Chase’s Calendar of Events

Today I threw out my 2004 (only copy I had) Chase’s Calendar of Events. 

Why?  Chase’s Calendar of Events is a very nice publication with lots of interesting write-ups about holidays and events big and small.  You can find out what famous people were born on a specific date and upcoming festivals, contests, etc. 

When I got serious about self-publishing (around 2004 and 2005) several of the publishing gurus advised that you should buy a Chase’s Calendar of Events. The idea was that events are news-worthy and you could look for news events to tie to your book. So if you had written a book about Pumpkin Chucking, you would know exactly when and where the World Championship for Pumpkin Chuckin’ was going to be held (Nov 6th, 7th and 8th, 2009 in Bridgeville Delaware) and you could either promote your book at the event, or write about the event and then include in your author byline or profile a mention of your book.

The advice was sound, so why today did I chuck the book? Because like a lot of advice, new methods evolve. I’ve found I’m better off reading breaking news and if a hot topic online is related to my topic, then blog about it.

For example, anyone who has a book about relationships, marriage, dating, divorce… would be crazy to not include an occasional Kate & Jon reference in their blog. And you can’t see that one coming months in advance.

For me, the one news item that I used to grab readers successfully was covering the 2009 Newbery Award announcement. I had written a post in early January 2009 about the Newbery Award books and discovered (by looking at my web statistics) that people were coming to that page if they had searched on ‘2009 Newbery Award’. My initial post was not about the 2009 Newbery Awards. It was simply a post about Newbery Awards and it had the day’s date which included the text string ‘2009′.

Realizing that ‘2009 Newbery Awards’ was obviously a popular search term AND that there wasn’t much out there if my post was coming up in the results, I decided to post on the day the 2009 Newbery Awards were announced. I think that looking at Hot Searches and not writing about them just because they are Hot, but IF they relate to your topic is a good way to get people listening and introduce yourself and your writing to them.

My point is that self-publishing advice, like most how-to advice these days, evolves quickly. And just because someone who is successful makes a recommendation, doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to carry out that advice. I realize that I’m never going to be researching events weeks or months in advance and I can better use the shelf space for something else. Besides, it was a wonderful feeling to cross “Browse Chase’s Calendar of Events” off my mental to-do list.

If you want to know where to find current hot searches, Yahoo often has a “Today’s Top Searches” box on their home page, and AOL lists it’s top searches here.

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