Tag Archives: humour

Who can call Mr. Hue a douche now?

I was flipping through the channels today, trying to find anything but the commentary on the US election, when I had a strong deja vu feeling. I went back to Amazon and looked through the 1-star reviews of Shizzle, Inc. until I found its source:

“…the behavior of Mr. Hue was unrealistic and quite frankly, shockingly rude. A complete douche. If this were reality, his company would have gone down in flames before it ever got off the ground.”

Sorry, dear Gloria Louise. Turns out that if Shizzle, Inc. was set in reality, Mr. Hue would now be President-elect of the United States. So what if he spouts dubious business advice, insults people, or fires loyal employees? If anything, he’s not controversial or shocking enough. I mean, these quotes are almost polite when compared to some of the stuff that has come out of Donald Trump’s mouth:

Meme #9 Mr Hue

Meme #8 Mr Hue

Meme #6 Mr Hue

So guess what? I’m gonna bring him back! Somehow, I’m gonna use this recent drama to spin and sell more copies of Shizzle, Inc., because, as one extremely successful man has taught us all, you “can never be too greedy.” Mr. Hue probably won’t be groping anyone or making lewd comments about his own daughter, but maybe he can, I don’t know, call someone “fat and ugly” before firing them, that kind of thing. Maybe he will deport the Japanese instead of merely taking advantage of them. This may anger a lot of people, but what does that matter if I get to push my own agenda and sell more copies of my book? And in any case, who cares what people think about Shizzle, Inc., as long as I “got a young, and beautiful piece of ass.” Sorry to drag you into this, Joshy.

Not sure what I’m gonna do yet, but I have a feeling it’s the perfect time to try the New York agents again.

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How to catch a Moby Dick

UPDATE: how truly awful, I didn’t know that Gillon Aitken has died just a couple of days ago. I can’t stop reading about him being “the true gentleman” and “literary giant.” RIP, Mr. Aitken.

If anything, the news gave me the shake I needed – life is short and I better get going. The plan still stands, although I will have to find another literary giant to help make my dreams come true.

ORIGINAL POST: I don’t know why, but after a year and a half of self-publishing game, I am once again dreaming of the elusive white whale of traditional publishing. It could be the exhaustion of all the marketing effort that has gone into promoting my books, or the recent confidence boost from finally nailing a big fat dream job. Suddenly I want to change everything: the pricing strategy, the plot of my third book, the marketing buget. It’s been a big few months and I have all the excuses to take it easy, but I just can’t. I feel like I need to take the writing dream by the collar and shake it until it wakes up and gets going again.

As previously lamented, a couple of years ago I started with an attempt to break into the traditional publishing. That time, I went with “cast the net wide” strategy. I penned about 70 applications and sent them off to American agents and a few big-name publishers. The best reply I got was “it’s funny, but we don’t know if there’s an audience for it.” It felt like a whole lotta effort for nothing and it felt like my dream of being a published author was dying. That’s when I decided to give it a great big shake by self publishing my first two books.

Now the dream once again feels like its flatlining, and I need to shock it back to life. I’m thinking adreanline. I’m thinking a big dream, hence the Moby Dick. This time, I won’t cast my net wide, instead zeroing in on one big target. Here he is:

gillon

Yes, the literary agent of Helen Fielding. And why the hell not? As soon as I had this insane/brilliant idea, I fired off an email to Gillon asking if he’d be interested in having Isa Maxwell series republished with a traditional publisher. The way I figured, he’d probably say no. This is where my strategy will differ from the previous salmon-like application spawning.

I shall not take no for an answer. I will not move onto another agent until I am absolutely sure that I have bothered Mr. Aitken enough to at least have a look at Shizzle, Inc. Here’s my multi-step plan of ever-increasing pestering:

  1. Send an email (already done).
  2. Send copies of physical books.
  3. Contact other agents in the same agency asking how to get to him.
  4. Find him on social media and fire off @ messages until he figures out how to block me.
  5. Start an online petition of “Mr. Aitken, please read Shizzle, Inc!”
  6. Start a website http://www.mraitkenpleasereadshizzleinc.com and publicise it on social media.
  7. TBD. Something viral, preferably.

