Preview: A VOICE ABOVE THE DIN
A VOICE ABOVE THE DIN
A Novel by Steven Holbrook Hill
"Sometimes... the road less traveled leads right back to you."
Marketing Blitzkrieg Vol. 9
Break out the champagne! My book finally has a ranking on Amazon! Since it first came out in October '05 (has it been that long?) I've been checking Amazon to see if the ranking would ever change from "no ranking, your book isn't worth spit" to some... any... gloriful number.
So I checked it this morning and behold, a NUMBER! A seven digit number, but a number no less. I'm so excited, hehe. #1,427,596 may not quite be a bestseller yet, but I'm sneaking up on it, wait and see. You gotta look at the positive: out of all the books for sale on Amazon, I'm no longer in last place. I feel a tiny bit of vindication. I made a mark. Yeah baby!
The way I see it, it can only go up from here... well, maybe.
Cheesracing, of All Things
I happened on a website by chance ~ actually four degrees of surfing, read: USA Today - to - Ken What's His Name from Jeopardy Fame - to Mental Floss - to Cheese Racing ~ and as I was checking out the ridiculous new British 'sport' of cheese racing (I might as well give it to you so you don't have to waste time Googling it: www.cheeseracing.org
) I noticed their webcounter.
It was clocked at almost 650,000 page hits. You've got to be kidding me! Last I checked I was barely scratching 1500 (which is actually 500 because I started the counter at 1000 so that people logging on in the beginning didn't think they were the only ones). Sticking plastic wrapped Kraft singles on a grill and watching them expand and blow up has 650,000 hits, and my comely little blog trumping independent arts has 1500 (okay, okay, 500)? UGHHH!
I can't believe it! At first I was shocked, but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I should maybe start a ridiculous website about some inane thing and just put a tiny link to my book and presto! Half a million hits. Even if the hits come over 8 years, which seems to be how long cheeseracing has been in existence, I'd still take it. Right now my pace would be about 12,000 hits over the same period (okay, okay, 4,000). So then, what ridiculously inane thing could I come up with? Hmmm... maybe instead of plastic wrapped cheese, I could throw my neighbor kid's Fisher Price Popper toy on the grill and see how long that
takes to blow up? (I could call it www.deathtoannoyingkidstoys.com
). Or maybe I could throw my other neighbor's pesky little cat that he puts on a leash on the grill and see what happens (come to think of it, that's already been done with a microwave). Better yet, maybe I should throw the neighbor
who actually walks his cat on a leash on the grill so I don't have to witness such ridiculous affronts to manhood any more. (I could call it www.youcanttakemymanhoodawaybywalkingyourcatonaleash.com
). Or perhaps I could throw a pot of a dozen or so boiling eggs on the stove and leave them for a couple hours just to see what it looks (and smells) like afterwards, assuming the house isn't burnt down (I could call it www.eggstremecooking.com
). (Hopefully, my wife has a sense of humor. Just don't ask her to hard boil eggs!)
Seems to me the choices are endless. I'd better go and get started. Maybe there is something to this idea of backdoor webtising after all.
Marketing Blitzkrieg Vol. 8
I got 2 emails last week, one from England and one from Belgium. How cool is it that my book's comparatively meager sales have actually penetrated Europe? I'm kinda psyched thinking about it. It goes to show that networking and being a part of the literary web scene can lead to 'digital' word of mouth.
I also received an email the other day out of the blue from a gentleman who is publishing his memoir of experiences during 9/11. Artie Van Why's (yes that's the name) blog is at: http://www.thatdayinseptember.blogspot.com/
. I read through his account and found his experience and insight fascinating. He was working in a building one block away from Ground Zero. I don't know about you, but I never really get tired of reading about these firsthand accounts connected to 9/11. It's become such a huge part of the fabric of our lives, especially here in the Tri-State area, that I find the emotional pull of such writings irresistable. I thought I'd give him a plug here so that the three people reading my blog could benefit from his experience. I look forward to his memoir when it comes out.
Happy Book Marketing!
Marketing Blitzkrieg Vol. 7
Well now. Obviously there's not much happening on the marketing front here. I haven't sent anything to Tom Cruise yet. Got to get myself psyched up for the rejection factor first and I'm just not there yet.
My bumper sticker is in place and has been producing zero results. And I just saw at my gym this morning, they had taken down my cut sheet advertising my book. I complained (halfheartedly) and Carol the Receptionist offered to put another one back up, which was mighty nice of her.
