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  • Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company
    Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company
    by John M. P. Knox

    "Definitely worth adding to your collection – it’s as good a visual record of the brewing process as I’ve ever seen." -Dave of

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4 Point Font | Life as a Micro Publisher


New Marketing Materials


I probably should be embarrassed that I'm trying to sell a book of beer brewing photographs without having more than one of those photos on Hop Safari. Rather than feeling silly, I've finally uploaded a small gallery containing photos from the book.

Since Amazon's Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company page doesn't yet have the "look inside" feature, my gallery is the only way to get a good idea of what the book is about. I should have made a gallery much earlier in Hop Safari's life.

For those keeping track, making a gallery is exactly what I suggested doing yesterday. Giving myself advice through my own blog may seem weird, but it worked.


@HopSafari now has 5 followers. Percentage wise that is a huge increase. Too bad that talking percentages makes no sense when you're talking about 5 people.

If my background was selling widgets instead of programming, I might show a graph extrapolating the follower count for the next five years. "Oh, wow, we'll have 2,332,019 followers in 2011!" The infamous "hockey stick" chart. That would be silly.

On the bright side, the new followers are folks I already respect. Now Hop Safari needs to earn their respect.


Yesterday was a good day for traffic by Hop Safari standards. I had 10 (ten!) unique visitors. Even better, Hop Safari earned its first comment. Best of all, it was a comment from the Beer Wench, beer blogger extraordinaire. Thanks Ashley! See you at GABF.


Yesterday I was reminded of the service called Trada. This is a service which buys advertisements on your behalf from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. You give Trada your price per click, and their community of ad experts keep the difference between your price and what they can get on the ad networks. 

In other words, Trada helps you outsource the work of managing ad campaigns to their community of experts. Having tried to manage an AdWords campaign before, they are probably worth a shot. I need to investigate how their per-conversion service works too.




Yesterday traffic was up to 9 unique visitors. I'm not sure if this jump was motivated by the Monday blues, or by the video from the (512) Brewing Company Open House. Either way, I'll take it. The video, incidentally received 6 views since I launched it.

I'm a little surprised the video didn't generate more interest, but I am just starting to develop HopSafari as a brand. I may need to get a little more creative in my videos too. Maybe it's time for some video education.

Finally, it seems like this blog gets about the same amount of traffic as the Hop Safari Journal blog does. Interesting. I'd love a quick comment about what you like to read here and on the Journal.


My HopSafari twitter handle has 3 followers. I'm probably not doing a good job filling it with content or promoting it from this website.

I think I'm reluctant to push it because it is a new brand and I'm skeptical about my ability to keep working it over the long term. I need to remind myself that the blogs will be a bigger challenge than twitter. The blogs should provide content for twitter too.


Still no sales. My Amazon affiliate click-throughs are up to 6 for the month-to-date ending on August 30th.

I think part of the issue with sales might be that I don't have a clear description of the book: that it is primarily a photo essay and has very little text. I need to get busy and make a photo gallery of the book.


I've been toying with the idea of offering photo posters or prints from the book. I'm not sure if that would do better than the book or not.

Also, folks seem interested in self-publishing. Could I build a business around training or materials on how to self-publish?

Could I help people turn text into a nicely formatted PDF suitable for publishing? It seems probable that the technical issues of properly formatting a PDF and getting nice typesetting may stand in the way of a lot of potential self-publishers.


Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society

Someone YouTube calls "Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society" has claimed copyright ownership of the music in my (512) Brewing Company Second Anniversary video. In theory, this work is in the public domain. I got it from Musopen, a repository of recordings of compositions in the public domain (both the compositions and recordings are in the public domain, since there is separate copyright for the performance and actual sheet music).

According to Musopen, the music I'm using is Holst's march from Suite No. 1 in E-flat. Holst has been dead for something like 75 years, and the work was published in 1909, which would put the composition is in the public domain. The recording I'm using was supposedly recorded by the United States Marine Band, so it shouldn't be copyright protected.

So, am I accidentally using a copyrighted recording (and Musopen made a mistake about the origins of the music)? Or am I dealing with a copyright troll?


Website Grader

Website Grader

At last year's Business of Software Conference, Dharmesh Shah suggested using his free Website Grader to get feedback on a website. The results are pretty interesting.

First of all, HopSafari scored in the top 12% of all websites they have graded. I can do better!

There was a minor glitch with Website grader. It couldn't find our blog or the RSS feeds for those blogs. I'm not sure if that is my fault or an issue with Website grader.

Some issues with Hop Safari:

  • Missing image ALT text
  • no bookmarks
  • no twitter account associated with the domain
  • no google buzz account
  • no conversion form (a form for collecting email addresses)
  • missing metadata

Things I've fixed so far:

  • added metadata
  • started another twitter account
  • Changed the wording of the page title to have page descriptions before the page name (from Mr. Shah's BoS presentation)


Over the weekend I welcomed 4 website visitors on Saturday, none on Sunday. Not great, but Hop Safari is only a few days old.


I volunteered at (512) Brewing Company's second anniversary party this weekend. I took the opportunity to put a proof copy of Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company on their T-shirt table with some QR codes for Hop Safari and the book on Amazon. I suspect the event accounted for the 4 website visitors on Saturday.

I didn't work at the t-shirt table, but the few folks I talked to really liked the book. One person wanted to buy the proof copy on the spot, but I declined (until my delivery arrives, it is sadly the only copy I have). I wish the book delivery had arrived on time!

I was hoping that the event would generate tons of hits to HopSafari, but that didn't seem to be the case. Would I have sold some copies if I had some to sell? Probably. Having something for them to take home (a bookmark, bizcard, etc.) might have helped too.

I took some video for the event. Be sure to check it out on the Hop Safari beer blog.




HopSafari earned 8 views yesterday, down from 12 views on Wednesday. This represents almost twice the average daily traffic for over the past year. With all the interesting content I should get from the Great American Beer Festival, I suspect raising traffic levels shouldn't be too difficult.

There are no changes in book sales today. I don't think sales are recorded until a book ships, so that makes sense. No changes in the affiliate clicks either, which I suspect are updated at least on a daily basis.


I requested to join the author's program on Goodreads this morning. The program is free, which seems like a great price. Most of my friends on Goodreads read novels, so I'm not sure if they will have much impact on my numbers. That will be interesting.

I only became aware of the Goodreads author program because Scott Sigler invited me to favorite him on goodreads. Scott is definitely a role model for me -- I've been following his career since he first started offering his readings of Earth Core online for free. His books and his marketing is great.

Unfortunately, I don't write SF horror fiction, so I probably can't just rip off Scott's techniques wholesale. I probably can't give myself a cool title like "future dark overlord". I probably can't even call my readers Junkies. That seems like a terrible injustice. Don't you agree?