Showing posts from February, 2012

Self-Publishing in the Digital Age: How the Wrong Marketing can Kill Your Book

Dickens: the Myth. He achieved Eternal Fame with his Pickwick Papers published one chapter at a time in a monthly magazine (Image via Wikipedia) Don't we all wish we could duplicate that!

Newbies beware!The wrong marketing strategy can kill your book.Self-publishing is not all roses and the learning curve is very, very steep.  We've all heard that the DIY road to publishing is just a matter of hard work: write a great book, produce it professionally and sell it like a marketing guru! Then run laughing to the bank and watch your account swell and swell, right? All you need to be is a Digital Age Dickens!

Wrong! It's not that easy. Of course not all of us are Dickens. But just look at a situation where in principle you, the author, have everything under control:
1. You've written a great book. It's in top shape, editing-wise and content-wise, real bestseller stuff: check. 
2. You've converted the files to digital professionally and got a great book cover (you've …

When Malware Hits Your Blog, Don't Panic! This is What You Can Do

When malware hits your blog, a nasty warning sign appears telling your readers to stay away from your site. It just happened to me and I confess I panicked!

Here's the warning:

Frightening, isn't it?

The warning is still appearing today (February 21) for those of you who use Google Chrome as a browser - on other browsers (like Firefox) it doesn't appear.

I immediately checked what could be done, followed Google's directions and they verified that there was no longer any malware present on my site.


I thought I'd share my experience with you so that the same thing doesn't happen to you.

First, as mentioned in the warning, you want to stay away from the incriminated site:

Second, don't panic and follow Google's directions to diagnose the problem and remove the malware. Click into the warning sign and indicate you are the owner of the site. Tha…

The Americans Have a Tea Party, the Europeans a Beer Party: Angela Merkel's!

A peculiarity of our times: extremist political ideologies. They used to rise mostly on the left (Hitler and Mussolini were both socialists). Now they emerge on the right. The Americans have a Tea Party, the Europeans have a Beer Party, with Angela Merkel calling the shots.

Both parties are totally convinced they're right and everybody else is wrong. Both have one goal in mind: curb the role of government.

Who's behind the European Beer Party? Angela Merkel, of course. The European press is full of her - even staid financial newspapers like the Italian Sole 24 Ore. Here's their cover picture of their week-end magazine IL (it came out last Saturday):

Note the subtitle: MUTTER MUTLOS: "Mother Without Courage". For some Germans, she's too soft on fellow Europeans - the reason why she's taken on the battle against bailing out the Euro: she has no intentions of losing her political majority. Indeed, a majority of Germans (some 60%) see no reason why they shoul…

Rome under the Snow, Part II: The Real Story Behind the Polemics

Snow storms hit Rome yesterday, February 11th, but polemics raged all week. Here's the snow storm hitting my street:

And here's how Villa Volkonsky, the residence of the British Ambassador in Rome, looked hidden behind a double curtain of trees and snow:

Yet, more than the snow, the talk on Italian television and the media was not the snow but polemics surrounding the emergency.

Here's the story behind the polemics.

It's a fact (as I documented in my previous post) that the snow emergency last week caught the city totally unprepared. The images of Rome waking up the following morning under the snow were beautiful, but the beauty couldn't hide the fury of Roman citizens. They had been caught in traffic the night before during a home rush hour that in some cases lasted...eight hours! The next day they were stuck at home, public transport had broken down, even the metro was inaccessible and the supermarkets were empty. No milk, fruits, vegetables or fruit. Unthinkabl…

1% against 99%: the Real Story behind the Euro Crisis

The Euro crisis, the move to austerity measures and budget deficit reduction, the disregard for policies to stimulate growth can all be traced back to the actions of one single group: the one percent.

That famous one percent from the 1% vs. 99% formula  the Occupy Wall Street movement has brought up to the front of the scene.The focus on social inequality was no doubt Occupy Wall Street's major contribution to the debate on how to solve the Great Recession that started in 2008 and  is still not over in spite of some recent improvements in the US. Plus the situation in Greece is rapidly deteriorating: it looks like default by March 20, probable exit from the Euro and then all bets are open: will the Euro collapse? I don't think so, but the situation is dire. Labor reform is at the centre of the debate, and it's not a question of job creation but of belt-tightening: fewer jobs, cuts in salaries. Ask the Greek what they think!

Massive unemployment is still with us on both …

Rome under the Snow: What it's Really Like!

The last time it snowed in Rome was back in 1986! So Romans are unprepared, and what happened is what I want to show you here. No photos of the Colosseum or St Peter's under the snow, I'm sure you've seen them on TV. What you're getting is an insider's view!

It all started around 1 pm Friday February 3rd. Looking out the window of my living room, this is what I saw:

Giuseppe (my husband) and I wanted to go to a museum - forget it! We decided to stay home and console ourselves with good food:

Yes, for those of you who think I'm a die-hard beer drinker (because of my post on beer-drinking in Rome), you're in for a surprise! I love wine and this was a fantastic bottle - the last one in our cellar: a Brunello di Montalcino 1981. Yes, that's not a typo... ok, we drank it because it was so old: it needed drinking before going off (actually it was perfect). We had it with a little foie-gras followed by two scrumptious Italian cheeses: an aged Gorgonzola and a …

I've just created a QuickQuiz - 5 Questions About Heredity

Fear of the past, anyone? Here's the lion that inspired the first book cover of my Sicilian epic, originally called Fear of the Past and now out with a different cover and title: The Phoenix Heritage. This lion is old, the model goes back to the Phoenicians, it's a typical hieratic Sicilian statue. 

And here's the Quiz I created (linked to the book's central theme):

Here's the link to a QuickQuiz - 5 Questions About Heredity
Click it and play this QuickQuiz now and test your knowledge!

You'll discover that some very famous people were impacted by genetic inheritance, perhaps some you never suspected like Jane Fonda or Queen Victoria
If you're wondering why I picked heredity as a subject for the quiz, that's easy! It's something I've always been fascinated with: the issue of nature vs. nurture. Are we born as a clean slate and therefore become the product of our education and experience (nurture) or have we inherited family traits that determine who…