I think about my book marketing and I get depressed. I don't know what else to do. Got no money for advertising. Have to rely on word of mouth and the word right now is 'nothing'!
All the different book buzz ways of marketing that I read on the net require funds that I don't have. So...
Got any suggestions for getting out of the book marketing doldrums?
Marketing Blitzkrieg Vol. 6
So here is my new bumper sticker. I should be getting it in the mail either today or tomorrow. The writing is bigger so it will be easier to read. We'll see. The colors are matched to the cover of the book, so that came out nice.
Oh! I almost forgot... the copy of my book that I sent to Matt Damon's publicist was returned to me unopened. Figures! How the heck do you get in touch with these famous people anyway? Do they live monk-like lives? There has to be a way to get something into their hands. Anyway, my next try is Tom Cruise. I got an inside tip on an address and his real name where he sometimes opens and answers his own mail. Yeah right.
Have you gotten your COPY yet? (Not the bumper sticker! The Book, duh.)
Marketing Blitzkrieg Vol. 5
Okay, so I got my bumper stickers in the mail, and as usual I can't figure out how to get the dumb things up here for you to look at. Keeps coming upside down. I know, sounds like it should be an easy fix... but that's beside the point.
Point is, the writing is too small. You couldn't read it unless you were right behind me in your car. Now I realize that's the purpose of bumper stickers, but I was hoping the writing would be a little larger so that at least people 2
cars behind me could read it!
Anyway, when I feel like it, I'll go back to the website and this time I will make one that has LARGER writing, even if it just means putting the web address alone on it.
Or maybe I'll get one of those magnetic signs instead and really embarrass my wife!
Okay, so the article in the local paper came out and I got great feedback on that. (People at the gym still come up to me and say they loved it.) But, unfortunately, it's short-lived marketing. I'm desperately trying to think out of the box, to think of ways to market that are long lasting - and cheap!
So I come upon this website www.makestickers.com
and learn that I can pretty much make up my own bumper stickers (from templates) with my own pics for as little as 5 bucks. So I did and ordered 2 for $7.95. Man you can't beat that! They should be coming in the mail today and then I'll scan one and throw it up here so you can see what good quality it is. Talk about cheap advertising!
I told my wife about it and she made fun of me, you know, driving around with my own books' bumper sticker on my car - said it was tacky. But if I was a plumber or electrician, wouldn't I have a sign on my vehicle advertising that fact? And a big sign at that, not even a bumper sticker! So why not an author driving around advertising his own book? I don't see the tackiness at all. I see cheap, original advertising. Nothing wrong with that! You gotta believe in your own stuff, if you don't what can you believe in?
The other day I also read an article about Matt Damon wanting to write another screen play after he wraps up acting in his latest film. So I sent a copy of my book to his publicist with a note to pass it on to him. I'm sure I'm not the first person to do this, but - to borrow the very appropos NY Lottery phrase - hey, you never know.
With all the thousands of web sites and blogs knocking down my door to review my book, I had to step back and go award the privilege to the one outlet I thought would do it the most justice. It was the hardest decision I've ever made and I feel sorry for all those who lost out, but, without further ado... the winner is
Here's a sampling of what Litkicks proprietor Levi Asher wrote: "Anybody who knows On The Road will recognize the setup, but Hill's book is heavier on plot and lighter on tone than Kerouac's."
Oooh! A mention in the same breath as Kerouac... awesome! Them's is nice words!
Anyone who has been following me knows that I think Litkicks is heavy on quality content and light on the cheese, and is probably the best lit site on the web. My writing has been received there with open arms, so it's very nice to know that Levi saw fit to give my book a shoutout. I've now moved passed the gates of Validation into the land of Credibility! Yeah!
(For those who don't know, Litkicks is one of the most informative websites keeping it's pulse on the underground/indie lit scene. It started out as a Beat site - and a very good one at that - and has made natural progressions over the last decade or so to position itself as the pre-eminent authority on the counter-culture of the new millenium.)
So if you haven't checked out Litkicks yet - well, what are you waiting for?
And go buy my book in a showing of wholehearted support for the independent artist.
And while you're at it, check out my other blog OKAY TERRIFIC
. There you'll find out who won Independent Artist of the Month.