The way I figured, what do I have to lose? Okay, so I may eventually piss him off, but is that really worse than him not knowing who I am? On the bright side, what if he finds all this nonsense hilarious and decides to check on who the hell is this mad woman Spoke? Stranger things have happened.

Anyway, that’s the plan. If you have any crazy suggestions for the mad woman Spoke, let me know. Cause I’m doing this!

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#ComedyBookWeek review – Beaver vs. Beaver by Portia Porter, Esq.

I couldn’t help myself – despite going nuts with trying to figure out HTML and keep track of all the updates, I’ve read another book from the 117 funny books on offer at #ComedyBookWeek. This is not an ordinary event, and it features some not-so-ordinary books. It shouldn’t be surprising then, that Beaver vs, Beaver came out at me from the left field. It’s a humorous memoir of a divorce lawyer, striking out on her own for the first time, and landing her very first client – a multi-millionaire, no less. I don’t know what I expected, although it was probably something along the lines of Ally McBeal. It promised an insider look into the family law court, and I settled in, looking forward to some light reading and maybe relieving my dreams of being an attorney. ‘Cause I could totally do that. I work hard, and I can look adorable when in the right mood and viewed from the right angle.

Oh. My. God. This was so not Ally McBeal.

Yes, it’s an insight into the law practice, alright. And yes – it’s funny when Portia Porter pulls down the pants of the legal practice and reveals all of its warts. It’s like she’s the Julian Assange of family law, but without that rapey vibe. There’s the part towards the end of the book, where the narrative steps away from the main story and details some of the ways the lawyers go about screwing each other, the judge, vice versa, the client and vice versa, and various combinations of the above. Because of that, I see this book as a short course for potential clients, told in a humorous way. Portia is also a Malcolm Gladwell of sorts – educating you about something as painful and dry as divorce proceedings through storytelling and humor.

The story is told from the first person, but you get to understand what Portia in the story doesn’t yet know. It’s gut-wrenching in the way that makes people in movie theaters yell “Don’t open that door!” I actually had to stop in the middle of the book and take a walk when she did open that door – the pain of anticipating the ultimate swindle was excruciating. I don’t want to reveal too much, sufficient to say that I found the resolution of the story very satisfying.

The voice of the book is both intelligent and lighthearted:

“Lawyers on TV—at least the ones who play the good sort—never have the smallest problems with their memory and organization. All the exhibits are always at their fingertips, they never forget a date, they have the statutory Codes memorized cold, even when they must quote what is a five sub-paragraph deep citation.”

“8:55 A.M. Judge’s bench still empty. It’s just me, Ms. “Human Coil” Boom and the sheriff.
9:10 A.M. No change.
9:20 A.M. No change.
9:25 A.M. Starting to lose hope. The judge forgot about us probably.
10:10 A.M. The back door opens . . . false alarm! It’s the Judge’s Secretary Tonya, the author of the cryptic email.”

Expertly written, flowing prose has been just as expertly edited, something that is too often overlooked. I’ve learned quite a few things from reading this book – for starters, that I’m not cut out for the court. That if I ever do have to hire a lawyer, I’ll make sure I won’t have to fire him or her. Oh, and that I will have to read her other books: Can You Stiff Your Divorce Lawyer? and Alienation of Affections.

Buy Beaver vs. Beaver to read just for kicks, and then to keep on your bookshelf, you know, just in case. Buy it if you or anyone you know is considering a divorce. And, for the love of God, buy it for that bright-eyed daughter or niece of yours that is nurturing dreams of being the next Ally McBeal.

You can thank me later.

