Tag Archives: Facebook

Does the pit need stirring?

There are more ways of stirring up a slurry pit Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Parking a tractor with a slurry stirrer by the side of the pit suddenly seems so pedestrian. There again, at least with the tractor you’ve less chance of an early bath. The picture is a still from a video available on Facebook but it won’t let the link be shown here.

Now you might ask why the need to keep a slurry pit well stirred should remind me of social media? It’s just that three organisations I’m involved with have been agonising about their internet and social media presence. The embarrassing thing is that when they discuss their website, I haven’t looked at it for months, years, or in some cases, for ever.

Why? Because the websites are worthy, have a lot of very useful documents and suchlike on them available for those who need them. But I’ve never needed them. Why would I go to the website? Anyway, I know who to ask in the real world.

If I want to know something, I’m afraid I go to google or some other search engine and start my search there. Yes, the search engine will probably bring me to one of the websites I know, but a search engine will also take me to other websites which might give me an interesting angle on the issue.

Some websites are just notoriously bad. They’re huge, and the internal search function doesn’t work too well. Gov.uk is a bit like that. It can be faster using a search engine that drops you to the right page faster than the website does.

But the thing about all this is that it’s work. You go on the webpage when you need stuff. So I was asked by somebody if I’d seen something on the Rural Payments Agency website. The answer was ‘No’ because I go on that website perhaps twice a year. When I go on, I’m doing a specific job, I’m busy, I just want the information I want. So I’m not going to wander round the website ‘whilst I’m there’ seeing what else they’ve go.

It has occurred to me that we have two internets, the ‘worthy’ and the ‘fun’. The organisations that have the most reach are the ones who realise this and have the courage to go out there and be ‘fun’. In case you’ve not come across them, the Orkney Library is an example of how you do this. They have 73.9K twitter followers. Given that the population of Orkney is just over 22K it’s obvious that they’ve got a large international following.
They tweet with a photo of the queue waiting for the library to open (a duck), and you get a running update of the two doves who’re building a nest on the drainpipes. As well as this they have updates on local archaeological excavations, news on fun new books that the library has acquired (Dancing with Cats) and knitted hats for a project they’re running. All profusely illustrated.

The problem with social media is that it’s the clash of two different worlds. There are people who want to have fun and keep in touch with friends, and there are people who want to sell them stuff.

I confess I’m probably in the second category. I joined Facebook back in about 2009 because when doing freelance journalism, searches would take me onto Facebook. So I set up an account and a Facebook page. Facebook even ended up with an old email address that died when I changed ISP and it was six or seven years before I had to give them one that worked. My Facebook page was specifically set up so nobody could find it or post to it. It wasn’t until 2011 when I had a book to sell that I started posting stuff on Facebook.

You soon learn that screaming ‘buy my book’ is never going to work. I would suggest that 99.999% of people who come onto Facebook do so with no intention of ever buying books from people haranguing them on the platform. Indeed I understand this entirely because I too am irritated by adverts that appear on my news feed. But then I tend to deal with this by rarely looking at my news feed. When I come on to Facebook, I’ll check for messages. Various friends and family members tend to prefer to contact people through messenger. In the past I’ve had to explain, slowly and carefully, and in some cases multiple times, that the only time I see Facebook is when I’m at home on the PC. I’ll check the notifications, perhaps skim a couple of groups I follow and then I’ll leave Facebook and do something more interesting.

So if you’re going to the trouble of having a ‘web presence’, perhaps that’s the answer. If you want people to take any notice of you, you’ve got to be more interesting, you’ve got to be fun.

Which brings us back to our video, it was posted by drijfmesttechniek.nl who specialise in slurry technology. If you go on their Facebook page, you’ll see the video. It has to be admitted that they got my attention in a way that a page of slurry pump specifications would never have managed.

So whenever any organisation asks my opinion of their website now, I just ask them how pious and worthy they intend to be. I am coming to the conclusion that if they are on the worthy end of the spectrum, they’re wasting money spending a fortune on a web designer.  Frankly I suspect that all their website needs is a real world address, a phone contact number, a brief guide to the organisation and an email address. Because who is ever going to look at more?

