Trials and Tribulations of an Old Dog

If I was a dog, I would be a nice old one. I know this to be true because as a person, I am a nice old one. As is the case many times, it is very difficult for an old dog and an old person to learn new tricks. The old dog in me might catch the Frisbee, but I’m certainly not bringing it to you. At best I might spit it out at your feet. The old writer in me might be capable of learning all the new marketing and self-promotion tricks of the trade, but executing them is an entirely different matter. (see spitting Frisbee thing)

If there was such a thing as an Author’s Prom, I would be the guy in the back of the room with a glass of punch in one hand and a notepad in the other, doing my best not to spill punch on the notes of my latest writing project while trying to stay invisible.

A while back, my better half (code word: wife) strongly suggested (code word: nagged) that I become involved in Facebook and Twitter as a way to do self-promotion (code word: brag a whole lot about nothing) and marketing. I listened attentively (code word: zoned out) but didn’t follow up until my better half insisted (code word: threatened) and I finally decided (code word: caved-in) to take a look at this self-promotion (code word: brag a whole lot about nothing) marketing tools.

So I went to Facebook to sign up for a page. Confusing at first (like learning Chinese arithmetic) I navigated (code word: fumbled about clueless) until I managed (code word: dumb luck) to complete the process. I was now a member of the community, but I had no friends, fans and nobody liked me (sort of like the Authors Prom, huh.) My better half pointed out (code word: what are you stupid?) that friends and fans weren’t going to just magically appear without actively seeking them out. So I sought help from the Facebook help page (apparently written in some ancient Latin dialect that hasn’t been spoken in two thousand years) to find out the best way to make friends and fans. In theory (E=MC²) the best way to make Facebook friends and fans is to seek out (code word: stalk) people who are avid readers of your genre and let them know that you’re alive and do a little self-promotion (code word: brag a whole lot about nothing.). I gave it a shot.

After a bit, my wife’s cousin became my first friend. I was immediately treated (code word: bombarded) with photos of her young daughter, the dog and cat doing fun stuff to the young daughter and so on. As charming (code word: as exciting as changing a flat tire) as this was I doubted the young daughter would be perusing bookstores in search of my latest mystery novel anytime soon. (not her fault, she has to learn to walk and read first)

But I kept at it and soon acquired a small army of book reading friends and fans to market my work to. I quickly discovered that many book readers can only read while at Starbucks and while posting photos of their delicious lattes and mochas. Others responded to my posts with their favorite recipe (I got a good one for peach cobbler) and show me pictures of their culinary delights. Other avid readers are farmers (they’re not very good at it as they seem to be missing a lot of farming tools) who apparently live in a place called Farmville, and while farmers are certainly allowed to read, I’m really not much for moving there as they keep trying to get me to do. Some avid book readers are sneaky little devils. Case in point is the woman who, the moment we became friends told me how I could read her latest eBook for free. A bit confused about that, I asked this woman why she would go through the time and trouble to write a book only to give it away for free. She told me to #*^&*##))@((@#$$^&#. We’re no longer friends. Another case in point are the avid reader friends who, the moment they become your friend see you as a target for their political opinions (code word: out of control foaming at the mouth rant) and can’t wait to share them with you. Some avid reader friends are also avid TV watchers and are seemingly obsessed with The Walking Dead. I don’t watch much TV and wouldn’t know The Walking Dead from The Grateful Dead, except that both are, well, dead. I sent them to un-friend land (which I believe is the next town over from Farmville) to live with the free eBook lady.

Not being one to quit (code word: afraid of your wife) I pressed on and continued to market my work to my audience of avid mystery readers. I found some interesting traits among them. For instance, some can’t wait to tell me the day of the week and that Wednesday is hump day. Others love to post thirty-year-old photos of themselves on Thursday for some reason. Some of my friends are apparently addicted to sugar and constantly bug me about candy and almost daily send me requests to shop at a place called Candy Land. I like a good Snickers bar as much as the next guy, but come on, eat a salad or something. Then there is the group of avid reader fans who are all meteorologists and they just can’t wait to tell me the weather on a daily basis. Complaining about how it’s just 55 degrees in South Carolina in January and they can’t go to the beach. Do I need this after shoveling snow for six hours? Now I’m not sure how many of my avid reader friends actually buy my books, but my guess is none. So I decided to send the lot of them to un-friend land, which left me with my wife’s cousin and she really does have a nice baby, and dog and cat.

Upon learning this, my wife was visibly upset (code word: blood shot out of her eyes) and convinced (code word: my arm still hurts from being twisted) me to give it another shot. I soothed her anger with a nice peach cobbler and climbed back aboard the Facebook train.

After a while I moved over to Twitter. I must confess that I find Twitter friendlier, easier to navigate and a good place to do marketing and brag a whole lot about nothing.

The only real problem that I seem to have is getting the hang of this one hundred and forty characters limitation. However, as an author I s

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5 Responses to Trials and Tribulations of an Old Dog

  1. Sarah Graves says:

    Hi, Al — I like those code words of yours. They sound a lot like mine! Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of those 140-char

  2. John Clark says:

    I’m adept at Facebook, but anything beyond it is a minefield. I wish I could amass a small armada of blimps with scrolling messages to promote my work. It would be easier, I think.

    • Sarah Graves says:

      Thank you for providing the title for my new essay collection, “An Armada of Small Blimps.”

  3. Margaret Seymour says:


  4. Nancy Miller says:

    Thank you ! I needed a good laugh (and I’m sure there was lots there that missed me as I’m completely out of it).

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