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#ComedyBookWeek Calendar of Events

UPDATE: THIS PAGE HAS BEEN SUPERCEEDED by the official page. Please visit http://www.comedybookweek.com to view the up-to-date list of events.

 

 

 

 

So wonderful to see everyone excited about the big event! I have started the list of links to what will be happening each day – if you have a post/review/interview happening during 16-23 July, please let me know in the comments below, and I will add it to the Calendar.

Dear book bloggers – please make sure your review is posted on the scheduled date, or advise me if you want the date moved. Once you have a dedicated URL for the post, please advise, and I will update the link (the links are currently generic to your blog).

16 JULY

C (the happy meerkat) review of Shizzle, Inc by Ana Spoke.

Matthew Drzymala’s interview with Ana Spoke.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with Russ Colchamiro.

Kirsty McManus review of Mind if I Come In? by  K.L. Phelps and interview with the author.

17 JULY
Barb Taub’s review of Must Love Ghosts by Ani Gonzalez.

Jam (Leaves et Livres) review of Do Not Wash Hands in Plates by Barb Taub.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with J.J. Green

Matthew Drzymala’s interview with Abby Vegas.

18 JULY

Rosa Temple’s interview with Ana Spoke, author of Shizzle, Inc.

C (the happy meerkat) review of Space Adventurer #1 by Carrie Hatchett.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with M.T. McGuire.

Matt Drzymala’s interview with MTM McGuire.

19 JULY

Rosa Temple’s review of How To Cook Up A Disaster by Rachel Elizabeth Cole.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with Frankie Bow.

Matt Drzymala’s interview with Portia Porter.

20 JULY

C (the happy meerkat) review of Do Not Wash Hands in Plates by Barb Taub.

Rosa Temple’s blog – guest post by Bernadette Maycock, author of It Started with a Snub.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with Scott Burtness.

Kirsty McManus review of Shizzle, Inc by  Ana Spoke and interview with the author.

21 JULY

Jam (Leaves et Livres) review of Can You stiff Your Divorce Lawyer by Portia Porter.

Guest Post by Susan Daffron on Rosa Temple’s blog.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with Jackson Lear.

22 JULY

C (the happy meerkat) review of Kingston Raine and the Grim Reaper.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with Isa-Lee Wolf.

23 JULY

BRMaycock’s Book Blog review of Maid for Love by Victoria Van Tiem

PLANNED BUT NOT YET SCHEDULED:

Ani Gonzalez will be reviewing KL Phelps(Mind if I come in), Leigh Selfman (Haunt Flashes),  Barb Taub (Null City #1), and Shizzle, Inc.

Ingenious Cat will review Kelpie Dreams.

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#ComedyBookWeek – source page for book bloggers

UPDATE: THIS PAGE HAS BEEN SUPERCEEDED by the official page. Please visit http://www.comedybookweek.com to view the up-to-date list of participating books.

 

 

I’ve decided to post all participating books early, to allow book bloggers to easily choose one (or a few!) books for review. If you are interested in reviewing any of the books below, please contact the author directly using their social media contacts, for a free review copy. You can also approach any participating author for an interview.

Once you’ve planned an “event” (a book review, interview, or a guest post), please do the following:

  1. Let me know, so that I can add it to Calendar of Events,
  2. Make sure to use #ComedyBookWeek in your post,
  3. Use the hashtag in any Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook ads of the post – we will be retweeting all posts with the hashtag during the week of 16-23 July!
  4. Use this graphic wherever and whenever you can:humor_book

And now, for the books. Click on the image to visit the book’s Amazon page, to read the blurb or author’s bio.

Please let me know if you’re an author and would like to add your funny book to this list.
  

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#ComedyBookWeek is coming – do you want to participate or help?

Marketing funny is hard. If you are a humor writer, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. If you are a humor consumer – it may come as a surprise.

