It’s not a fancy new way of spelling, it’s a play on an over-used (and abused) phrase. Forgive me, but it worked if you’re reading this. I promise I’ll make it worth your time. I’ll give you one last chance to back out though. Here’s the buzzword hint: Hockeytown.
I’m talking about Detroit, Michigan! Just a few days ago I wouldn’t have put the exclamation mark on that sentence. Heck, the only exclamation I’d have made about moving back to Michigan would have been vulgar and unfit for mixed company. So what changed?
The Detroit Redwings. Say what you will about Michigan- and I’ve said a lot over the years (I was born and raised here, I’m allowed) – the Detroit Redwings have always held a special place in my heart. There’s something magical about them. Something that sucks you in and gets your blood pumping. Something that makes everything else seem like it doesn’t matter.
Case in point, my wife and I were leaving the Joe Louis arena after a good game against the St. Louis Blues last night (Redwings 5, Blue 3), when my wife wanted to use the restroom one last time. She was standing in line next to a woman who was bound for Cabo that very night on vacation. Since they were staying at the hotel near the airport her husband’s boss asked if he wanted some free tickets to the game. They said sure, they’d start their vacation a day early even though neither were hockey fans (or knew much of anything about them). As the game progressed they found their spirit and were chanting and clapping and screaming with the rest of us.
I’d love to say hockey does that to people, but I don’t think that’s it. I think it has to do with the people and how the Redwings have been there to help draw Detroit together for almost a hundred years. They’ve been there in good times and bad and even weathered a fourtyish year drought without a Stanley Cup win. Last night’s game was the 75th consecutive sold out home game. I don’t know if any other hockey club can boast that.
I looked around at the fans in the stands and realized that nobody cared who voted for who. Nobody cared if you were pro gun or pro right to life. Nobody cared about any of that. Instead we were all banded together to watch some great hockey and put our differences aside to work for a common goal. Ironically, it wasn’t even the goal of beating the Blue. It was to see some exceptional players dazzle us with their skills. And for the record, the Blues had some damn good plays too. One scrawny guy a few rows up from us jumped up and got excited when the Blue scored. I feared for that guy’s life, surrounded by a sea of red and white jerseys! But nobody even gave him any crap (or at least not much). We were there to be comrades. To enjoy a sport that brings together people from all over the world, regardless of nationality, color, gender, or religion.
There was one thing that stood out worth mentioning though. To the lady sitting in section 217B or 217C with the striped pants. Please burn those pants and never show them in public again. Even I know better than that and I’ve got the fashion sense of a camel in the arctic.
For me it showed me what I’ve been missing for the last 3 years. We moved to Utah where we couldn’t even get the TV to show a Colorado Avalanche game, then to NE Ohio where you’d think there’d be some love for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not so much, it was all about the Cleveland Browns or the Pittsburgh Steelers. I only recognized a handful of players on the team now that most of the guys I grew up with and loved have retired. But now that I’m back in Michigan hockey’s on the TV and I’m now comfortably close to the Joe. I’ll go back for more, I guarantee it.
It reminded me of how much I used to love to skate and play hockey too, admittedly more on roller blades than ice skates. I may just see about finding a league for old guys who won’t accept that they’re old and see about joining it.
So here’s my way of saying thank you to the Red Wings for making me proud of where I live and where I’m from. Sure Detroit’s got its problems but Hockeytown will rule forever.
To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
Happy news, I set a new record for sales this month. Two records, actually – I sold more copies of Wanted this month than ever before and on top of that, I doubled last months sales a day before the end of the month. Ah hell, how about the hat trick – Wanted also broke the 20,000 mark in “all sold books” on Amazon. A couple more sales and it’ll break 10,000 – hint, hint.
But this is about advertising. How’d I get to where I’m at? Wanted has two review on Amazon. Sure, they’re both good reviews, but only two. It’s got a striking cover. Not the best, but it’s good. I’m tried my best to make the Amazon page appealing…but again, it’s one of many. So why is it doing reasonably well?
