Saturday, May 09, 2015

I Can't Figure Out How to Promote Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Hi, there, Readers. I apologize once again for not having blogged in ages, but things have been going rapidly downhill here at the Sherwood household. Despite my rather boastful last post, I have not been able to find any new writing work in over a month. My Mom has gotten still worse and needs constant care (bathing, nail clipping, dressing, feeding, laundry, listening to her kvetch, making sure she doesn't fall and fracture more bones -- all that sort of good stuff.)

I did try to get into the state program for giving funds to unpaid caretakers, but the state dropped the program on January 1, 2015. They kindly did not let let me know until April 16, 2015 (after going through several interviews with no less than three state employees.) So, I'm like a kid again in that my Mom is paying all my expenses (which I am very embarrassed about but cannot seem to change.)

Which brings us to the reason why this post has the title it does -- I have not been able to afford any promotional services for my lonely little eBook Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  Sadly, it does  not matter how well-written or entertaining a book happens to be in order to make money. It has to be promoted to death in order to make any money.

In between sessions taking care of Mom and the pets, I have been trying to learn how to promote my eBook myself. It's like trying to learn Klingon. I just figure this stuff out.  So I give up. (For now.) I was hoping I could write a sequel but so far that doesn't seem like a realistic option.

Two good things happened to the eBook since I last posted:

  1. It got a 4-star review (out of five stars)!
  2. It was accepted into the Library Journal's SELF-e program. No, I'm not entirely sure what that means, either. But the word ACCEPTED sounds good, doesn't it? I thought so. And you get to download a nifty logo, too (see illustration, above left.)
Back to banging my head against a wall.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

My Blog Post Up on Florida Beach Rehab

Believe it or not, I'm still a freelance writer. No matter how little money I make, I somehow still find myself in front of the keyboard (or even--GASP!--pen and paper) and words somehow keep coming out. I'm proud to announce that not just one but TWO blogs have picked up some of my work. The first is a dog blog which has not gone online yet.

The second is 7 Ways to Relax Without Chemicals which is about

(wait for it)

7 Ways to Relax Without Chemicals.

Anyway, it's up at the blog of the fine folks from Florida Beach Rehab. Their blog has articles for everyone, really, although it is aimed at folks in recovery and folks struggling with addictions. Some interesting blog posts (not written by me, but still good reads, include Adam Barny's 10 Non-Alcoholic Dinner Party Tips (which I wish I'd read years ago) and Amy Parish's Blogging Helped Me to Stay Sober. Here's How. 

For those of you who are new to this blog (hi, there!) I have another blog called ReasonsNotToCommitSuicide. I don't make any money with THAT blog, either. Anyway, one of the reasons I write is because I have endogenous recurring depression. Blogging helps Amy Parish stay sober and blogging helps me not to try and off myself.

I also received some good news about my eBook Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes but I'll save that for another post. (See that? Cliffhanger. We professional writers use those techniques.)

I've been overusing the Peter Gabriel and Jeremy Brett photos in recent months, so I hope you enjoy this one of Mads Mikkelsen goofing around on the set of Hannibal.

Friday, March 20, 2015

For Pete's Sake -- Someone Buy My EBook, Please!

Yes, the misadventures and epic fails keep on happening over here in Rena Sherwood-land. A couple of years ago, I had this wacky idea that I'd self-publish my own book Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on Amazon Kindle and it would give me fame and fortune (I'd settle for fortune, anyway.)

Didn't happen.

In fact, did just the opposite.

I've lost lots and lots of money on this eBook (through dropping work from clients in order to write this damn thing) through purchasing an ISBN ($125 shot to hell) and who knows how much money in Sherlock Holmes and Jeremy Brett reference books.

That left absolutely zero money for publicity. Big mistake.

I've also lost my Muse's voice for who knows how many months. That left a honkin' huge writer's block. Mom's illnesses have worsened, so I've lost time looking for work or even trying to find a damn when I do find it. If it wasn't for Mom, I'd be back out on the streets.

Now that March is here, I'm starting to hear the Muse's voice again. Goddammit, I can't afford this!

This is all the publicity I can afford -- somebody please buy my eBook!

Friday, February 13, 2015

When is Peter Gabriel's Birthday?

(Note: I wrote this originally for Suite 101, got a fat payment and then Suite 101 went out of business, so I moved it to Yahoo Voices, got a thin payment and then Yahoo Voices out of business. Now I'm going to stick it here on PG's birthday for no money and hope against hope that Blogger won't go out of business.)

British singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel was born at 4:30 PM GMT on February 13, 1950.  This makes him an Aquarius, although his moon was in Sagittarius.  (Insert tasteless joke here.)  He was born in the little-known English town called Cobham, located in the county of Surrey.  In an interesting coincidence, Peter was born exactly day after guitarist Steve Hackett, his band mate in Genesis.

Doesn’t seem too hard to get wrong, does it?  And yet somehow in the 1980s, many books and magazines were erroneously reporting that Peter’s birthday was May 13 and not February 13.  There have been some rumors that the source of this misinformation was Peter himself (purposely telling people the wrong date as a joke), but those rumors have never been substantiated.

Publications Listing Wrong Birth Date

I’ve been a fan of Peter’s since 1986, long before the Internet (or my ability to get a driver’s license, come to think of it.)  I was one of those folks who thought that Peter’s birthday was in May.  Why?  Because that’s what it said in a comic strip illustrating the lives of pop stars that appeared only on Sundays in the late 1980s.   Sadly, my copy of the strip has not survived and I cannot remember the name of the short-lived strip. If you know, please add it to the comments section below.  Thanks in advance.

Anyway, here is a partial list of publications that printed Peter’s birthdate as May 13 (or 13 May, if you prefer):
  • ·         USAToday (Really – is anybody surprised that they got it wrong?)
  • ·         Chase’s 1997 Calendar of Events, 40th Anniversary Edition.  McGraw-Hill; 1997.  (They also got it wrong all throughout the 1990s.)
  • ·         The Great Rock Discography.  Martin Charles Strong.  Cannongate; 2004.
  • ·         The Essential Rock Discography.  Martin Charles Strong.  Cannongate; 2006.  (Yes, those two books are basically the same.)
  • ·         The Harmony Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll.  Mark Clifford.  Harmony Books; 1986.
  • ·         The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll.  Rolling Stone Press/Summit Books; 1983.  (This is my guess as to how the wrong birthdate spread.  Anything with Rolling Stone’s name on it sold well to many a reference library.)


For about nine years, Peter’s birthdate was put up on his official website ( but since the site’s redesign in 2012, his birthdate and extensive biography have somehow disappeared.  Before the redesign, the website featured a Peter Gabriel FAQ page for fans, compiled by the one-time head of Peter’s fan club (who has since retired -- Come to think of it, the fan club seems to have retired, too).  The FAQ page included his correct birthday and that “somewhere down the line” the wrong birthday was reported. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I Spend Way Too Much Time On Goodreads

A few months ago, I discovered Goodreads (the social network for book lovers (I accidentally spelled that "ook lovers" which I think is something entirely different. Anyway --)). I read in one of those "How to Make Money By Publishing eBooks on Amazon Kindle" publications that joining Goodreads and the Goodreads Author Program could help sell lots of eBooks.
Well,I haven't sold lots of copies of my eBook, Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (last count: 15) but I have spent many a fun hour goofing around on Goodreads. I like writing book reviews. Why -- I have no idea. Probably because I had to do so many as a kid in school that I can't live without doing them.
Best book review I've ever read is this one for Shel Silverstien's The Giving Tree by Sava Hecht:
"Co-dependent tree needs to set some fucking boundaries."
Anyway, here's my profile at Goodreads:

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: The Year Hard Work Hardly Worked

I'm so glad 2014 is nearly over. I'm hoping (not by much) that 2015 will be better.

As the post title suggests, I worked very hard in 2014 and got very little in return. This time last year I was happily chugging away on my e-book Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

It came out on in  October.

So far, it has sold 15 copies.

That's it. 15. That comes to less than $20 for my pocket.  Meanwhile, I had to fork out over $150 to get an ISBN, as well as take time from other clients to work on this book. And I had to do it all -- writing, editing, formatting for Amazon Kindle and promotion. The only thing I didn't have to do was the cover. It was donated.

Speaking of clients, I have very few left. Yahoo Voices went bye-byes in July and Helium kicked the virtual bucket in December. also seems to have gone out of business, although I do not know that 100% for sure.

I worked incredibly hard for these clients and now it means nothing.

Want to be a writer? You're better off slitting your wrists and bleeding to death over a pile of paper. Even garbage men have better jobs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I'm 45. What the Hell Happened?

It's my birthday again. Didn't I just have one?

So, what have I learned in 45 years?  This: If you want to be sure about getting what you want for your birthday, do what I did -- buy the present yourself.

All else is extra.

(Image was Photoshopped years ago by a Peter Gabriel fan for the now late-lamented website