Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In Response to Google Searches

Just for giggles, I looked at some of the keyword searches people have accessed my humble site with. Actually I had to give a couple of them some thought.

The first one was probably the funniest one for me, probably because no one got disappointed. "Are horror conventions nerdy?"

My only response to that without much insight was: "well, are they?"

My husband at a writing workshop, Horror Conn 2010.
That's Nancy Kilpatrick down on the end.
Actually what really makes me confident about the answer is that, fundamentally, no, horror conventions are not nerdy in their purpose or function, at least not the one I attend every year. The World Horror Convention is open to the public and fans, but it is a publisher's convention on a mission to connect horror fans with publishers, offer advice and solace to potential new writers, and offer some  unique opportunities to discover new artwork and literature from both small and large publishers. People are not exactly encouraged to come in costume, but appreciation of the genre is welcome. I probably got more attention from my large tattoo than from anything else. Makes me wonder about my supposedly Nerdy title. Girls dressed in Gothic attire (probably Halloween costumes, but still, nothing too ugly or sexy); guys sported tattoos. Publishers and writers were often in casual, though Peter Straub was in a suit. The only truly odd thing about the Horror Conn when it went to Brighton was the surprising--or at least for me at the time--number of cross-dressers and transvestites in vampire regalia. Then I found out Brighton is the Gay Capitol of England. This was, and is, not exactly unprofessional. After all, Anne Rice began a tradition of cross-gender vampires that persists. It is no wonder, then, that some writers prefer to capitalize on the trope at a convention designed to foster that sort of mentality. As far as being nerdy goes, any industry has what Dr. Ken Burchenal at UTSA likes to call its "nerds". Everyone is "nerdy" about something: poetry, computers, music, bureaucracy or what have you. Its not nerdy in the derogatory sense, just nerdy in its target audience.

Something truly awesome came up in people's random Google searches, and that is that someone out there was looking for reviews of my tattoo artist, Rachel Kolar.

Rachel at The Star of Texas convention.
More pictures of her work can be found
at truebluetattoo.com
Rachel is a wonderful person and a fabulous artist. She works out of True Blue Tattoo on Red River and Seventh Street in Austin, Texas. She is probably going to be a famous therapist one day because of her exemplary listening skills. She lets me talk her ear off for all of those three hours she stabs me with the tattoo gun. Actually, should she ever take it into her head, she'd probably charge me more just because of how much she puts up with me. In addition to letting me ramble about nothing, Rachel's ability to cull amazing artwork from  your head is unprecedented. Thanks to Rachel, I am now of the belief that a tattoo artist should know more about what you have in mind than you do. Rachel has never played FFVII. One time she asked me to describe it. I said, "Well, its a long story. Do you really want me to, or would you rather I condensed it."
"You know," she said, "Never mind."

Going off of the game guide I gave her to Crisis Core and a few pictures from VII  and Advent Children, she constructed one of the most beautiful tattoos I have ever seen, much less had the privilege of sporting every day for the past year. So, for anyone out there looking for a review of Rachel, just go up to any of my regular customers and ask them if they've seen the girl with the left arm sleeve. A testament to Rachel's artwork and skill with a needle is that random customers will stand next to my register and take pictures of me. I was once caught on camera at a convention getting tattooed. I chose Rachel because she fit the style of what I wanted done, her word of mouth reviews were glowing, and she is a mother, which I totally respect. Rachel is the best of the best, and I hope to continue advertising her skill in the future.

This one really got me: someone Googled gear scores for Rise of the Zandalari and viewed my page. Unfortunately, I only mention that my gear score is low and only list the requirements for the new dungeons. I suppose I can't blame myself for lack of information. It was an introduction to my character and the fiction that I write, not a game guide for building gear scores or managing equipment. I hope whatever I do is informative if not entirely useful.

Another cool thing is that people often steal my screen shots from Doctor Who. This is cool because the ones that I put captions on are not mine. I usually site where I've gotten those. I take my own screen shots when I can, mostly because they are more original and likely to make people happy (I know that's I how I feel when I come across original stuff); however, I have not overlooked the strategic aspect of this as well: people with original work get more foot traffic. If people want my screen shots, they may have them; after all, in many ways we're all violating the terms of Fair Use when we post them since we don't have permission from BBC to post pictures and hardly anyone bothers to site where they take their pictures from. Basically, its safe to assume that if my screen shot does not have a caption, I took it myself.

I like to keep my people happy. Anyone is free to comment on my stuff even if you don't have a Google log-in. Actually I'd love to see more comments, even if its just, "hey, write about something else," or, "Wow, no body cares."

Feedback. Marketing's most unreliable resource. Can't live with it, can't function without it.  

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