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There again, what do I know? Ask the expert, available from Amazon in paperback and ebook,

or from everybody else but Amazon at

https://books2read.com/u/md7XEX

As a reviewer commented, “Another gentle and entertaining read about the pros and cons of Farming, ably assisted by Sal the collie dog and Billy the feral farm cat.
As always, I’m amazed Farmers make enough money to keep their farms and families going, given the ‘guidance’ given by the ‘experts’ in government and the Civil Service…”

Spilt milk and social distancing.

DIGITAL CAMERA

The sun continues to beat down on us, things are distinctly dry, but there’s vague hopes of a drop of rain about Wednesday, so who knows, we might get some.

Because things were so wet over winter, the rain that we’ve had has just about been enough to keep us going, but I’ve noticed some of the sandy land is starting to burn off again. To be honest this is three months earlier than we could expect it. Still we’ve still time for torrential rain and flooding in July.

I saw a comment which sums the area up. Somebody was asking for advice on when to visit Cumbria, they had a choice of June or July and somebody else had answered, “Forget trying to predict the weather, either month could be hot and sunny or cold and wet.”

Yep, that’s Cumbria.

We’re starting to see hints of other changes on the horizon. Apparently, “Searches on Rightmove by Londoners for homes outside the capital were up to 51 per cent compared to 42 per cent this time last year.

The number of home searches by people in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield, Glasgow and Bristol looking at property outside their cities also rose, as people in lockdown reassessed their lives.”

 

Now we don’t know whether these urges to move will last any longer than the urges to declutter, learn Sanskrit, or stop eating junk food. But it does strike me that the lockdown largely negates the advantages of living in a major city. Also with so many people working from home, why not work from home somewhere worth living?

Why I’m so interested is that this isn’t a new phenomenon but part of a growing trend.

 

“According to the statistics, 73,000 people living in the capital chose to buy property elsewhere in 2019, which is up more than 10,000 from five years ago and around 32,000 from 10 years ago in 2009.

And they’re not just moving to commutable towns and cities around London any more. Last year saw the highest number of Londoners move to the north of the country at 13%, up from just 1% who did so a decade ago. A further 15% moved to the Midlands.

While the highest proportion (69%) did stick to the south when they said goodbye to the capital, this is a major fall from 92% back in 2009.”

 

https://www.buyassociation.co.uk/2020/01/16/record-number-of-londoners-leaving-the-capital-for-the-north-of-england/

 

So generally are we going to see more people moving into rural areas? Provided you’ve got decent broadband, then you can sell in London and buy elsewhere secure in the knowledge you can work adequately from home. Indeed I know a lot of people who have sold small properties in London and become cash buyers of far nicer and larger properties in the north. This has been true for decades, provided you never intended to move back into London, it was a shrewd move. I remember an auctioneer telling me that one couple had decided that this was going to be their last move, sold in London and ended up buying a farm off him as a cash buyer. The auctioneer arranged for a local farmer to rent the land off them. At that point the chap who’d bought the farm looked at the cheque he was being paid for the rent and pondered early retirement.

There are problems, do rural communities need an influx of new people with no real understanding of the community? Is it going to push rural house prices up even further?
But then, on the horizon, there are other indicators that the world is changing. “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that most Facebook employees can work from home wherever they want. But they should not expect to get Silicon Valley salary levels if they relocate to less-expensive areas.

Speaking at an internal employee town hall meeting livestreamed on Facebook, Zuckerberg said the company will take a “more measured approach to opening permanent remote work for existing employees.”  Currently, most Facebook workers can opt to work from home through the end of the year, thanks to the pandemic.

Now, Zuckerberg envisions that over the next decade or more, about half of Facebook’s workers could be remote. But there’s a lot of “ifs,” “ands” and “buts” attached – although not butts in the seats.

If you qualify for remote work and move to cheaper areas, you will have to tell Facebook, and pay will be adjusted accordingly, Zuckerberg said. There will be “severe ramifications” for those discovered to be falsifying addresses.

“We’ll adjust salary to your location at that point,” said Zuckerberg, who said the adjustment would be necessary for taxes and accounting. “There’ll be severe ramifications for people who are not honest about this.” He added the system will work on the “honor code,” but will “put in some basic precautions” to make sure that the honor system is being honest. Those methods were not detailed.”

