Writers: Cheat Your Way to Bigger Sales

As writers, we despise marketing. Show me a writer who enjoys it, and I’ll show you a successful writer. For the rest of us lot we have to do it ourselves. Or do we…?

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Here are some cheats you can use to drive more traffic to you story and ring up potential sales.

Pay Someone

The website Fiverr lets you pay people the paltry sum of $5 to do all sorts of things. You could pay to have someone tweet your story. Maybe hire someone to convince others to read your story. You might ask for Facebook likes or retweets of your tweet. Whatever you want, there’s someone out there willing to do it. For five bucks.

Pay Someone Important

What if you want more? Wouldn’t it be great if a celebrity of some status told everyone to read your story. Impossible? No way. This happens all the time in the book industry. Ever pick up a book and see a recommendation from Stephen King or J. K. Rowling? Don’t kid yourself, those authors were paid (whether they liked the book or not). Why not do the same thing yourself?

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The site BuySellAds has all sorts of services for hire. The most interesting is the sponsored tweets. Here you can hire someone popular to tweet for you. Paris Hilton costs $4,600. Pricey, but I bet a lot of people would see it. However, Makobi Scribe (with 65 thousand followers) will tweet for you for $15. She specializes in product reviews and kids’s fashion. You get the idea.

I’m not saying I’m going to rush out to do this right now. Mostly, I don’t have a product I need to promote. Yet if I did, I would strongly consider this as one possible avenue for spreading the word.

Tim Kane

Addicted to Vintage? Here’s Your Fix

Anyone who loves steampunk also falls into the vintage lot. It’s natural. Vintage and retro items just pull me back to a time when things were done by hand. The ornate scroll work and brass give me the warm fuzzies. I even have a board dedicated to this obsession on Pinterest. Then I chanced upon my vintage Valhalla: a blog called Vintage Me Oh My. This site is every retro fan’s dream.

The photo above shows vintage metal locks and skeleton keys. There’s even a double-lock!

The photo above shows vintage metal locks and skeleton keys. There’s even a double-lock!

 

The proprietor of this glorious site is one Megan Cummins, a graphic designer from San Francisco. She calls her site “online crack” for vintage goodness. And I’d have to agree. I just can’t stop scrolling through it.

An example of some vintage goods you can purchase through a friend's site.

An example of some vintage goods you can purchase through a friend’s site.

 

Traveling through her blog is like a trip through time. You loose yourself in the things that once were.

A forgotten casino sign.

A forgotten casino sign.

 

There’s a melancholy feeling that wells up inside me when I see these images. Some of them are so lonely and forgotten. Yet there’s warmth too.

These vintage style Ralph Lauren hang tags were found by Workingformorework, who compiled a set of images on their blog.

These vintage style Ralph Lauren hang tags were found by Workingformorework, who compiled a set of images on their blog.

 

You may notice that Megan doesn’t photograph these items herself. Instead she finds or solicits stunning pictures from others. She’s a sort of clearinghouse of vintage. Like something, then click over to the original site to view more.

A letter from the Civil War, located at The Carter House in Franklin, TN.

A letter from the Civil War, located at The Carter House in Franklin, TN.

Take a look for yourself and get your vintage fix satisfied.

Tim Kane

Snake Wine Crawls into Your Brain

Okay, this wine doesn’t literally crawl inside your brain, but you’ll certainly have nightmares just looking at it. The drink has been around for thousands of years, hailing from Bama County in Guangxi Zhuang of China (just above Vietnam).

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This region has the greatest number for centenarians in the world (okay, fourth, but that’s still pretty good). Some say is the climate and air quality. I say it’s the snake wine.

Fangs for the memories: The cobra's potent poison is negated by the ethanol used in the rice wine. Found from the article at the Daily Mail.

Fangs for the memories: The cobra’s potent poison is negated by the ethanol used in the rice wine. Found from the article at the Daily Mail.

Although the snakes (and sometimes scorpions) bottled in the brew are certainly poisonous, the ethanol takes care of that. The venom is protein based and breaks down in the alcohol. Want to make some yourself, just slip a snake into a bottle of ethanol and wait a few weeks. Bingo, you can call yourself a master of spirits.

Picture captured from Dangerous Minds article.

Picture captured from Dangerous Minds article.

Want to order some? Then visit the Thailand Unique.

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They also have Thai spider whiskey and Giant Centipede Whiskey. Both have a bite (pun intended).

Want to up your ante from the worm at the bottom of the bottle of tequila? Go for some snake wine. Who knows, it might make you live longer.

Tim Kane

Inside Your Cup of Coffee

I can’t live without my cup of Joe, but as I read through the book Uncommon Grounds, I find out more and more about this mysterious beverage.

Coffee

Like how a goat herder in Ethiopia discovered it when his goats went missing. He found them jumping around, buzzed off the red coffee berries. Fast forward a few centuries, and we have coffee in every store on the planet. But what exactly is in a cup?

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It all starts with a coffee berry. Too bad what we really want is nestled deep inside. Two seeds surrounded by a silver skin that’s hard to remove.

Acording to Al Rayan, there are many grades of roasting you can get from a bean. (Side note, when Americans first got hold of these beans, we liked them green. Then we’d roast them right before making a cup.)

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The bitterness associated with coffee comes from the roasting. Think about licking a singed hunk of wood. Yeah, not so great.

The bitterness comes from O-caffeoylquinic acids, present in raw coffee beans. A light or medium roast dehydrates the acids to create various lactones and a pleasant bitterness that most coffee lovers adore. Keep roasting, and the lactones break apart to from 4-vinylcatechol, which goes through some more chemical steps to create compounds that give a harsh bitter that lingers on the tongue.

Once roasted, coffee beans can stay fresh for months. Once ground, however, and you have only about two weeks to make your coffee (key here, grind your own). But even after being brewed, the chemistry of coffee changes. Lactones become free acids, dropping the pH from between 5 and 5.2 down to a 4.6. This shifts the acidity from a green bean level to that of a tomato.

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The longer you keep your coffee hot, the more sour and bitter it will taste.

Although many studies have found antioxidant qualities in coffee, you could be canceling these out by adding cream or sugar. A study by a fella named Crozier showed that adding cream to strawberries slowed the absorption of antioxidants. So if you want the best health benefits from java, drink it black.

This fun video shows you some of the more interesting compounds in the aroma of coffee. Check it out.

Happy drinking, and check out my Pinterest collection of all things coffee.

Tim Kane