Before I started trying to market my books, I naively assumed that funny should almost sell itself – after all, the biggest blockbusters are usually comedies, and isn’t it a natural for the word of mouth? When it comes to books, however, humor is a tiny category, dominated by autobiographies of famous comedians. In fact, most ebook marketing sites don’t even have a mailing list for it, so I’ve had to slot Shizzle, In into Action&Adventure or YA with mixed results.

I was reminded once again of how few comedy writers are out there when I joined KBoards and saw the invitations for author cross-promotion. They were all either for fantasy, paranormal, or romance. Or the combination of the three. That makes sense, of course – those are the largest categories of ebooks on Amazon. I was sad for all of three minutes, and then I did what I tend to – take some initiative.

I decided to start a humor/chicklit cross-promo. I was a little nervous at first – after all, I’ve been a member for all of five minutes, but the response has been overwhelming – so far a total of 24 authors have signed up! Not only that, one of them made a banner for the event, so we are all legit now:

humor_book

So what is planned? At the moment, the main emphasis is on gathering numbers, and starting to promote #ComedyBookWeek as an event designed to help readers discover new Indie humor authors. All funny books are welcome, by the way – chick lit, satire, whatever, as long as it makes people laugh.

The rough plan at the moment is that during the event week, participants will post blogs with links to participating books, post interviews, guest blogs, tweets, and whatever else they usually do with their social media platforms. The aim will be to generate buzz with the hashtag #ComedyBookWeek, to help people connect and find new funny reads. We also plan to approach book reviewers and maybe some outrageous ideas as well – suggestions are welcome!

If you want to participate by submitting your book or by offering to host an interview or review, please let me know, or join us on KBoards!

 

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Marketing gimmick #2, in which I slash prices and @&# everyone.

Shizzle, Inc is $0.99 for a limited time!

Did any of that get your attention? Hope so, cause my gimmick #2 got me no results whatsoever. Or maybe it did, if you consider negative a result. The rankings added zeroes – and of course, that means the sales didn’t. The stats went south and someone blocked me…

Before I continue with this pity party, I do have some amazing news to report. Shizzle, Inc now got six reviews on Amazon, all 5-star! This may not seem like much, compared to proper bestsellers, but from reading other people’s blogs, I gather that it is quite an achievement for the first three weeks of a self-published title. I have read each one at least a dozen times, and it sounds like there will be a few more within a week – people have messaged me to say that they are reading it and laughing. Sweeter words have not been written…

So, back to my gimmick #2, what was it? As the title says, I’ve spent last week #-tagging and sending @ messages to reviewers on Twitter. It was suggested in one of the comments, and as soon as I read it, I was overwhelmed with a vision that it would work. After all, I’ve seen celebrities madly hashtagging their every sneeze, and if celebrities do it, it must be working for them, right?

My plan was simple:

  1. Add hashtags to my quote+link tweets sent out four times a day via Buffer. I’ve used some of the ones from 44 essential hashtags for writers. I have personally used #comedy, #humor, #Kindle, #ebook, and #chicklit.
  2. Send @ messages to 20 Twitter reviewers. I sent quotes+link tweets to all reviewers still active on this Best Twitter Reviewers list.
  3. Refresh stats at least once a minute.

A week has passed. Stats have been refreshed at least ten thousand times, and the results are in. So, how did I do, and what have I learned?

  1. Hashtags seemed to reduce the number of link clicks for the week! Here are the last two weeks worth of engagements and link clicks:

Link clicks

The week before, I got 285 link clicks. This week it’s back down to the usual 131. Is that the hashtag’s fault? Or is everyone seek of seeing my quotes? Is there a “quote fatique” going on?

In addition, the number of profile visits went down, even though the number of engagements is way up (for the last 28 days):

Tweet impressions vs profile visits

When things are not working, one must change, and pronto. For this current week, I have stopped hashtagging and even including links, and the stats have actually improved! So far, I am getting a lot more retweets on my quotes, which may mean that people automatically hate hashtags or links – they know you’re trying to sell them something…I will provide a full update in a week.