 

https://deadline.com/2020/05/facebook-workers-can-work-remote-with-salary-cut-mark-zuckerberg-1202941243/

 

Now in this country, we already have ‘London weighting’. It’s accepted that some areas are more expensive to live in. So it’s entirely reasonable that some areas will be regarded as cheaper. And when you think about it, you can save a lot of money if you stop commuting (A friend saved £5,000 a year when they stopped commuting into London and got a job local to where they lived.) Also you’re probably paying a smaller mortgage.

So if this catches on, I wonder whether people will be quite so keen to move into rural areas. In the case of Cumbria, if you live in Ambleside will you expect to be paid more than if you live in Millom? Given the depth of data these online companies have, they might even be able to differentiate between quite small towns.

So whilst we might have people moving into rural areas intending to work at home, they might not be the wealthy incomers a previous generation witnessed.

 

But actually it’s worth taking this forward a bit. Let us assume you already work for one of these companies. When you decide to move to somewhere unfashionable to be nearer parents, so you’re handy as they grow older and more frail, then obviously your salary may drop. But what if your parents lived somewhere more expensive, how would Facebook react to paying you more because of your house move?

It actually gets even more interesting, what happens when you apply for a job. There you are, being interviewed over zoom, for the position. The interviewing panel might be on two or three different continents. But there again so might the people they’re interviewing.
So you get the job offer. “Yes, we’ll be happy to employ you, but you live in rather an expensive area. For somebody of your grade we are looking at you living in a different priced area. Have you considered New Delhi or Bogota rather than Manchester?

Luckily in agriculture these are not live issues for us. If I phone a contractor to come and do something, I rather expect him to turn up in the yard with his digger. So far we’ve not found a use for somebody who ‘virtually’ mows our grass. I suspect that once more, agriculture is going to be stuck in the past as the future eddies and flows around us. We might social distance but that’s because he’s working from a different tractor cab, not a different continent.

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There again, don’t confuse me with somebody who knows what they’re talking about

 

Rather than his usual collection of anecdotes, this time Tallis presents us with one gripping story. A tale of adventure, duplicity and gentility. Why does an otherwise respectable lady have a pair of sedan chair bearers hidden in her spare bedroom? Why was the middle aged usurer brandishing an axe? Can a gangster’s moll be accepted into polite society? Answer these questions and more as Tallis Steelyard ventures unwillingly into the seedy world of respectable ladies who love of sedan chair racing.

 

As a reviewer commented, “I find there’s nothing better on a cold wet day, than to sit indoors, near a warm fire/radiator, with a hot coffee, some biscuits/cake and one of Jim Webster’s books. So that’s what I’ve done today, with this particular book.
I find the plots intriguing, the characters endearing (even the ‘bad/evil’ ones) and the storytelling style relaxing.
The various threads in the stories are always neatly tied up and the endings invariably satisfactory.”

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

 

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

(Voltaire)

Is it wise to believe too much that you see posted to Facebook? Can you rely on what people say they believe in?

Voltaire has had quite a good week this last week thanks to the madness that we’ve seen in Paris. Several people have posted his saying

“I may disagree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”

Now that’s good, that’s commendable. I entirely approve. But still I wonder. How sincere is this sudden conversion to the principle of “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend?”

I thought I’d try an experiment, but at that point I remembered another quote from Voltaire. “I am very fond of truth, but not at all of martyrdom.”

So I’m not trying the experiment, I’m going to ask you, dear reader, to conduct a thought experiment.

Try saying the following things, obviously some of them will be more difficult for some people than for others, but hopefully you’ll be able to sincerely work your way down the list and come out at the end able to cope with them all.

“I quite understand that you might find Tory philosophy offensive and why you would not wish to entertain people who believe in it in your own home.”

“I quite understand that you might find homosexuality offensive and why you would not wish to entertain such people in your own home.”

“When looking back at the miners’ strike one has to accept that the members of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers took a decision which I disagree with but I defend their right to make that decision.”

“Whilst personally I feel that Margaret Thatcher may have been wrong in some of the things she did, this is no reason to demonise her and those who still respect her actions.”

“Whilst I personally have not suffered economically from immigration, I realise that there are those who have and their opinions are just as valid as mine.”

“Ched Evans has served the sentence imposed upon him by a court of law, and thus should be free to take up his profession again.”

And so our American cousins don’t feel left out

“Whilst disagreeing with much in the Democratic/Republican agenda (delete as appropriate) I have no doubt that those in favour of it are decent people, sincere in their beliefs, and whilst they may be wrong, they have the best interests of our country at heart.”

