girl having sex with elephant

WordPress doesn’t tell me who specifically is visiting my blog, but the stats page does tell me what search engine terms people are using to find it. And the most common one, by far, is some variation of “girl having sex with elephant”.

Seriously. Although once it was “me having sex with elephant”. Maybe that one was the girl all the rest are looking for.

The reason this search query brings people to my blog is because I wrote a post I called the elephant in the room (and me trying to have sex with it), and for the meta tags I used keywords like “elephant sex” and “pachyderms”. Meta tags are how webpages are indexed on the internet, and help match keywords users type into search engines with appropriate webpages. At least, that’s how I think it works. I don’t actually know for sure. What I do know is that if you type girl having sex with elephant into Google without quotes, there’s over five million results. And my blog is the ninth one.

I always figured I’d be noteworthy for something one day. I just never thought it would be elephant sex.

The reason I’m mentioning this now is because as of today, I’ve been on Twitter for a week. And as a result, I really just feel like fucking with people on the internet right now.

I still hate Twitter. Twitter is basically like an unending series of Facebook status updates, except from people I really don’t care about. Oh yeah, and a lot of them are constantly trying to sell me something. “Buy my book!” “Visit my webpage (where you can buy my book)!” “Check out my interview (about my book, which you can buy on my website)!”

You know what? No. Fuck that noise. Yes, I understand that people only have 140 characters to work with, but I hate being told what to do. When I see “Buy my book!” the first thing that pops into my head is “No. Fuck you.” I don’t actually say it, or even type it, but that’s the general response I have to that sort of thing.

That said, I will admit that I’ve connected with some pretty cool people on Twitter.  But these were people who actually started a conversation with me, rather than just trying to sell me something. And yeah, in the case of one guy I did end up buying his book because he just seemed like such a cool person, but he also bought mine and his was 99 cents while mine is $2.99, so I won that round.

I do understand the marketing potential of Twitter. I’ve been posting on this blog once a week for over a year now, and it averages nine unique hits a day. I’m assuming eight of those are my mom clicking obsessively, but still. Yet in just the week that I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve been posting links to my Videlicet Productions blog and it’s now averaging eight unique hits a day, and there’s only like three posts on there. And no elephant sex. So posting links on Twitter really does work.

The thing is, I know exactly what I need to do to really be successful, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I simply can’t pretend to be interested in other people’s crap that I really don’t care about. So instead I’ve just been having fun with people who share my weird sense of humor. Another author did a ‘flash’ interview of me on Twitter, and it quickly went horribly, horribly wrong. I also co-founded TweetCliffNotes, where we write book summaries based on poor recollections of books read 5-10 years ago in 140 characters or less (for example, WAR AND PEACE: “Oh no, the French! Aww crap I’m dead. The other guy gets married.”)

I’ve got a collection of short stories I plan to release early next month, but after seeing all the annoying crap other people do to promote their work, I just can’t bring myself to go that route. In fact, here’s the cover I designed for it:

yeah, this is seriously what I'm going withA lot of people have told me how important it is to have a decent cover, but I honestly think the quality of the cover should reflect the quality of the writing contained within.  And in this case, I think I hit it pretty much right on. But as my writing improves, I plan on having better and better covers for my books.

Obviously by “better” I mean “designed by someone other than me.”

You might be wondering who Sander Crane is. Well, Sander Crane is the pen name of an individual who doesn’t want his real name associated with these stories in any way, and that’s all I can say about that.

So will using this cover hurt my sales? Almost certainly. But it’s more important to me that the quality of the cover reflect the quality of the stories, so I’m going to go ahead and roll with it. But I am thinking my next project will be SmallGalaxy.

SmallGalaxy is the story of a football-size spaceship crewed by sentient cockroaches (which makes a lot of sense, if you stop and think about it), and I guarantee you it’s the greatest story about cockroaches ever. I say this with a pretty high degree of confidence considering my biggest competition is the delightful 1996 film Joe’s Apartment. I think it would be funny to write it, have a fantastic cover designed, get everyone on Twitter to ‘like’ it on Facebook and write 5-star reviews on Amazon, until the inevitable day that someone actually reads it and goes, “Wait a minute, this story is about cockroaches??!! Plus it really sucks.”