2.  Sending @ messages resulted in zero responses from the reviewers, it’s like they didn’t even see it. Oh, wait, one did – I got blocked in a hurry! I kind of understand, because nobody has the time to respond to every single message, and maybe mine were properly spammy. I then tried again, sending more personal messages to those who did not block me and actually asking to review the book, rather than passively-aggressively sending a quote and a link. So far I got one polite “sorry, I’m too busy” and no other blocks. But no interest, either.

There you go, not all marketing ideas are good. For my next trick, I have reduced the price of Shizzle, Inc to 99 cents! get it quick, before I decide to test what a $9.99 will do to my royalty figures!

In my next gimmick reveal I pinky-promise to tell you:

  1. How many sales it took to get to #72 on the PAID Amazon Humor Bestseller list.
  2. Sales figures before and after the free ebook giveaway a couple of weeks ago.
  3. The impact of this latest $0.99 sale on the sales figures.

If you have any particular questions about marketing of a freshly-self-published novel, ask away and I will answer them in the next post.

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Get Shizzle, Inc for free – my “thank you” to all of you!

Hi, everybody,

Thank you again for helping me make Shizzle, Inc happen – you’ve been with me while I was writing it, gave me advice when I was pulling my hair out during editing, and you even bought copies of my first baby, catapulting it to Amazon’s Humour Bestseller List within the first week (even if it was there only for a few hours).

I was wearing my fingers raw typing endless mad “thank you”s when I realised that no amount of exclamation marks, or even the cutest emojis can convey my gratitude. I also realised that the best way to thank someone is with stuff. Since I’m far away, don’t have much stuff to begin with, and really need the stuff I already got, I want to thank you with free copies of Shizzle, Inc. I’ve scheduled the promo to be on Amazon this weekend, although I’m buffled as to which time zone it will be. It’s a fair bet that on Saturday afternoon you should be able to download a copy. If you’ve already bought a copy, thank you double – and maybe tell your friends about the promo.

Thank you again, and please let me know what you think 🙂

Big, big hugs.

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Shizzle, Inc is on Amazon Kindle bestseller list!!!

Aaaaaa!!! I was just climbing into bed to start working on my blog tour spreadsheet and decided to stare at my Amazon link one more time. I’m tired after a full day of spreadsheeting and bullshitting at work, so I thought seeing Isa’s face would give me the much-needed boost. Then I noticed this:

Screenshot (13)

This must be some kind of a mistake, I thought. So I clicked on a link, which took me to Top 100 Paid Titles in Humour. And there she was, my creation, with a number 72 next to it:

Screenshot (12)

I’m speechless. Good thing that I can still type, so that I can “say” thank you to those who bought my book. Regardless of what happens next, you’ve made my dream come true.

Big, big hugs.

Ana

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The never ending cover story

Ok, I know you’re sick of this by now, but…Just. One. More. Time.

At least I’ve managed to pick one of the two concepts. I went with the more literal one, which also happens to use a face. The research shows that people respond to faces, and it also shows that I respond to research findings. So there you go, one decision made.

I’ve also spent hours searching Shutterstock for better images. Here are the previous version (on the left) and the new one (on the right):
Version 3 vs version 4
I’m practically in love with this new model. Not only her facial expression is spot-on, she’s also not stick-thin, like most of the pretty blond girls on Shuttersock. At one point, desperate, I was going to hire a model and a photographer, but I don’t think I could wish for a better girl.

I’m also happy with the background, which (when I pay and download a proper photo) shows a view of a downtown city. The colour is also fitting.

The man’s arms read better, but some people were confused and thought Isa just has “man hands”. May have to look more.

Not at all happy with lettering, but being an optimist, I’m sure a solution will come to me, maybe in a dream or in the middle of a meeting.

So there you go. One baby step closer to the finish. Brilliant ideas and suggestions would be much appreciated!

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