Well can you say them? Are you willing to defend to the death the right of others to say them?

Funnily enough Voltaire said a lot of things

voltaire

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As a reviewer said, “This is a selection of anecdotes about life as a farmer in Cumbria. The writer grew up on his farm, and generations of his family before him farmed the land. You develop a real feeling for the land you are hefted to and this comes across in these stories. We hear of the cattle, the sheep, his succession of working dogs, the weather and the neighbours, in an amusing and chatty style as the snippets of Jim Webster’s countryman’s wisdom fall gently. I love this collection.”

Marketing, yeah well whatever.

 

It’s all well and good having written a book, what about selling it? Not wanting to talk dirty or anything, but seriously people, you’ve poured a lot of time into the who literary process, so it wouldn’t hurt to get a few bob back.

After all, a couple of weeks back I talked about how much it cost to produce this book. (So how much money is there in this book writing job anyway)

https://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/so-how-much-money-is-there-is-this-book-writing-job-anyway/

So how do you do it?

Well frankly I don’t think a lot of Indie author’s actually do any marketing. There was a fascinating article in the Guardian about the Self-Publishing boom.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/13/self-publishing-boom-lifts-sales-18m-titles-300m

It made the fascinating comment “18m self-published titles purchased, worth £59m,”

By my reckoning this means the average self-published book nets £3.27.
Even if 6m of the self-published titles are free this means the average purchased on brings in £4.91.

That means that an awful lot of books aren’t hitting double figures in their sales figures. I suspect that this figure probably gives us the number of supportive family and friends self-publishing authors have. Granny will buy a copy come what may, even if she has to buy a kindle first to read it on.

And the rest of us; how is our marketing going? A lot depends on genre. Talking to a friend who works in a library, they might lend out five SF books in a month as opposed to thirty thrillers in a day. So choose your genre with care!

So where do we market? At the moment ‘on-line’ is everything. Personally I don’t rate twitter. All you end up with is a crowd of authors screaming ‘Buy my book’ at each other. I do have some hard figures. Due to a statistical fluke my first book, “Swords for a  Dead Lady”

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Swords-Dead-Lady-Jim-Webster-ebook/dp/B006C4C8OO

was picked up and massively tweeted. About ten Americans (by their pictures they’re the sort of lady whom some might have described as ‘underwear models’) all tweeted that you buy it. If you clicked on their tweet and purchased it, they’d have got a payment from their Amazon retailer account. I totalled up their combined followers, it was well over 100,000.

In that week I sold one book in the US.

Facebook? It can help, especially if your friends spread the word by sharing your links. At least with Tallis Steelyard, I’ve always got something fun for people to read

Goodreads? Yes, you’ll see sales and you’ll actually get a lot of support, but you’ll have to become part of the community. You’ll have to spend time, interact with people, chat, and just join in. Just spamming them and moving on is going to get you nowhere.

The real world? Well frankly my best sales have come after my local paper mentioned the book and my local radio station did an interview. It was as if it made me ‘real’ and gave me credibility. The problem is that to get this level of credibility you really need a paperback to flourish and that will be more expense.  E-books might be gaining market share, but for many people, until you’ve got a book they can hit somebody with; you’re not a proper writer.

So I’ve got my new marketing plan. Buy my book or my new sales manager will be round for a frank and open exchange of views.

Image

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But then what do I know?
This seems to be an appropriate book for somebody who gets his works pushed by underwear models

As a reviewer commented “The tales of Tallis Steelyard are always entertaining and this collection of short stories, plus a few poems and reminders of his other works, does not disappoint.”

 

 

 

Come the revolution?

Capa-001_6476

 

It was Plato who said “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” There again he also said “This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are.”

So I was minding my own business, honest I was. But then it broke out all over Facebook like a rash. One overpaid media ‘personality’ metaphorically slaps another overpaid media ‘personality’.

Yeeehaa, cat fight everybody.

