My Life in Words
Bubble World is still a couple of months away from making its way out into the big, bad world, but Kirkus Reviews (which has a reputation for being kind of, um, mean) has some nice things to say. I mean — “nifty” and “spunky”? It doesn’t get much better than that.
From Kirkus Reviews:
Freesia lives on a seemingly magical island where every whim is answered in this nifty sci-fi comedy.
On her island world, Freesia needs only to place an order in her portable bubble device to get her perpetually smiling mother to serve her breakfast, to choose from the hundreds of outfits she owns, or to communicate with friends and watch her enemies. She orders her teachers around, never bothering to study any subject. Foreign-language classes focus on food instead of the language, which is never taught. Everyone on the island, including Freesia, looks beautiful and goes to parties every night. Yet glitches occur as the program generating this virtual world begins to crash, sending Freesia back to reality, where her parents and sister appear to see her only as annoying. Thrown into her local high school, Freesia does no work and can’t connect with her former best friend. Finally, she tries to return to the virtual world, but this time, she knows it’s only a computer program. With constantly clever comic writing, Snow disguises her serious examination of the dangers involved in immersion in fantasy and living by whim. Freesia uses an aggressively vapid, too-hip vocabulary, in which something really good is “de-vicious” and a kiss is a “face link,” to heighten the fun.
Freesia’s plenty spunky, and so is this hilarious book.
THE YA FOR NJ AUCTION IS NOW LIVE! TO SEE A LIST OF ALL AVAILABLE BOOKS, GO HERE.
Here in Southern California, it was seventy degrees yesterday, and my daughter was complaining about being cold. So, I know how easy it is for those of us outside the New York area to forget about the devastation that Sandy left behind. (I also know how wimpy California kids can be about weather.) But I’ve also heard so many stories of heartbreak from families and friends in my native New Jersey that I’m honored to be a part of Kieran Scott‘s fundraising effort, YA for NJ.
On November 30, personally signed books from over 200 young adult and middle grade authors will be up for auction on eBay. All proceeds will go to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. The auction will run till December 6.
So, if you’re a fan of young adult or middle grade fiction … or if you know a fan of young adult or middle grade fiction … or if you’re looking for a holiday gift for ANYONE between the ages of, say, eight and sixteen (no, thirty) — please consider bidding!
So today we’re going to talk about Search Engine Optimization, otherwise known as SEO. Woo hoo!
In case you don’t know, SEO is how good a website is at getting traffic from searches on Google, Yahoo, Bing and the like. Good SEO is achieved when the fairies that fly around the World Wide Web sprinkle pixie dust. Poor SEO can generally be attributed to fungus-munching gnomes that live in underground tunnels. Of course, the full process is more complicated and technical, but that gives you the basic idea.
I don’t know what kind of blood pact the good people at FSB Associates made when they designed carolsnow.com (if you think fairies are all giggles and glitter, think again), but my SEO is so good it borders on creepy. See, I use a couple of programs that tell me what visitors to my site typed into search engines. The programs also tell me how long people stayed on the site, how many pages they viewed, and other stuff that I don’t pay much attention to. It’s all intended to help me be a better marketer. Because pretty much everyone who goes into fiction writing secretly wishes they were doing PR.
Most people come here after typing in “carol snow” or “carol snow author” or one of my book titles. That’s nice and good and what I hired FSB to do. Less expected: for almost a year, I have been a foremost web expert on clams. No, I’m serious. See what happens when I type “how to cook steamers” into Google? The internet fairies offer almost four million results, but my steamers blog post comes in at number four, and a whole bunch of those people click through to my site. Sunday I saw a spike in traffic, presumably as dads across America requested steamers for Father’s Day. And do you know how many of those people went on to read my books? Probably none. But I kind of don’t care because I think it’s so funny.
Other posts that have generated a surprising amount of traffic include my ground-breaking report on Skotidakis yogurt dip (in which I revealed that it tastes good), my Halloween costume suggestions, and my holiday series, “Gifts for People You Don’t Like.” (Related Google searches: Gifts for people you don’t really like; Gifts for family you don’t like; Best wine for people you don’t like; and — shoot me now — Gift books for people you don’t like.)
