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One of an author's responsibilities these days is to help promote and sell his work. This is assuming they actually do want to sell their work--many writers still write just for the joy of writing. Personally, I'd like to have my joy and sell it, too.

One way of promoting is author appearances, and/or book signings. With the exception of last year, I've done at least 2-4 every year since my first novel was published in 2011--one time I was involved in two group author appearances on the same day. Not only that, I've done them in numerous places: Stores, art galleries, libraries, fairs, my daughter's garage sale, and, yes, a fish fry.

Some were more successful than others. You'd think I'd make few sales at a library, what with them having so many books for free. But, maybe because that's where book people go, our appearances there have done pretty well.

So, even though like many writers I get social anxiety, I've dived into many unusual places in my attempts to spread the word that, yes, I write books. If you think about it, the most unusual is whenever we moved outside for a book signing. My very first appearance was on the Noble County Courthouse square, during what they call a First Friday event.

But it doesn't make sense to go outside for a book signing, does it? I mean, it's really playing the odds, especially during a Midwest summer: You spit in Mother Nature's face, she's likely to spit back at you, and by spit I mean torrential rain and page-tearing winds.

Books are not waterproof. You people who bought Kindles? They're not waterproof, either.

So, after some consideration, I decided not to do outdoor book signings anymore. Indoor author appearances, fine--all for 'em. But going outside just seemed unnatural somehow, like fixing your toaster in the bathtub. Every tried that? Don't try that.

Then I heard that my sister-in-law was looking to restart her fair booth, which she used to sell  homemade jewelry, and the idea presented itself: Suppose we supported each other by sharing a booth?

I've been outside before, you see.

Yes, before you ask, it was my idea.

And that's how I ended up with my next book signing being, yes, outdoors. The details are here:

https://markrhunter.blogspot.com/2019/05/were-coming-to-avilla-freedom-festival.html

But the short story (see what I did, there?) is that we'll be at the Avilla Freedom Festival on June 20, 21, and 22, although I'll only be able to be there myself for part of the time. The way I see it, I'll happily follow my brother and sister-in-law wherever they go, because we can support each other's efforts and have a little family time.

Even if it's outside.

So my conclusion, in the end, is that sometimes it's good to take a few risks and put yourself out there--literally--as an author. And hey--nobody ever died from a little inclement weather.

Besides, those plastic totes will hold a lot of books, and they're waterproof.

Aren't they?

It's not like we haven't already been to the Avilla Freedom Festival!

Find all of our books at:

http://markrhunter.com/

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0058CL6OO

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I'm the last person who can be called on to write a fair review of a movie with the word "Godzilla" in the title.

The Godzilla movies were my third childhood fandom (after the Oz books and the original "Star Trek"). One of the earliest movies I remember going to see at the theater was "Destroy all Monsters". (It must have been a re-release, since the original came out when I was only five.) On TV, the best Saturday nights were when a Godzilla movie was part of the late-night Double Creature Feature.

So let's face it: I'm a Godzilla fanboy.

In this sequel to 2014's Godzilla we again encounter Monarch, a mysterious secret group that, since the fight involving Godzilla five years before, has expanded into a SHIELD-like international agency, complete with giant aircraft-carrying super-planes. Although Godzilla itself has disappeared, they're monitoring numerous slumbering beasts of similar size--beasts that are soon awakened by a terrorist cell bent on protecting the Earth from ... other humans. Thirty story monsters are, it seems, very eco-friendly, not to mention they'll cut down on the overpopulation problem.

To me their plot was a little sketchy on both logic and outcome. Still, it results in exactly what we paid to see: Godzilla comes out of hiding to deal with with the situation.

As with "Destroy All Monsters", Godzilla shares the screen with a whole crowd of skyscraper-sized monsters, including Mothra, Rodan, and the three -headed King Ghidorah, which here functions as the super-villain of the piece. If you're at all a Japanese monster movie fan, just seeing those names together is cheer-inducing. The movie makers recognize this, and unlike the previous film, we get plenty of monster-on-monster action ... um, in a totally non-sexual kind of way, mind you.

Still, the human cast gets plenty to do, even if a large part of it is explaining and dodging. Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga do well as a divorced couple whose expertise is needed in the crisis, and I especially liked Millie Bobby Brown in her first movie as their young daughter, who takes matters into her own hands more than once. Otherwise the cast is fine, especially Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, and Bradley Whitford. Of course, not everyone will make it out alive, monster or human.

"But mom ... can't we keep him?"

The effects? They done good. I almost miss the fun of guys in rubber suits and obvious models, but these days people crave something that looks real, and they get it. For me the most shiver-inducing moment was a Godzilla appearance accompanied by Bear McCreary's reworking of the original Godzilla music ... somebody needs to buy me that score for my birthday.

My Rating:

Entertainment value: 3 3/4 out of 4 M&Ms. I had to subtract some, because the villain's plot was just a bit ... questionable. But I didn't go for the plot, and I'll bet I'm not alone in that.

Oscar Potential: 2 out of 4 M&Ms. Sure, it should get some Oscar attention for things like effects and music ... but it won't.

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Author Promotion and Facebook Advertising

I had a bit of free Facebook advertising that was about to expire, so I had them "boost" a post--the one that gave a link to my recently aired interview with a local PBS station. I realized only later that the post actually linked to my blog, which itself gave the link to the interview. That's a lot of links to ask someone to follow!

(The actual interview link is here:)

https://vimeo.com/340742147?fbclid=IwAR1SldahLEq1E73IzOYvGM5T5Nce-9gvFuAGDoZ5qfIQhgu4jRpsMWQRc0Q

To add to what I hope is not the confusion, the post FB is boosting is not from my regular FB page, but from my author's page, which is here:

https://www.facebook.com/MarkRHunter/

My thinking at the time was not that it would expose people to my author's page or blog. It was more that this particular post would take them to the interview, which includes talk about our books and has a link to the web page at http://www.markrhunter.com/*, which--of course--has links for ordering our books. I've been flailing with what to do about promotion; as you all know, there's nothing I like better than blowing my own horn, and as you also know, I can sometimes be sarcastic.

I hate asking people to buy our books; but I want people to read them, and read future books, and the future books won't happen if people don't buy the present ones, so--there you go. Don't let anyone tell you there's such a thing as the perfect job.

Anyway, now I'm wondering exactly what this extra advertising does. Just put my post up with the same algorithms more often? (And what the heck is an algorithm? Sounds like math.) Do the same people just see it more? Do people on my friends list who don't usually see my posts get a look at them? Do people not on my list see it? What exactly happens?

I dunno.

I'll have to see if I get any kind of response before deciding to budget my own advertising dollars toward future efforts. But, worry as I might about spamming my friends, I do have to make those future efforts.

What kind of luck have you had with selling online, and is there a platform that's worked better when it comes to promotion? I've been thinking of doing some advertising on Amazon, not that they need my money.

Always be closing.

*Ahem--yes, I could have written this without throwing in those links, but I try to think of them as an opportunity rather than an annoyance.

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