Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wisdom from Possum Trot

            Most of my promotional giveaways are things I’ve made because I have lots of craft materials lying around and because I enjoy making them. Plus, working on crafts gives me another creative outlet, especially when the writing part of my brain isn’t working so well. But what if you’re not into crafts? What if your creative talent lies in other directions? I asked several of my author friends to weigh in on low-cost ways that they market themselves and their books. One of the first people I approached – and the first to respond – was fellow Clean Reads author Jeff Salter, who writes romance as J. L. Salter.
            Like most people our age, Jeff/J.L. is reluctant to dive into social media. But he’s definitely learned to use Facebook to cultivate a relationship with his readers. He has an author page on which he notifies us of his books and blog posts, but his regular profile includes little bits of wisdom that reflect his writing style and personality. He calls them his Possum Trot posts and they’re highly entertaining, so I asked him to share how he came about this idea and what it’s done for his writing:
****

            Patty graciously invited me to explain what I do on my personal Facebook page to entertain and occasionally enlighten others… but which also (indirectly) promotes my writing career. By that last part, I mean if people become interested in what I have to say (whether humorous, thought-provoking, or newsworthy), I believe they’ll be more inclined to read what I’ve written and published.
            Though I was reluctant to engage in FB, I finally relented in early 2009. At first I figured I didn’t have time for it and didn’t have much to “say” anyhow. But what I didn’t foresee was all the cool new friends and wonderful networking opportunities it has provided. I also worried that if I posted very often, it would somehow “drain the tank” of my creative writing. If anything, however, it has STIMULATED my creative wellspring.
            After a few months of posting about things I’d seen or experienced (or thought about), I decided to give my FB readers a sense of where (geographically) I was coming from. I had retired in mid-2006 to acreage which has been in my wife’s family since about 1803. The name of the community around this land has (historically) been Possum Trot. That name also signified the down-home flavor of many of my posts. So it was logical to begin calling them Possum Trot Posts. As time went on, I added to the different TYPES of P.T. posts, by calling them P.T. Professor, P.T. Pundit… Psychs, Pets, etc. Not sure why I decided on alliteration, but there were others like, Protests, Puzzlements, Pondering, etc. Also, I had another series which began with T, as in P.T. Tunes, P.T. Tribute… Thanks, Trouble, etc. One of my favorite categories – which also typically generates interest and feedback – is P.T. Television. When I’ve seen part (or all) of a movie or TV show which caught my attention, I’ll provide a short critique.
            At first, I assigned arbitrary numbers, to help identify these posts, but beginning in 2012, I started formalizing the numbering, as in Possum Trot Puzzlement (#12-001)… or P.T. Psychs (#12-568). Having begun with the worry that I’d have little to share with anyone, I found that last year (2014), I posted over 700 bits of Possum Trot wisdom or humor… and that does NOT count any of the FB posts I used to directly promote my novels, novellas, blogs, reviews, or whatever. [I had read the opinions of many experts who said people will stop reading your posts if you’re continually “selling”… and I’m inclined to agree.] I don’t have firm figures, but I’d estimate there weren’t more than about 100 “promotional” posts on my personal FB page in 2014… compared to those 700+ posts of general interest / entertainment. This year, I’m numbering all of my posts consecutively, regardless whether they’re general or promotional. It will be interesting to see how many I end the year with.
            Patty has selected one of the general posts from my personal FB page to share with you as an example.
****
Thanks, Jeff! I wasn’t able to choose ONE Possum Trot post. Here’s one from June 20:

Possum Trot Pundit (#15-582) --- Word to the wise: when you're trying to wrangle 728 leetle teeny pieces of clear silica gel... do NOT keep your nearly full coffee cup on one hand.
Put the cup down and no one will be hurt!
I've discovered that when I lean way forward to pick up something, whatever I'm holding (like a cup of hot coffee) leans forward WITH me.
Yep, now I've got splashes of coffee to mop up... in addition to corralling those invisible ball bearings...

As a klutz, I can relate! These punditry posts often encourage people to weigh in, and people do! Here’s another one from earlier that same day:

Possum Trot TV (#15-580) --- Exercising today at the 'Y', I saw some 70 minutes -- on AMC, with about 22 mins. of commercials -- of one of my favorites. Stripes from 1981. Yes, it's extremely irreverent and strains belief of anyone who's actually been through military basic training (regardless of service branch). But entertaining with a bushel of fascinating characters. As interesting as any is the only "straight man" --- Warren Oates as the drill sergeant.
Had I been the director, I would've told Bill Murray NOT to ham it up (as he did) at the scene near the end when they go in to rescue their platoon-mates. That was the weakest link in the film. It's one thing to be "cute" when nobody is in danger, but quite different when lives are on the line.


Makes you want to join in the discussion - or at least watch the movie to see if you agree! J. L. Salter can be found at his personal blog, the group blog (where he doles out more Possum Trot-like wisdom on Thursdays), on Twitter, and of course on Facebook! His most recent book is One Simple Favor, released by Dingbat Publishing and available from Amazon and other ebook retailers.


16 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the new release, J.L. Salter! You deserve much success!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you, S.G. Rogers, for that kind comment.

      Delete
  2. Thanks, Patricia, for welcoming me to your blog. I very much appreciate your gracious remarks and I think you selected two good examples of what goes on in Possum Trot. Hope we get plenty of visitors today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too, Jeff! Thanks so much for sharing the story behind your Possum Trot posts.

      Delete
    2. I'm very glad you were interested...

      Delete
  3. I enjoyed reading about Possum Trot and learning about both you and Patricia. Congrats on your new novel, Jeff. I hope I can learn to use FB as effectively as you do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks, Jacqueline. You wouldn't believe how wide-eyed and tentative I was in the very beginning. It was such a strange new world of interaction.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for visiting, Jacqueline!

      Delete
  4. As you know,I am a regular follower of yours on Facebook, Jeff.I am always interested and frequently amused...or amused when you MEAN to be amusing,I should say!
    Although I believe in a bit of self-promotion, I agree that too much is , indeed, just that:too much.It is a definite turn-off.
    I wish you continued success .I hope everyone reads "A Simple Favor".It is a very good book and so far, my favorite of yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeff's posts are definitely entertaining, Tonette! Thanks for stopping in.

      Delete
    2. thanks, Tonette, for your encouragement and support. Your review of "Favor" is one of the best-written reviews my work has received.
      I wanted my friends and acquaintances to view Possum Trot as a place to relax and enjoy themselves, with an occasional promo lug abut my other writing.

      Delete
  5. I aleways cast an eye over your Possum Trot potss, Jeff, and I agree they're a great way to add interest to FB :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're creative, aren't they? Thank you so much for visiting.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Helen, for visiting today and posting your comment. I love it when people respond to my Possum Trot posts. Sometimes, a particular post really takes off and surprises the heck out of me! Other times my jewels just lie quietly in the FB dust... Alas

      Delete