I’m afraid that I’d let my two grandmothers judge Brand. They’d have scrubbed his mouth out with soap and water. I remember one of them using the phase ‘foul mouthed and ignorant’ to describe someone. They knew that good manners and basic courtesy was one thing that ‘they’ couldn’t take off you. But then my grandmothers were decent working people, they weren’t ‘edgy’ or ‘relevant’.
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

Now I’m not all that old, but I’m old enough to have heard men sit and talk; men for whom Spain was the killing fields of their youth rather than a cheap holiday destination. If you want Anarchy, if you want Revolution, then I’ve talked to the men who tried the real thing. Revolution isn’t posturing on the media or even ranting on facebook, it’s hugging the ground closer than you ever hugged a lover. It’s clutching a cheap mass-produced rifle, nursing it like a child because it might keep you alive. I was told you can always tell the winners, they’re the ones who stand up unaided when the shelling stops. Apparently the dead have probably achieved a no-score draw. The losers are the wounded, depending on whose hands they fall into. If you want revolution, just look at Syria where they’ve got one. Revolutions aren’t discrete, something to be enjoyed solely by consenting adults. Once you’ve got a revolution, everybody’s got it. Pity about the old people and kids but hey, you wanted a revolution.
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

And then you get people saying things like they want to kill Tories. Well here I can help. It’s a doddle, any fool can do it.

“Basically you kneel them along the edge of the ditch. Not got a ditch, why let them dig their own, and then you can chuckle as you watch the bloated plutocrats do some honest toil. Then you take your automatic pistol in your right hand. (You are right handed? Yes? Then start from the right hand end of the line so you’re not shooting across youself.) Place the pistol barrel at the back of the neck, if they’re blind folded then just below the blindfold. Then as you release the trigger, with your right knee just nudge the body forward with your knee, it’s tidier that way, more professional, the body should topple forward and the weight of the torso will bring the legs down after it. Then just move onto the next.”
“What if you miss? From this range? OK you might not get a clean kill but being buried alive will finish them off. After all there’s not many ever manage to dig themselves out with their hands tied behind their back is there. But if they’re lucky someone will finish them off with a spade so it’s not your problem.”
“Filling in the ditch? Lawks child, that’s where experience comes in. You have the next lot to be shot dig their ditch parallel to the one that needs filling, so they dig their ditch and fill the previous one at the same time. Told you we’d done this before. And don’t worry about there not being another lot. This is a revolution, there’s always another lot. OK they might not be what you initially meant by Tories this time, they might just be people the Party disapproves of, or troublemakers who upset some local bigwig, or just ‘enemies of the people’. (We get a lot of them.)”

(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

So you want to change the world? Here’s a tip. You’re not going to achieve anything on Facebook. Facebook is the circuses bit of our ‘bread and circuses’. It’s here as a displacement activity, so people can vent in the comfort of their own homes and then go and hunt down cute cat pictures. It’s here so that people can rant, mock, troll, whatever to their hearts content.
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

How many people have ever been to an open political meeting? I went to one a few years back, so long ago I cannot remember the subject under debate. My excuse is that oldest daughter was at archery and I needed something to do to kill a couple of hours. Mind you ‘debate’ wasn’t really the right word for it. The entire audience was pretty well on first name terms with each other, they seemed genuinely surprised when someone new walked in, and even more surprised when I explained I’d come to listen to the discussion.
Because there wasn’t a discussion, it was a case of ‘we hold these things to be self evident’. The talks were a series of rants directed at their demonised opponents and they were greeted with enthusiastic applause by the faithful gathered in the congregation.
Doubtless there was some sort of mirror of this meeting being held elsewhere in town, where the rants would be in support of the opposite proposal and the congregation of the faithful equally enthusiastic.
But, Lord love them, it isn’t their fault. If everyone sits on their backsides at home and doesn’t take part, who is going to raise a polite hand and ask “I say, could you just run through that point again, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense?”
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

In fact if enough people turn up, the two opposing groups might even work up the courage to hold their meeting in the same room on the same night!

If you want to change the world then walk out of the door and into the world and actually do something. Chat to an elderly neighbour, go and help out at a youth group, help at the homeless drop in or somewhere providing respite for carers. Some people out there are actually doing this. They’re the cement that holds society together, not cute catch pictures or witty political posts on Facebook.
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

And politics? “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” If you don’t like the choice, then stand yourself. Obviously there’s a risk that you might get elected and have to take responsibility and do the chuffing job but hey, into each reign a little life must fall.
You never know, just by standing you might force the others to up their game; you might get people interested and involved. What is important is what happens, not how many ‘likes’ it gets.
Wonder how many people ‘unfriend’ me after this?
(This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.)

