Papa’s Got a Brand New Brand

(Here’s a distilled version of the author talk I gave at the Great Valley BookFest in Manteca on October 8. Thanks to Toni Raymus for inviting me.)

I’m skeptical about branding. Sure, everyone knows that 15 minutes can save you 15 percent on lizard skin. But I’ve sat through enough branding meetings over the years to decide a brand wasn’t relevant for me as an author.

Until I came up with one.

This past summer, I was asked for a title for my talk here at the Great Valley BookFest. Four words or less. I came up with “page-turners with a conscience.”

The Failure of Free

How and Why I Gave Away My First Book to Attract New Readers to My Second   Despite the headline, I’d prefer to frame my book giveaway as an experiment, not a failure. I tested the strategy of making my book free and got definitive results — fewer sales or...

The Blessing (and Curse) of Mild Success

Anatomy of the Wasted Author Tour

When my recent book tour ended — “not with a bang, but a whimper,” to borrow from the Hollow Men — I was relieved it was over. Now I wish I had more readings scheduled.

The “Wasted Author Tour,” which included ten event in Detroit, Berkeley, Mill Valley, San Rafael, Corte Madera, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, was stressful, turnout was disappointing more often than not, and it didn’t generate enough audience or book sales to justify the time I devoted to it.

But I would do it again.

Men Don’t Read?

At my reading at Copperfield’s in San Rafael, there was one question I did not have a great answer for, which was: Men don’t read books, so how does that impact what you write? From a man I know who does not read much fiction.

From Sociology to Salvage

Dan Knapp’s Relentless Pursuit of Zero Waste — An Interview

“Waste isn’t waste until it’s wasted.” So says Dan Knapp and his wife, Mary Lou Van Deventer, who own and manage the three-acre salvage yard in West Berkeley called Urban Ore.