Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Grandfather's Songs: The Music of John H. Craton

I know I'm behind on blogging, for which I apologize. I promise I will eventually finish the series on downtown Powder Springs. At the time I was taking the pictures, I was thinking, "Oh, there's too much traffic now. I can come back and finish this up any time."

I didn't realize at the time how long I would be delayed by the need to track down gopher wood to build an ark.

If the sun ever shines again, I will get the rest of those houses featured and link them to the rest of the series. What's even more frustrating is that one of them is the one house that I most wanted a picture of, the one my parents rented rooms in when they were first married, and the one I've been telling myself for several years that I need to stop and take a picture of.

In the meantime, I have big news on the Squidoo front. I am taking part in a series of training challenges for new "squids", which carry the benefit of being read and sometimes critiqued by established Squidoo writers, and being promoted on a weekly showcase list.

This week's challenge was to write about something special in our home, an assignment that would normally fit well with Squidoo's marketing niche. But the first thing I thought of was my collection of singing convention songbooks, many of which contain songs my grandfather, a singing school teacher, wrote, and some of which he published. My grandfather died before I was born, so his music is his legacy to me.

That's probably not the commercial approach Amazon would have hoped for. It's certainly not "keyword" friendly. I doubt very many people are going to type "Pie John" into a Google search box.

But I didn't care. It would be a fun article to write (although I do admit crying through it). I titled the Amazon module "Things Pie John Might Have Liked", but after the Cathedrals "An Old Convention Song" album and the Baptist Hymnal, I was a little at loss for what my grandfather, who was born in 1881, died in 1961, and made a living on the singing school circuit and raising cotton, might have ordered from Amazon. They say Amazon sells everything, but they don't sell tractors. I checked. So I picked out a nice tiller instead. Awfully inconvenient for more than a backyard plot, but it beats plowing 40 acres with a mule. A nice hoe for hoeing corn and chopping cotton, maybe? I know! An iphone! Gives you directions, plays music, and hey, you can make phone calls with it, too!

I'm really not expecting someone born in 1881 to sell an iphone (although the referral payment would be really nice). But then, I really wasn't expecting anyone but a few family and friends and a few fellow Squidoo authors to read it. It would be fun, I'd add some content to my profile, and maybe a few people might find it a nice read and come back to read something else.

Squidoo ranks articles by some formula (known only to them) that includes views, likes, social media shares, and clicking on links. I don't know how many articles are currently on the site, but the initial rank of "My 5 Favorite Recordings by the Cathedral Quartet" was #1,449,113 before it bumped up to #69,893 on Day 2.

"My Grandfather's Songs: The Music of John H. Craton" got a pretty good initial amount of traffic from my Facebook post the first day it was published. The next morning, it was ranked #15,930, the highest ranking any of my articles so far. Then several people shared the link on their timeline, and when I checked my stats today, it was ranked #3,501 overall and #102 in music.

I don't know yet how a ranking that high will translate into my payment since I've been on Squidoo for less than a month. I won't be paid for August until October. I don't yet have a clear understanding how all that works since there are so many factors that come into play on Squidoo (unlike Yahoo!, which simply pays per view with occasional advance payments). But from what I've read, this is high in the second tier (2,000-20,000). Lenses with that average over a month seem to be the ones that are the bread-and-butter (if you have a number of them). Tier 1 is where the real money-makers are.

I don't know that this article will get that high, and I certainly don't expect it to maintain an average like that. I'm expecting it to drop once all the people who have some connection to someone who has some connection to it read it, and then maybe maintain an occasional readership from people who happen to see it on my profile page. But it has definitely introduced a lot of people to my writing, and hopefully they will read other articles or find their way to this blog.

My initial estimations are that it will take about six months to build an appreciable income from my freelance writing. This makes me very hopeful about that goal. I love being self-employed, and I love teaching piano, but that's not an income that I can depend on. Hopefully a good supply of articles online will provide more of a financial stability.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has read this or shared it so far. That means so much to me.

If you haven't read it, here's the link:
My Grandfather's Songs: The Music of John H. Craton


I've probably followed in Pie John's footsteps more professionally (except I've never picked cotton in my life), but I look more like "Emmer". I definitely inherited her front teeth, but caps fixed that.

While you're at it, check out some of my other work. My profile pages will have links to all my articles on these sites.

If you want updates on new articles and new blog posts, you can "like" this blog's Facebook page. I usually post links there. Sometimes I also share photos or articles related to something I've written about. I don't like to use any photos that I don't own unless they are public domain, so when I find an interesting related photo, I share it there.

While I'm thanking people, I want to thank the loyal readers that I have here on Old Roads Once Traveled (you know who you are). To those who just happened by, pull up a chair and set a spell.

P.S. If you're looking to buy an iphone on Amazon, I've got a link for you. See my grandfather about that.

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