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Archive for March, 2010

Marketing

I liken marketing to being similar to weight training and computer programming. What? Yeah, I know…bear with me. I used to be pretty slick with linear programming. For anybody who doesn’t know what that means, it’s all about writing instructions that are executed one line at a time. Great for a set process that always happens one step after another but not so great for everything else in life. I had a hell of a time making the jump to object oriented programming, it just didn’t make sense.

Then I actually took a class at a community college on it. Within the first couple of classes everything suddenly came into focus. I had just been missing the critical understanding of how it worked. I thought all programs consisted of procedures that started at the first step and had to hit every number up until they ended at (for arguments sake) the 10th step. With OOP you can start at step 1 then do step 5, then step 10…or any combination of other steps. It was amazing, and I’m still not explaining it very well in this post but I have done so successfully with past classmates and friends who needed help making a similar transition.

The same applies to weightlifting.  These days I’m a former competitive powerlifter. That means I used to pick up the heaviest weights possible in direct competition with other men my age and weight class. Whoever picked up the heaviest weight wins. I was moderately successful at it too, and even though I no longer compete I still train with a lot of those principles. It took me years to get there though, years where I had no freaking clue what the hell I was doing. I started off using machines, for Pete’s sake! Then progressed to occasional free weights with the canned 3 set s x 10 reps method focusing on the vanity muscles (chest, shoulders, arms). It took me years, literally, to keep going and find other exercises and to learn that I was an idiot. I needed to do more compound exercises (movements that used multiple muscle groups) and had to make my back and legs stronger. It took a long time and it took the help of some genuine people who really wanted to share and to help to make it happen for me. These days I train others and pass it on to those in need.

Seeing a trend? Well perhaps not, but there is one, I assure you. Marketing my books or websites I create or damn near anything is an art I have yet to master. Heck, I can’t even say I’ve learned to walk in that world yet. It’s going to be painful but I realize I have to figure out whatever the obstacle in my way is and overcome it, or at least find a way around it. And then, when that happens, I’ll be happy to pass that knowledge on to people like me who mean well but are woefully under-informed. Until then I don’t even know what I don’t know, so writing about it or asking questions seems pointless. Sigh…

But hey, in an attempt to blunder my way into something, my latest book, Dark Earth, has just been published by Fido Publishing. It can be found at http://fidopublishing.com/store/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=28&osCsid=ccef2020ba61fe392626e10a97141c09.

Dark Earth is also available at Smashwords.com (http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jhalstead) along with my other published or soon to be published books (Voidhawk and Wanted). Or, if you just want to stop by my web page (under construction at present), go to http://www.booksbyjason.com.

-Jason Halstead

Voidhawk

Voidhawk

Dark Earth

Dark Earth

Categories: Uncategorized

Race Cars

I’ll be the first to admit that Nascar doesn’t do anything for me. Formula 1 isn’t much better. Other racing, motorcycles, trucks, dragsters…you name it, I’ve never been all the big on caring who got where first. About the only time I reckon it really matters who wins the race is in determining the gender and other genetic factors of a baby. Yes, I’m talking about sperm, now let’s move on.

I grew up in lower Michigan. Spent some time in and around Detroit and had the privilege of having a father who spent over 40 years in the automotive industry working for General Motors. I spent a decade in the auto industry myself in fact. With that background, I can say with no regret that I am a staunch supporter of the American Automobile.

When somebody recently claimed that they owned a Honda Civic sports car, I laughed in their face. It was a knee jerk reaction and probably not one that I should have let out. Still, a dinky little 4 cylinder sports car? Come on!

This person insisted it was a sports car, and not just because of the after-market fins, wings, spoilers, racing stripes, and whatever else that is available for them. I smirked and let the subject drop, knowing no good would come of it.

Later though I did some digging online, the Internet knows-all, after all. It turns out there is a niche in the sports / racing segment that caters to the 4 cylinder market. I figured it was made famous by video games mostly, but then again the games wouldn’t have the cars in them if someone hadn’t wondered just how many amphetamines they could force feed the gerbils under their hood. With that discovery under my belt I returned to that individual and acknowledged that they were correct: their car was indeed technically considered a sports car. I’d never consider it as such, but I deferred to them the right that they head to consider it thusly.

To me a sports car has no fewer than 8 cylinders. Mind you there are some Mustangs and Cameros with only 6 cylinder engines, but those may be exceptions to the rules (and, generally speaking, they can’t compete with the 8 cylinder variants). Fuel economy is not a consideration when you are thinking about a sports car. Rather power, speed, comfort, and good looks are what matter. These various factors of performance are what really matter, and I can’t help but wonder if saving up on the various peripherals required to make a 4 cylinder look and feel sporty would allow a person to actually buy an entry level sports car.

Now I’m a truck guy through and through. All about function and utility, but a few times back in Michigan when I saw a Dodge Viper with a V-12 streaking down I-94 I couldn’t help but stare slack-jawed in awe. After they’d zoomed out of my vision I mopped up the drool on my chin and went about my business, but you can’t help but fantasize about owning a car like that.

-Jason Halstead

Categories: Uncategorized

Invisible Walls?

I’ve been reading and hearing that starting a blog is a great thing to do. Not because I feel the burning need to share my thoughts and opinions with the world, nor because I think other people should believe as I do. My purpose is entirely self-serving, I want to help promote my books. By doing this I can help provide links and key phrases to search engines to further optimize my books and / or websites. And all I have to do is spout some random nonsense. Search engine optimization is equal parts science and art, it seems. Amazing, isn’t it?

So what does invisible walls mean? Does it have to do with performers who pantomime running into glass panes? Or perhaps it’s an allusion to the adage about throwing stones and living in a glass house? Even better, maybe it has to do with eliminating the internal dialogue / censor that prevents people from hearing what a person really wants to say (aka seeing inside your thoughts). Of course maybe invisible skull would be more applicable in that latter case. One final possibility occurs to me: perhaps “Invisible Walls” are just to seemingly random words conjoined together (like Concrete Banana). A great name for a band, but nonsense in any other venue.

Whatever the case, I liked it and thus it stuck. It may not be permanent, but aside from death and taxes, what is?

And now the obligatory signature block:

Jason Halstead

Voidhawk

Voidhawk at Fidopublishing.com

Categories: Uncategorized
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