GumTree diary

This is my diary of how I’m getting on with replies and responses to my ad(s) in Gumtree. I’ve done it in reverse date order, so if you want to start at the beginning, scroll down to the bottom and work your way up. When I have time I’ll try and insert links to items down the page, or even turn it into a series of posts

Day 10, 09:10 (ish)

I’ve just completed yesterday’s entries.

I’m beginning to think I should stop this diary and start a new one: a sort of daily events as they happen, as  have had some action on the ebook cover front and have been thinking seriously about re-writing some of Abigail.

Yep, I think that’s what I’ll do, and post a link to it right here.

Day 9, 09:45 (ish)

Nothing from anybody. Dropped an email to my uber editor (see below) but no response. Out of all the Gumtree activity, only two graphic designers asked to see the actual story. Not a single web developer was interested enough. And now those two have gone silent on me, so I suspect they think the Abigail story is crap but don’t want to tell me. Or – more likely – don’t know how to tell me. And they won’t be reading this as they won’t want to be reminded.

Very depressed. I can write ‘Onward! Upward!’ but who’s fooling whom? Or should that be who is fooling who? Or even whom is fooling whom?

D’you know what? I’m not sure I even care any more.

On the upside, we held a bash yesterday that went well, so perhaps right now I’m suffering from too much self-indulgence. The self-pity of the self-indulged. Well, if the only things awry in my life are too much food and a lack of interest in my creative work, then in reality I’ve got the kind of life  most people in the world would give their eye teeth to have.

Onward! Upward!

Day 9, 20:00 (ish – as this is actually being written on the following day: mild disruption at home obliterated the evening)

An email from a web developer interested in joining. Or to be more accurate, asking for details, probably because he can’t be  bothered to read the actual long description or follow the link to this blog. Sent what is becoming a standard reply, just about a repeat of the longer description, and since then, nothing.

An encouraging amount of views on this blog, however.

Day 9, 15:32

Uber editor has replied. She actually has a life to lead, and I was getting impatient. She’ll probably finish reading it in a few days, and we’ll see how it goes from there. So that’s back on track. Might even Skype! (gulp)

Nothing else happening.

As all the action seems to be on the graphic artist/designer front I’ll probably have to do the web stuff myself. I’m thinking of rolls-roycing this blog and have started looking at potential web builders and themes. Might even make it a one-page site, with all this stuff tucked away in a section marked ‘blog.’

Day 8, 10:07

My ad(s) are still there. Odd, but as responses have dropped to pretty much zero in the last day we’re in the end game anyway.

Dropped a quick email to the student, as I know no responses can be very discouraging. Basically asked her to wait and see as I’ve nothing sorted yet.

Day 7, 11:00 (ish)

last day for my ad, and nothing from no-body. Yet.

Day 7, 17:17 (ish)

A reply from a student. Sounds fine, but not much experience of digital media.If it were just me doing the website and her doing the drawings, I’ve a feeling there’d be not enough knowledge of how this stuff all fits together. But we’ll see.

Day 6, 10:00 (ish)

Another reply to my Gumtree ad and again someone who actually seems to have read this blog. Not sure if local, but she’s looking for a project and mine caught her eye. So I’ve replied. She’ll send me a link to her portfolio and we’ll take it from there.

What with her and the local lady it’s almost an embarrassment of riches!

Also decided what to do with the comment: in keeping with what I hope is the spirit of this blog, I’ve replied and published: click here.

Day 6, 20:00 (ish)

Things are moving on. It’s been all about the new contact at the moment. Looked through the portfolio and yep, she’s very talented with lots of different styles, so sure one would suit. So I sent a link to the first Abigail story and she came back with it needs a uber edit, can we Skype?

Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t like Skyping. Or ‘phoning. Texts are fine, so are emails and Instant Messaging. And I can – just – hack face2face meetings. The trouble with phone calls is that no-one likes a silence. When person A stops speaking person B feels compelled to say something, even if there’s nothing to say. And when they stop, the other person has to say something and in the end everyone’s talking gibberish, because everyone’s rushing to fill the silence, rather than thinking about what they’re saying. I’ve committed to things over the phone no sane person should even contemplate, because I just end up nodding and saying yes.

