Sometimes we bloggers take ourselves oh-so-seriously. The work we do is serious, our intentions are serious, and there are stakes. Both for us and for our readers.
That said, it’s good to share a laugh once in a while among writers. And, I have to add, with our readers, too.
But first, you need to tolerate two tips I’ve just stumbled upon. As in, literally stumbled. Two approaches in my recent experience that yielded unexpected, and unintended, results.
Those, too, are worth sharing.
How To Get Others To Proofread For You, and Pay You for the Privilege
I kid you not.
I just released a new ebook. It’s on story structure, if you’re interested, but that’s not the point. In an effort to serve my subscriber base, I offered them the beta version of the book on a pre-release basis for a limited time.
The result was pretty surprising, and in a good way. Orders flooded in. The feedback was terrific. I made it clear that the book wasn’t quite done, that the “beta” nature simply meant the thing hadn’t been thoroughly proofread yet.
By now you’ve guessed what happened. A few readers took it upon themselves to proof the hell out of the thing. One enterprising fellow sent me about 20 emails, each generated after a reading/proofing session, each identifying typos and his editorial opinion.
Another reader, a well-known blogger, sent me a full page of typos to fix.
And one guy told me that Jack Daniel’s whiskey, which I reference in the text of the ebook (no worries, the context makes sense) is, in fact, a name-possessive thing, with an apostrophe. I’d written it as Jack Daniels, which is wrong. I looked up some labels on Flickr, and darned if he wasn’t right. The name of the guy the whiskey is named after is Jack Daniel, and the booze is, well, his.
Amazing what our readers will teach us. Even where the typos are.
How To Draw a Crowd by Inviting the Right Guests
I’ve recently launched a series of guest blogs on my site, each a well-known, even bestselling novelist. Since my readers are mostly novelists and screenwriters, this is a strategy something short of genius, I just figured we’d all like to read what some name brands have to say.
Here’s what I didn’t count on. Bestselling novelists aren’t immune to the desire to market themselves, nor do they ignore social marketing in the process. So, my superstar guests are cross-promoting their appearance on my site, enthusiastically so, thus driving throngs of adoring fans (theirs) my way that wouldn’t have come otherwise.
A few might just stick around. Imagine that.
And Now That Joke
Joe’s mother was a writer. She’d never published anything, but she loved nothing more than to sit down at a keyboard and pour her dear heart out onto the page.
Trouble was, her keyboard was attached to an old manual typewriter. The kind you see displayed in the window of an antique store.
Joe finally persuaded her to learn the most rudimentary functionality of a computer, using MS Word. She agreed, and before long she was using Google to research her ideas, Outlook to kibitz with her friends on email, and, much to Joe’s surprise, soon had a Facebook page and was a frequent tweeter.
One day she asked Joe for some help getting on line. And that’s when he discovered the password she’d been using for all her new online pursuits.
It was this: “MickeyMinniePlutoHueyLouieDeweyDonaldGoofy.”
When he could speak again, Joe asked his mother why she’d chosen what was just possibly the world’s longest password.
Her response: “Well, they said it needed to be at least eight characters long, and I couldn’t remember all the names from the Brady Bunch.”
Larry Brooks’ (name-possessive used correctly the first time in this case) new ebook is Story Structure – Demystified, available on his site. As is this joke.