And then they will know how I feel.


About Critical Awesomeness
I'm a 32-year-old American with a PhD in chemistry and a green hat. Only one of these two things is really important.

7 Responses to girl having sex with elephant

  1. oldsalt1942 says:

    One of the things I do each morning is check my blog site stats, too. I like seeing how people found me and to see what links on the blog the people clicked. Especially if it’s one of the links to check out my books.

    On my blog where I usually post several times a week, I register about 75 or 80 hits a day. My biggest day had 261 on Jan. 22 this year. Who knows why? As of the moment the blog has been visited 62,800 times.

    My other blog, averages about 200 hits a day and I only post there sporadically. When I first started it I tried to post daily but then, after a while, I’d use Google to search for new ideas I discovered I’d become a “source.” The first two or three pages of the Google search would be links to MY BLOG. The houseboat blog has had 139,062 up to this minute and the biggest day ever was 667 hits August 7th last year.

    The site stats also don’t tell you where your readers are from. I’ve seen blogs that have a map that shows where people who view your blog are located with little red dots. You could confirm your suspicions about your mom’s compulsive visits with it.

    I just installed the widget on my blogs. You might want to try it too.

    I signed up for a Twitter account the other day but I just haven’t been able to overcome my aversion to the “social” networks enough to actually do anything with it yet. I also absolutely HATE Facebook although I have a page there. I mean, what do you do when your brother writes and asks you to be his “Friend” there? Say, “Fuck You. I don’t like you enough to do that?” I have, though, through Facebook reconnected with quite a few friends I’d lost contact with over the years and was glad to find them again, although I tell them I hate Facebook, never voluntarily visit it, and here’s my email address and blog URL you can follow me there.

    • Yeah, I had a look at both your blogs and you’re definitely doing it right. You have a clear-cut theme, are trading links with other bloggers, and you write about things that are of interest to a wide variety of people. To be honest, there’s really no reason for anyone who doesn’t know me personally to visit my blog.

      Well, aside from elephant sex, anyway.

  2. Mom says:

    Ummm. I don’t obsessively check your blog every day. I don’t call eight times a day obsessive.

  3. danniehill says:

    Hey, what about the elephant… and the girl? This is a really great post. I recently discovered you on Twitter and it’s been enjoyable. I started tweeting about 8 months ago at the insistance of a friend and thought the very same thing– It really sucked. But then I discovered the secret of marketing I’ve been looking for. Because I really suck at that too– I’m talking about me not you. Passive marketing it something I can do. Just find people to talk to and — here’s the hard part for me– be nice. I have made more friends on that silly site than I’ve had in a long time. And smart people too.

    I’ve just started blogging and it is is tough. I don’t understand all the meta, and dealing with google but I’m learning from people like you and OldSalt1942. Of course my hope is to sell my books- so while your not doing anything… LOL just kidding, sort of.

    Thanks for a great post, Andy.

    • Yeah, the whole Twitter/blogging/self-promotion world is an interesting one to be sure.

      I think my experience has been similar to yours. As I mentioned I only signed on to Twitter for self-promotion, but I really have met a lot of cool people, and I even have sold a couple of books through passive marketing like you said. Now I just need to make friends with one or two million people and I’ll be set.

      Regardless, one of the things you should do when you comment on someone else’s blog is leave a link to your own, like OldSalt did. According to my WordPress dashboard, people have been clicking on his links. It’s best if you work it into the context of the conversation like he did as well, rather than simply tacking it on at the end.

      Anyway, best of luck to you, and of course I’ll keep reading your blog as well:

  4. Will Bevis says:

    I have a copy of Joe’s Apartment. I was looking at it closely,,, and I think I recognized one of the roaches: YOU!

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