Housekeeping (after all, it is Saturday)

Since I’m not a fan of housekeeping, I procrastinate on the housekeeping chores that go along with having a website and a blog. On the website, I’m likely to let pages sit for a while without a constant supply of fresh material so that return visitors have something new to read. Here, I’ve uploaded quite a few posts, but didn’t touch the pages that display on the menu across the top of the screen for a long time.

Now, the website is looking better and I have two new pages–replacing two out-of-date pages–that I’ll try to keep current with excerpts and pictures.

My view of websites and blogs is that, other than talking about my books and related subjects, they are all about you rather than all about me. I wrote an article for a magazine for nonprofit organizations in which I said that many of them were missing the boat when they advertised events and exhibits. Like commercial advertising, nonprofit news releases which appeared in the newspaper should be about the reader, that is, showing him/her why the event would be fun, entertaining, and otherwise worthwhile.

Author C. Hope Clark, who sends out a weekly newsletter from her Funds for Writers website said that author newsletters seldom do much good because instead of talking about books and interesting subject matter, they often degenerate into monthly updates about the authors’ kids and pets. That’s not what the readers want to see. As Clark but it, they didn’t subscribe to be a buddy, they subscribed to find out about exciting new releases and, in some cases, book signings and other events the author would be attending. So, I try to use my website to show prospective readers why they might enjoy my books rather than having, say, a page about what my cats are doing.

This blog is a bit more relaxed. Since I’m disorganized, I’m likely to talk about anything here and sometimes it is about what my pets are doing.  Sorry about that, if you’re not a cat person.

At any rate, I hope you enjoy the improving website and the two new pages on this blog. And, if there are certain kinds of posts you want to see more of, let me know in the comments section

–Malcolm

Those gurus, bless their hearts, say I need a newsletter

When I went away to college, my parents expected me to write home every couple of days. I said I wasn’t going to do that because I had nothing to say. That was true enough because every day was just like they day before it: I sat in a classroom, ate meals, studied, watched TV, went to bed, got up the next morning and sat in a classroom.

Some writers’ newsletters sound about like that. When they do, they’re so boring we can’t bring ourselves to write them, much less expect you to suffer through reading them. It’s hard enough thinking of something reasonably interesting to put in this blog. Heaven help me if I had to turn out a newsletter three or four times a month.

I’ve toyed with the idea of a fake newsletter. I could name it Trigger Warnings and fill it full of stuff that will push a lot of buttons that shouldn’t be pushed. Some folks used to argue that if a person put something nasty in quotes, they couldn’t be blamed for saying it. Trigger Warnings would be like that. I warn you with some introductory boilerplate, say stuff you don’t want to hear, and then hit the send button.

That kind of thing strikes my fancy because I have a trickster approach to life. If one just doesn’t say a thing, I want to say it.

Since quotation marks absolve me of misspeaking–as politicians often say–I could begin my newsletter with “Dear Bastards” and it would be okay. So then I could say, using an old-fashioned grin symbol <g> that while I appreciate your “congrats,” “great story,” and other fine comments on Facebook about my novels, I want to point out that if you don’t leave an Amazon reader review, my book is toast.

My wife–who has known me since 1979–is often surprised at what I say while we’re talking to “normal people.” Those “normal people” tend to get drunk after talking to me because I love saying what shouldn’t be said.

Trigger Warning: This might make you sick

Presumably, “normal people” would sign up for my newsletter and then immediately unsubscribe the first time I wrote about roadkill salad. On the plus side, roadkill salad is free unless you add mayo. And chopped pecans.

But I would want to be honest. That means if I was thinking about writing a poem about “roadkill salad,” I would have to tell you that and see what you thought. Sure, you might need a couple of Xanax to get through the newsletter, but it would still be liberating. See, that’s what tricksters do. We liberate you from everything that makes you sick, embarrassed, crazy, and politically inept.

Or, I might suggest that every subscriber had to buy 1,000 copies of my books and give them to relatives, prisoners, and random people on the street.

You can see, can’t you, why I don’t really think this newsletter is a great idea?

Malcolm