooks on Smashwords. This year I decided to have three free ebooks and three discounted ebooks. The results were similar. I gave away 34 copies of the free ebooks and, incidentally, had one discounted ebook sale bought at full price because the reader didn’t use the discount code. Like last year, no one left any reviews. Since I seldom get any sales through the Smashwords website, I would say this year was better than last year.

Why I’m NOT Joining Amazon’s KDP Select Program?

Last week Amazon came out with the KDP Select program to entice authors in making their ebooks available through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library to earn a percentage of the $500,000 pool for this month. Mark Coker pointed out on the Smashwords blog and Huffington Report why the KDP Select program is bad for indie authors. If you want to be in the KDP Select program, your ebook must be exclusive to Amazon and unavailable elsewhere at any other ebook retailer. This was soon followed by a spat of “I’m joining Amazon’s KDP Select Program” blog postings being announced on Twitter. For these writers, they are making boatloads of cash and don’t mind selling out to the devil.

Why I’m NOT joining Amazon’s KDP Select program?

Unlike most Amazon authors, I’m not making boatloads of cash. I get 80% of my ebook sales through Smashwords from third party sales (i.e., Apple, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, Kobo, Sony, etc.). Throwing away 80% of my sales for an exclusive arrangement with Amazon without increasing sales to cover my losses doesn’t make good business sense.

I don’t know why my Amazon sales are pathetic in comparison to my awesome Smashwords sales. I doubt it’s because I’m “well established” on Smashwords. I started publishing my ebooks on both platforms last year and paid no special attention to either one. Amazon went south, Smashwords went north. Perhaps my short story ebooks for $0.99 have found a stronger audience among the non-Kindle crowd?

My sales numbers may change when I introduce my two essay ebooks this month, “Death At A Hells Angels Funeral: Driving Past The Memories” and “Experiencing The Death of Elvis: Another Childhood Tragedy.” (The theme for this month is Death, brought to you by the letter D, and don’t ask me why.) My first essay ebook, “The Cabbage Patch Doll Fight: A Christmas Shopping Tale,” has sold better than many of my short story ebooks.

My business plan for 2012 is to come out with one short story ebook and one essay ebook every month, and have at least 48 ebook titles on the market by the beginning of 2013. That market being both Amazon (Kindle readers) and Smashwords (all other readers). If I’m going to be an indie author, I can’t let Amazon call the shots.

Tallying Up Read An eBook Week

The Read An eBook Week (March 6-12, 2011) is now over. All my ebooks over at Smashwords were available for free with a special coupon code. I gave away 109 copies among seven titles, with an average 13 copies for six titles and 31 copies for one title. If these were actual sales, I would have earned $60. By giving the ebooks away for free, I’m hoping that readers will enjoy my work enough to seek out my future ebook titles.

The one title with 31 copies was “The Unfaithful Camera” (a short story that originally appeared in Transcendent Visions, January 2010). Was it because of the little boy who comes home angry from school when his father doesn’t pick him up? Was it because he found his father and older sister doing the bouncy-bounce in bed? Or was it because of the cover art with the scantily clad girl?

Hard to say why that title did so well. I’m going to assume that it was the well-written story, although I wouldn’t be surprised by the bouncy-bounce theory or the cover. Ebooks with obvious sexual content is a specialty niche on Smashwords.

Out of 109 copies, no one left a review for any of the seven titles. This is becoming something of a pet peeve for me. As all of these titles were reprints of previously published short stories, poems and essay, I know editors liked them well enough to publish in their publications. I really don’t know what readers think of my work.

I was also happy to find out this week that I sold another 10 copies through the Sony retail channel for February. I’m still waiting for the sales numbers from Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. For some reason the sales numbers for my Kindle ebooks through Amazon has been tapering off. From what I read elsewhere about publishing your own ebooks, you need to come out with a new title about every other month. I got two original ebook titles coming out in the next six weeks and four more titles in second half of this year. Sales should perk up with those new releases.

Meanwhile, I will need to do some black magic to modify my ebook sales tracking spreadsheet to account for this sudden surge of free copies. Looks like my Christmas shopping essay will no longer be my most popular title. I’ll find out in a few months if this week-long promotion will result in future ebook sales.

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