A Bees’ Nest Where My Brain Should Be
And other zero-result search terms
Have you followed me on GoodReads yet? If not, you’ll want to go ahead and do that now. I’ll tell you more about it down below, but I recommend just getting it out of the way.
Done? Thanks. Now, on with the show.
I write from the sick bed once again this week—not mine, but my child’s. Though, if you asked me for an assessment of how I’m recovering from whatever plague has been visited upon my household, I’d say it feels like there’s a bees’ nest where my brain should be. I tried searching for that on the web, in an effort to figure out what precisely might cause such a sensation, but believe it or not the results came up blank.
Well, not blank, because nothing’s ever blank on Google. There’s always something to sell you, always some blog post or article you just have to read. But, judging by the irrelevance of this particular results page, no one’s searching for, “Why does it feel like bees are swarming my skull?”
That’s what search engines do, by the way. They aggregate answers to questions people are asking. So, if you live inside the internet (like me) and want your answer to come up when someone asks a question (like, for example, if you want people to buy the book you’re selling), you’ve got to anticipate the questions people are asking and use those terms in whatever it is that you’re writing about the thing you’re trying to sell. Like on your Amazon product page.
So, that’s the next (and mostly last) step in getting this little book baby out of my hands and into yours (and hopefully everyone else’s)—keyword research.
Now, don’t go getting too excited about this. Basically it involves me using an app to figure out what terms people are searching for that are relevant to my book, and then using those terms that are likely to generate the most sales in the description of the book. That way, the book will come up when someone searches for those terms. It is a huge PITA, and I hate doing it. Which is why I’m doing this instead of doing that.
Also, I much prefer talking to you.
But, it has to be done and that’s the task I’ve assigned to myself for the week. Wish me luck.
What’s Exciting Me?
I have a cover. I have a full manuscript formatted and uploaded in both print and ebook format to the websites from where I’ll be publishing the book.
I’m on GoodReads, and so is the book, with three five-star reviews from beta readers already! If you’re a GoodReads member, be sure to follow me and look out for news of the giveaway I’ll be posting soon!
What’s Entertaining Me?
Well, I finished 1899 last week, and I’d like to amend my summary to “LOST and Black Mirror Have a Baby and It Is A Boat.” I don’t know if I finished the season, or if the eight-episode premiere was one of those half-season things like they do with Ozark and The Walking Dead - Either way, I’ll watch more, though I was dully unsurprised at the big reveal at the end. Blame the fever.
Speaking of The Walking Dead, I heard there was a finale? Did you watch? I was a huge TWD fan, but I stopped watching a few seasons ago. Thinking about watching the finale, though, just for some closure.
Umbrella Academy is done and this has been the most entertaining season yet. No idea how they’re going to get out of their current predicament, but there’s another season, so they must!
Also, TOOL. If you knew me in high school, you’ll know I had a not-insignificant obsession with this band, and I still listen to Ænima and Undertow from time to time. For the last 20 years, though, I’ve pretty aggressively avoided listening to their newer music. It’s just not the same if I can’t shout along with them. I was talking to a friend yesterday whose opinion is that some bands and artists run out of stories to tell, and after listening to TOOL’s latest (I mean, 2019 but still) album this week, I wonder if he was right. I like the album OK, but also it reminded me quite a bit of the two before it. But I don’t feel bad saying that after listening to this podcast
What’s Enlightening Me?
Recognizing the sheer work that goes into formatting a book has been pretty enlightening. I decided to part ways with the layout person and just do it myself, because I definitely can and because I was pretty nervous I wasn’t going to ultimately be satisfied with the end product. But the number of times I had to save, upload, resave, and reupload this project was actually mind-blowing. Here’s an incomplete list of the things you have to get right:
Starting each chapter on an odd-numbered page and leaving blank pages where necessary
Putting headers with the title and author’s name in the right places (and not putting them where they don’t belong) (and knowing the difference)
Starting each chapter with exactly the same formatting
I’m not even going to bother with all the rest of the things, but holy crap it’s a lot. Good news is, now I’ve got a checklist for myself so next time I need to format a book, I’ll be ready.
So that’s what I’ve got going on. What’s new with you?
Let me know in the comments (or reply to this email!).
Take care, and with any luck I’ll be writing you from a 100% healthy household next week.