Pricing maybe? I’ve got it at $.99 at the moment. Yes, that helps. But it doesn’t pull people in to look at it in the first place. That’s a combination of me doing my best to make it available as many places as possible, including Twitter.
Ah yes, Twitter. The marketing mecca of the 21st century. I’ve amassed roughly 5000 followers and I regularly send out tweets that promote my books. Not directly, typically. Usually I’m either throwing out a snippet from a review and suggesting people check it out because, damn it, I’m proud of what somebody said in that review. At other times if I think there’s a particularly catchy phrase in a book I’ll tweet that as well. One of the best catch phrases in Wanted, for example, is: “We’re all whores, darling,” he said. “I ain’t judging you, I just don’t care.” If that’s not cool I don’t know what is.
And, of course, if you’re going to give people a reason to check out something, give ’em a link to do so! The easier you make it for someone, the greater the chance of generating that click. I’m a reader too and if I’ve got to do the extra work to find something like looking it up, odds are good you just lost me as a buyer. It’s not that I’m a prick, it’s that I’ve got a lot of things going on. I’m a busy man, and while my time is not any more valuable than yours is, it is valuable nonetheless. Treat your would-be readers with the same respect you want to be treated with and you’ll get a lot further.
I mentioned pride above. As in I’m proud of the reviews I’ve received. I don’t have a massive amount, but so far I don’t have a single bad review. Sure, I expect sooner or later I’m going to ruffle somebody’s feathers, but it hasn’t happened yet. That doesn’t mean I’m the next NY Times #1 Bestseller, nor that I’m a marketing genius. It just means I’m doing okay and connecting with the right people who like what I write. This is called targeting my market. I’m no wizard at it – in fact I’d say I’m more lucky than anything, but that luck is aided by trying to find people on Twitter to follow and tweet with who share my interests. Who wants the apple at the top of the tree when there’s one at the bottom that’s just as good and you don’t need a ladder? Pluck the low hanging fruit first!
More on pride. I’ll be honest (for those who don’t know me) and admit that I can be rather full of myself when it comes to a few areas. Weight lifting, in particular power lifting, is something I’ve excelled at (and suffered catastrophic injuries while doing). I figure that earns me the right to talk a little smack. My day job and many prior jobs and college degrees / certifications state that I’m an expert in the IT field, so I can roll my eyes with the best of them there too.
But writing? Writing is personal. Writing is pouring time and effort and life into something that comes entirely from inside. Every character has a part of me in it, and short of reality TV stars, who’s comfortable baring parts of their souls to complete strangers? So a positive review, a positive rating, or even a sale is nothing short of humbling. Every time somebody reaches out to me on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, my website, or via email and says they enjoyed what I wrote I’m filled with a warm fluffy feeling.
Maybe I haven’t become jaded yet, but I have a hard time seeing that ever get old. Reading a book is an investment not only in the money spent buying it but also in time. The time is generally for more valuable. Even at minimum wage a single hour would buy any of my ebooks. Reading them, on the other hand, will take considerably longer. If someone’s willing to spend that much time with a little piece of my soul and then come back and say, “Hey, good job, I really liked what I read!” Well, is there a better compliment to be found?
So to tie that back into the advertising aspect, do little things like this. Share with the world just how damned appreciative and amazed I am that they like what I’m doing. As Lady Gaga figured out, nothing is possible in this type of market with the fans. So for anybody who’s read one of my books or one day plans on it, my door’s open and, so long as you’re not a stalker who wants to wear a bodysuit made out of my skin, I’m always happy to talk.
And now another chance to check out Wanted because, well, it’s a fun book with a main character who reminds us all of how we’d like to act if only we could get away with it. Well, for the most part, Carl can! And when you’ve finished Wanted and have questions, head on back to find the sequel, Ice Princess!