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Indie Book Marketing

I’ve read tons of stuff about what indie authors should do to promote their books, and it all boils down to these two contrasting views (yes, I’m good at synthesizing concepts):

  1. spend your life on social networks (defined broadly) trying to build a marketing platform to engage with readers (build a conversation)
  2. keep writing and publishing more books, because your new works will automatically promote the older.

I tend to be quite inconstant with this kind of stuff. In a way, my entrepreneurial spirit is skewed toward doing what I like, pretending to forget about all the rest, so that’s not really what you’d expect to find in an entrepreneur. That makes me better at pursuing option 2, which I reckon is the easiest if you really feel like a writer. I believe it’s natural to want to write rather than engage with other amusing activities such as, you know, talking to people on the web.

That said, I came to the conclusion that option 2 just doesn’t work. Like most entrepreneurs in the IT field know too well, the “built it and they’ll come” mantra doesn’t work at all. You need some kind of marketing, some level of exposure to the world. “Write it and they’ll read it” doesn’t apply to us no-ones. For bestseller authors, yes. For us newbies, of course not.

Now, I hope you’ll excuse me as I have to jot down the idea for a new story.

Oh, wait…

Branch Off Available for Pre-order on Kindle

Branch Off Cover

Branch Off is available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle! The official release date is March 20th, 2015. Enjoy, and go click on the cute little Pre-order with 1 Click button.

Geek Tool: Victorinox MiniChamp Alox

When I was a kid, I suffered this kind of crush for Swiss Army* knives. I was so damn obsessed that I persuaded my parents to buy me a little one, which I still remember with love. Yes, love. You see, MacGyver was (is?) my favorite hero.

And then, one day, when I was playing in the snow on the side of a hill (not sure exactly where) I lost it. It must have slipped out of my pocket, and that wrecked me. I was sad for days.

A few years later, when I was a little older, I bought another one (which I still have). It was a Wenger model with a fair number of tools, and for a while it always was with me. But then pockets began getting packed full with other things like wallet, keys, and grown-up stuff like that, and the knife was left home alone. Swiss Army knives never returned to my mind.

Until now.

Victorinox MiniChamp Alox

That’s my key ring, with more non-keys than keys.

The real threat is not a woman with a credit card, but instead a geek with a credit card. You see the result above: a Victorinox MiniChamp Alox.

I shelled about €35 for that little piece of engineering. It’s a solid, tiny, shiny thing packed full of wonders. It does feel like that, plus like a Swiss clock turned knife. Its build quality is so accurate that you want to cry. It’s awesome.

Moreover, I feel like a child again.

*) Sackmesser in German, they are indeed issued to Swiss Army soldiers and officers. There’s a specific model built for them, which is also issued by other armies in the world to their respective forces. The name is more than appropriate, even if Swiss Army is a registered trademark of Victorinox AG. Switzerland must really be a weird place.

Problem Solving

There’s something unique about working in engineering: problem solving.

You are usually presented with a problem – be it a software bug, a performance issue, an engine that doesn’t start, or a mold stain on a wall – and work your way to find a solution.

I tend to be pretty decent in my (by now rare) software debugging sessions. I point in some direction and the cause of the problem is in fact there. Well, most of the time. This is due to experience, of course, but as irrational as it might seem, a little gut feeling is also at play.

What I noticed lately is that these problem solving abilities, often listed as soulless requirements in job listings, extend from one field to another. Being a good software developer (and hence able to squash nasty heisenbugs) means you’d also be a good mechanic, provided some training. You begin to develop a sixth sense for bugs which is surprisingly valid outside the software field. I reckon it’s due to logic (and maybe lateral) thinking, and to the fact that the human brain is a spectacular pattern recognition machine.

You start seeing problems and puzzles differently, and in your head some kind of non-trivial attack plan forms. This is wonderful, and it helps in real life as well, to fix all those small problems and issues you face everyday.

Branch Off Cover

Branch Off - Cover Draft

This is a not-so-unfinished-draft of the cover for Branch Off. It also means I’ve settled on that title, which I reckon is no longer provisional.

As usual, I designed it myself, and I’m reasonably proud about it. I think it has that nice hint of Seventies’ feeling into it, with plain colors and stylized graphics, which are in tune with the title itself. For those font nerds out there (I’m slowly becoming one), the front text is in Bebas Neue, while the back description is in a very elegant Futura Book.

I also did a version red, but I prefer this one, as it is a little colder and more apt to the story told inside.

Opinions?