My Life in Words

Bubble World’s First Review

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.

Life in a Virtual World: SEO

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 (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

Toga lawyer

Unintended nudist

I gotta say: The Unintended Nudist would make a heckuva book title, though I don’t think I’m the person to write it.