As pleased as I am with all those web hits, I understand how they happened. Less expected search terms that led people to my site include: What (13 hits); What? (1); Babies (26); Baby (13); and Yeah You Heard Me (1).
Let us all pause to consider the aimless souls who have nothing better to do than Google “What.” Did they follow up with Where, When, Who, or Why? What in the world did those people hope to learn? Then again, vagueness may not be all bad. At least “what” and “yeah you heard me” aren’t disturbing. Like, say, these other search terms that landed people on my site:
First date white shirt see thru black bra
Adult baby torture devices
Bad lip injections
Sequin Klingon dress
Sick and wrong costumes
I gotta say: The Unintended Nudist would make a heckuva book title, though I don’t think I’m the person to write it.
Now that Halloween’s over (at least for those of us who didn’t get hit by the late October snowstorm), I must turn my attention away from costumes to other, more important, things. Like . . . books.
(I was Princess Leia, by the way.)
Hey! Did I mention that I have a new novel out?
What Came First is about Laura, a successful lawyer and single mother who sets out to find her son’s sperm donor so she can give him a full sibling. In the process, she pulls two other women into her quest: Wendy, a stay-at-home mother of twins, and Vanessa, a dental receptionist who longs to build a traditional family with her commitment-phobic boyfriend. The book is about scrapbooking, cookie binges, temper tantrums, swim lessons, separation anxiety, and backyard chickens. But mostly it’s about mothers, fathers, and what it means to be a family.
In writing this book, I had to master telling one story from three different perspectives. In talking about this book, I’ve had to get over saying words that I’m maybe not so comfortable with. Like . . . sperm.
I’m still not that comfortable saying that. However, if you’re in the Orange County, California, area, I hope you will help me celebrate my book’s release at an event during which I will try to avoid saying “sperm.” If you’ve never been to a book party, just know that you are in for a wild time! Woooooo hoooooo!
Sunday, November 6
Barnes & Noble
1923 Malvern Ave.
And if you can’t make the party? Good news! You can still buy the book — retailer links are conveniently located at your left. And I’ll paste some more links below, too. Because I am only thinking of you.
or a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card?
Enter my Baby Name Contest.
What Came First is finally in stores! (At least I assume it is . . . if anyone sees it, will you take a picture?) To celebrate the occasion, I got my hair cut. And then I came home. I’m still home, eating honey wheat pretzels and entering baby names into a database. Later I will go out to get my kids . . . and then come home.
Here’s the thing about publication days: nothing happens. When my first novel came out, my sister Susy and I drove to the Hyannis, Mass., Barnes and Noble and stared at a pile of my books on the table (while giggling and acting kind of dorky). We stood there for a bit. Maybe someone would buy one! While we were looking!
No one bought one. Except Susy — who told the sales clerk that this was her sister’s first book and we were all really excited!!!! The sales clerk said that was nice. And that his daughter-in-law was an author, too — she’d written maybe a dozen books and had just made the New York Times bestseller list. He told us that his daughter-in-law used her bestseller money to buy new Ford Explorers for herself and her husband. And that, yeah, lots of people publish first books but most don’t ever go beyond that. But hey — congratulations and good luck.
That is the condensed version of the story. It was actually much worse. Afterwards, Susy and my nephew Connor and I went to lunch, where I spent the entire time jabbing at my pasta and muttering, “[Expletive] Ford Explorer.”
Obviously, I did go on to publish more books, which is why I have this nifty website and stuff. And all of the other Barnes and Noble people I’ve dealt with have been lovely. If publication days are a bit quiet in the physical world (once just known as “the world”), on the Internet they are a Big Deal because most reviews and blog posts are held off until the book is available for purchase. I got a wonderful surprise — shock is more like it — last night when What Came First popped up as an Amazon UK Editors’ Pick. They said, “Carol Snow explores motherhood, fatherhood and what it means to be a family in this brilliant novel about three colourful women and one lacklustre man.” I love the Brits!!! Even if they don’t know how to spell.