Sex, drugs, rock and roll; (and cute cat pictures.)

Very-cute-cat-position

 

It was Samuel Johnson who said “Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.”
He also said “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money,” and I have tried to follow his guidance in this matter.
I once got the job of writing up the annual article in one local paper on what the local authorities in the county had been doing in the way of development within the county. A topic so tedious and worthy that they always hired in a freelancer to do it. I wasn’t complaining, it fed us for a fortnight. Two thirds of the way through I dropped in a couple of dry asides on the general tedium of the subject and the sorry nature of the freelancer’s lot. I got an email from the editor, who proudly announced he’d noticed them and after mature consideration had left them in.
But now where does the hack writer turn for gainful employment, where will his work be most sought after? Just look on Facebook at some of the beautifully scripted stuff which circulates.
Imagine, you’re running a charity that wants to raise its profile but cannot afford to hire a firm of chuggers to mug their way into the newspaper headlines? Then hire a decent writer to produce for you the sort of story that will beguile the tears from the most stony hearted and you’re half way there.
But only half way; we’ve become far more ‘visually orientated’ than our parents generation. Now there has to be pictures as well.
Currently like a lot of people who blog I’m trying to sell something. I’m not too fussed about pushing a political philosophy or this weeks ‘must have’ brand of cosmetics, I’m just trying to sell my books.
But there are millions of blogs and books out there. Everyone and their dog are at it, and thanks to Facebook the dog’s probably got the edge provided he can get someone else to take the pictures.
So we wannabe celebrated authors have to be really tricksie. We’ve got to somehow grab your attention and to lure you in, to get you to at least look at the stuff we’re trying to sell.
Now then, the web is a wonderful tool for collecting feedback. Not only do I know what blog posts I’ve written, WordPress will tell me how many people read each blog and even what countries my readers come from. What is interesting is the difference between what I think is good and what people actually hunt down and read. So I may stick a post up on my blog and think to myself as I do so, “Now that’s a nice piece of work” only to discover that it’s read by a mere handful of people.
Just for the record the best read piece was ‘Horse Burgers and Hypocrisy.’ It was followed very closely and will doubtless be overtaken by ‘Marks and Spencer knicker adverts.’ It has to be said that ‘Four lesbians in a fast car’ is also climbing the charts steadily. Yet ‘A traveller in search of the exotic,’ which I thought rather good; is pretty well nowhere.
Yep, we want sex, drugs and ‘rock and roll’.

When the process of telling the world about the forthcoming release of the latest book, Justice 4.1
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Justice-4-1-Tsarina-Sector-Webster/dp/1908208236/

got serious the book got its own page on Facebook. You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/TsarinaSector?ref=hl if you’re interested. In fact if you want to click the ‘like’ button while you’re there feel free, it gives me a transitory moment of pleasure and costs nothing.

But there’s no point in having a page with nothing on it, so the page has to be kept ‘new’ and ‘interesting’ so I’ve got to keep posting stuff. Of course this is on the web and therefore I get stats. I know how many people look at each post.
And what do I discover? That if the post is just words, a handful of people look at it, but if I include a picture, then the number of people who look at it increases massively. So I’m no mug, I need pictures.
Yet here we hit a problem. Tsarina is a long way away and in our future. Haldar Drom is an obliging sort of chap but even he struggles to get the pictures back through space and time. So what to do? Given that one underlying theme of the book is piracy; there is a certain irony that I’ve taken to ransacking the web for pictures to help promote the book.

To an extent there are openings here for us to help each other. Artists who have work that is sort of suitable and don’t mind it being hijacked (and credited) can get themselves more widely known and shared as they get incidentally promoted by the author, whose book is also incidentally promoted by the artist. We could take this sort of thing further. In Justice 4.1 I mention in passing the sultry chanteuse, Dwine Tillanvor and the song she made famous, ‘Dreams of Ancient Earth.’ If we have a chanteuse out there willing to sing such a song I’m not too proud to promote her video. Indeed I’m probably not too proud to edit the manuscript and change the name of the song.

One thing Facebook has taught me is that as a society we’ve moved beyond being happy to just read the words. We demand the titillation of pictures to attract our attention. What am I doing about it?
Well I’ve finally managed to work in a ‘cute cat’ picture as well. Shame? Me? In this matter I have none……….