Marketing Blitzkrieg Vol. 2
Well, my local community paper did a piece on me and the book and it was awesome!! It just came out yesterday and I'm already getting great feedback. Kudos to Maggie from Pascack Valley Community Life. Hopefully, this will prompt more interest. (I tried to upload the article but it didn't work. I'll try again later.)
I also went to the local bookstore in Westwood, Shaw's, and asked him to stock my book. He said no problem and actually called it up through Ingram and ordered it right there on the spot. Next stop is Bookends in Ridgewood. I hear they are pretty good with local authors. Maybe I can set up a book signing with some of these local bookstores, that would be ideal.
The Marketing Blitzkrieg Vol.1
So marketing your own book is really difficult, but I'm getting into it. You have to start small and snowball it from there. I'm still in the small stage. Yesterday around noon I gave a talk at the local high school, Westwood Regional, about writing and publishing etc. There were about 30 kids and 5 teachers present. They gave me an incredible welcome and had a lot of appreciation for me coming in. All in all it was pretty successful. Before I started, one of the kids introduced himself and told me that I graduated with his uncle, so that made me feel pretty old! The head of the English Department, Mrs. Cella, also happened to be my 7th grade English teacher many moons ago, which made me feel even older! But I had such a good time, I think I'm going to contact other schools and see if I can continue this.
Maggie, a reporter from the local community paper Community Life, was there also. She had interviewed me on the previous Friday and wanted to attend the talk and put it in the article. Her profile on me as a local author should be coming out in a few weeks.
Another local paper, Pascack Press, actually ran an article this week that I contributed in return for a byline about me and my book. They weren't super cooperative and they hacked up my article so much there was blood flowing. Oh well, at least they spelled my name and website right!
And... I just learned last night that you can also purchase my book at AMAZON
and BARNES & NOBLE
. So I'm really psyched about that.
Not only am I now on Amazon and BN, but you can Google me too! I feel so... so VALIDATED! Now go out and buy my book and support the local arts and feel validated too.
The Marketing Blitz continues... stay tuned.
Okay. I've been getting a lot of great feedback on the book. But one complaint has been that people want a more thorough synopsis. No problem. Here it is:
A VOICE ABOVE THE DIN is a bittersweet tale of self-discovery in which two twenty-something young men, who are total opposites in nature, find themselves on the lam from the law, journeying from Denver to Los Angeles.
SPENCER CUYLER–a complex and beleaguered twenty-five-year-old with a dark secret–is seeking to find his place in the world, while enigmatic, free-spirited surfer JOHN SHAW is looking solely for good times.
During their trek through the mountains of Wyoming, John severely injures his leg in a freak accident. Spencer helps him to safety when they stumble upon the secluded, wilderness home of the beautifully exotic ALIA FRANCAVILLA, a local park ranger with whom Spencer falls desperately in love. Realizing that he can’t enjoy the fruits of true love at her expense because of his secret, he leaves her behind. As their fast-paced road trip unfolds through Idaho, Nevada, and California, Spencer and John experience various adventures and meet a cadre of eccentric characters, all the while forging a bond of friendship that neither one quite expected. But Spencer, finally following his gut instinct, parts company with John in Los Angeles and travels back to Wyoming, only to come face to face with a tragic irony that questions his newfound self-discovery.
Keep in mind, you can preview the first chapter on my Lulu
website before buying. Thanks again for you support!
There it is! The ISBN number! I'm so excited, finally, A VOICE ABOVE THE DIN is now semi-released
. Currently, it's available only through Lulu.com. You can click HERE
to order a copy right now, for a paltry $15.99. Once on the site you can preview the first chapter, which I'm sure will hook you right away! You can also order a download for a third of the price if you desire that instead.
Keep in mind that it will be available through major online booksellers and local bookstores (by special order) in about 6-8 weeks, following the standard vetting process by Ingram. The Suggested Retail Price for these booksellers will be slightly higher, at $18.99. (There is an explanation for this but it's pretty complicated so I won't bother you with that right now).
Lastly, be assured that some proceeds from all sales of my book will be donated to charity. Thank you for your kind support in this endeavor. I truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.
This blog is dedicated to my new novel, A VOICE ABOVE THE DIN, which is due out in late September sometime.
For now, I'm posting a pic of the cover. In the near future, I'll try and post some of the first chapter as a teaser and field your feedback.
'Till then, thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned for updates...