And the other big downer to ‘phone and video calls is it’s hard to disguise how you’re feeling. If you’re grumpy and down – as I often am – it’s impossible to be cheerful and confident on the ‘phone. Even worse on Skype. Whereas with writing, without the imperative of instant reaction, you can either wait until you’re feeling more upbeat or simply fake it. Instead of ‘hello’, ‘Hi!’ or ‘I’m feeling so low I want to jump off a cliff, bugger off and never approach me again, I hate you’ can be changed to ‘Me fine. How’re you? Good?’

Yep, OK, I just constructed that argument rather than admit my brain just isn’t particularly agile any more. But – unlike writing – there’s no delete key for words already spoken.

Anyway, I shall run away from the phone/Skype/whatever for as long as I can.

Not feeling upbeat about anything anymore.

Day 5, 12:00 (ish)

Hurrah! A sensible email from someone local. A graphic designer between jobs. Actually understands the importance of reading the story. I reply and send her a link.

Also a slightly left field comment, which I don’t know quite what to do with. So I park it for now.

Day 4, 13:00 (ish)

The number of replies has slowed right down. 3 generic, two of which were identical. Shows how much interest they actually have. Have filed away in my ‘generic stuff’ folder.

So I replied to all the possibles. One responded almost immediately along the lines of ‘great! I’ll speak to my team and we’ll come back with a rough quote ASAP!’ On which I sent back:

A rough quote? Erm … have you actually read the financial stuff? Have a look at: http://tobyzara.com/posts/gumtree/… Hope to hear from you ….. but not expecting to ….

Needless to say, since then, nothing.

And I sent the same link to the guy who asked ‘As you mention, you not have enough budget Can you share me what is your budget and how you pay us in future(profit)?

And nothing back from him either.

So the waiting continues. This ain’t a bust …… yet …..

I think I’ll apply reverse sod’s law and start looking at building the website myself.

Reverse sod’s law? No? Well sod’s law says if you take an umbrella it won’t rain. Reverse sod’s law applies this in a more positive fashion: to make sure it’s sunny, take an umbrella. So if I put a lot of effort into building the website, someone with flare and imagination will come along and do it for me.

(a few hours later, after lunch and walking the dog)

Ha! a new reply asking for more details. I quickly posted up some website details and sent him a link.

So where are we now?  So far, quite a few replies from all over the world. Most have been generic, but 8 looked possible, all of which I have replied to. Of these, I think 5 have probably dropped out. A bit disappointing, but ho hum, we press on regardless.

Day 3, 10:00 (ish)

A couple more replies, both of which look promising. Or, to put it another way, non-generic. Also I have changed the ad a bit, trying to make it sharper and clearer.

Also I am considering splitting this diary up, one post per day, mindful of the fact many people will probably be looking at this on the smaller screens of smartphones or tablets. Me? I like a screen you can get your teeth into.

Day 3, 21:00 (ish)

A few more replies, two of which are non-generic, hurrah! One of them looks really promising: it was obvious he’d actually read this blog, and also asked some relevant questions, which I replied to.  I’ve now got 4 unanswered possibles, none of which actually ask me questions, so I’m wondering if I should drop them a line repeating what I said in the ad, that I’m not really going to press ahead with this until Friday.

Nah, sod it. If they’re keen they’ll be reading this and so will know what I’m doing.

I have a feeling though the sticking point here will be getting the images I need. So far most of the responses have been from web developers/designers, rather than artists.

Tired. Closing down for the day.

Day 2, 09:00 (ish)

No more replies, but quite a few views. So people are having a look, so I am reaching my potential targets. Also had a tiny lightbulb moment (ting!) in the small hours. For someone coming in cold from Gumtree, the post was somewhat incoherent. So I got up and wrote another one, which is way clearer.

And then found I couldn’t change the link in Gumtree! Why? I expect if I asked they’d say ‘for technical reasons.’ So anyway, I put a in fresh link. So if you came from Gumtree the first line you’d see would be something like ‘coming from Gumtree? click here.’ which doesn’t look that professional, but better than messing up the Gumtree link.

Anyway, I now have six replies, 3 of which start Dear Sir/Madam and three of which don’t. None of these start with ‘Hello Toby,’ ‘Hi Toby’ or even ‘Dear Toby,’ so I rather think they’re also just generic, fishing for a response.

But I’m more than willing to be proved wrong, so I’ll contact them and send a link to my new post. You never know.

Day 2, 13:20 (ish)

Had another reply, who says he’s ‘ …. read your job details very carefully ….’ oh yes? Nothing about wanting to have a look at the actual book, nothing about working for future profit ….. nothing in fact that indicates he’s read beyond the first line of the ad. Had a look at some of the links he sent as examples of his work. Looks good, and he could certainly do the biz, but …… I dunno, I feel a miasma of dispiritedness creeping over me.

A sudden thought: I wonder if any of these guys pay an agency to keep an eye open for possible work and send a standard letter on their behalf if one is found? I bet there is …..

.. a quick Google later ….

.. hard to tell. A lot of job agencies out there, all touting for business from both sides, job seekers and employers, and I bet they send things on spec. Anyway, I’m bored with this. ‘The Ipcress File’ is on at a local arthouse cinema, so I think I’ll get on my bike and go see. One of the few cases where the film is way better than the book.

Day 2, 19:00 (ish)

More replies, and some of them non-generic. Quite a few from India. I didn’t realise Gumtree stretched so far! But I suppose with the web, everything is accessible from everywhere, pretty much.

I now have 5 possibles. 3 came in yesterday, so I’ve sent them an email pointing them at the new post. The other two came in after, so I’ll leave them alone until tomorrow.

Day 1 after posting a couple of ads on GumTree.

I woke up this morning and three replies had come in overnight. Hurrah! I thought.

But… same old, same old. They clearly hadn’t read the longer description. Two were standard letters, (one even started dear Sir/Madam) just pitching for the work and assuring me of competitive rates. And the third – in effect – just said ‘tell me more.’ So she might have potential.

It’s almost exactly like when I raised a gig in Fiverr, accepted someone’s bid and about four weeks later found she hadn’t been working to the spec at all.

I’m starting to think it must be me, that my approach is all wrong. Or I’m using the wrong words. There might be a secrete vocabulary I’m not aware of

Or maybe everyone’s already in work and therefore not willing to have a speculative punt.

Day 1: 11:00 (am) another reply. Yep, this one starts dear Sir/Madam and has a CV attached.

Hello, hello: for those of you out there, I’m looking for this sort of response:

Hi Toby. Saw your ad and had a peek at your blog. Looks interesting. Don’t like the deferred payment idea, but I’m between jobs at the moment, so willing to give it a go for a while. Can you send me a copy of the first Abigail ebook, and if I like it maybe we can take it further.

That’s all! I mean the ebook is less than 20,000 words: it’s a one sit read between lunch and tea.

.. One way or another, it’s now time for lunch …

Day 1, 13:00

Lunch over, but no more replies. I think however more people have had a look at this blog. Hard to tell, because one of the standard ways I work is to have an incognito browser open, so I can see any changes ‘fresh’ as it were. And of course browsing incognito does click over the visitor numbers.

And – in case you’re wondering – the stats in Gumtree (there’s a ‘view’ number) only seem to be updated overnight.

Oh, sod this number watching. I’m off to do something more interesting….

Day 1, 16:15

More views and another reply. More hopeful as it’s short and doesn’t have a CV. Starts ‘Hi there’ and continues: ‘Am quite interested and may be able to help.’ Ummm … could be yet another generic fishing exercise in response to the top level advert. Could well indicate he hasn’t read beyond the first line.

Time for a think. And a cuppa. There might be cake!