Aug 232017
 

The day was a Thursday, the twenty-third of August, 2012. It was eight o’clock in the evening. I walked out of my room in one of Tehran’s three star hotels, entered the elevator, and went down to reception. I expected to meet my friend and colleague Amir in the lobby;

……

I didn’t expect to meet officers of Iranian security service in the lobby on that evening 5 years ago. My imprisonment, solitary confinement, espionage for CIA accusations, possibility of death sentence, six months in prison, my business ruined—all those things that came as a huge surprise, and shock for both my body and mind, seem like a dream now.

Did it all really happen? Did I really survive?

Perhaps it is good that we people have selective memory—that we can forget or at least learn to live in the present (a tough ‘skill’ to learn indeed), not letting the demons of the past to steal from us the most precious thing we’ve been granted — the present moment.

 

Significant? Or insignificant?

Many things have happened during those five years … and though I’d call them the best years of my life, and feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to do all the things I’ve done during the time, in the sphere of business, literature, charity, sport, traveling, spirituality, I want to confess that the last five years were far from easy….

With my new vision of the world and of my own life (and its insignificance), with the marks that the prison cell had left on my heart, those marks only a very sensitive person could recognize, I’d often found myself a complete outsider among people, not really able to fit into the society, the way it functions, thinks and lives.

Though I may seem an easy person to get along, someone who doesn’t struggle to talk to anyone, or go anywhere, you should know that below the surface—on the profound level of my heart and soul, I have quite often felt misunderstood, or even lonely among people.

 

Free to exist

Nevertheless, in both high and low moments, it’s good to travel in time for a second, at least in mind, reminding myself where I’d been five years ago—and compare it to the place where I am now—in a normal flat, being free to walk, to write, to take shower. Free to choose my food, to meet people, to go outside. Free to enjoy and suffer. Free to exist. Free to feel misunderstood. 🙂

If you are reading this article, you likely find yourself in the same boat. You are free.

Live neither in the past, nor from the past, but never forget that those things I described in previous paragraph should never be taken for granted. Don’t think about what you do not have (and some others do)—enjoy what you do have. Billions of people are not as lucky as you.

Five years. A lot of time for an individual? A grain of sand for the Universe? Who knows…. Happy anniversary to all of you!

Jul 262017
 

Very simple PBN diagram, M.S. means “money site”, in our case University of Solitude

Several months have passed since I wrote about building a PBN. I was trying to rank University of Solitude in Google search results, for search terms “real life inspirational story”, “true inspirational story”, and many other long-tail keywords, related to inspirational stories.

Just to help you remember, very briefly, a PBN is a network of websites (typically aged, expired websites, with some authority and links from other domains pointing to them) that link back to your money site, and that were built with a sole purpose: to help ranking your main website (called money site in SEO terminology) higher in Google search results, for keywords of your choice.

Note: To read more about building PBN, check my article from March.

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Jun 142017
 

Every writer dreams of reaching the Amazon bestseller list. To gain visibility among millions of books, to attract the eyes of readers who browse Amazon by categories. There are supposed to be millions of them. Some writers may spend their fortune, or perhaps their youth :), trying to crack the list of bestsellers.

Well, I did it in a day. And it didn’t cost me a fortune. I actually spent just a couple of hours, and a bit less than $250 to rank nr. 1 in all three book categories that feature University of Solitude (Criminology, Middle East, Iran), and reach a top 500 paid kindle ranking on the entire Amazon.

On 8th June, shortly after noon, I reached top 1 in all three categories, and top 350 on the entire Amazon.

Continue reading »

May 242017
 

Zurich airport

On 5th April, early morning, I flew from Vienna to Seville with a layover in Zurich. I had three hours to spare on the biggest of Swiss airports.

Since I always carry food with me, and do not like duty free shops, I typically spend time in the transfer halls walking, looking for inspiration, or I just walk without thinking.

It’s better for the body, because the journeys from point A to point B utilizing some form of transport are all about sitting and eating – sitting in a bus, in a train, in a plane, in the airport, in the taxi, and so on :).

 

Bookstores in the airports

There are a few bookstores in Zurich airport, like probably in any other major traffic hub. I bumped into one on my walk around, and decided to make a short marketing experiment.

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Mar 312017
 

Time fliesI don’t like to repeat myself, but long time has passed since I’ve published the last blog article. Well, not only has the time passed—it has done so rather quickly!

Nothing new in this department either—time always flies by when you are free, and when life feels good.

February and March brought to my life some opportunities to speak in front of young audiences. Two speeches took place at high schools, and one time I was invited to speak during a special Christian gathering, a weekend the believers spent together in a very nice locality in the nature, ‘outside of civilization’.

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Jan 232017
 

Picture from Nepal, Renjo LaLong time has passed since I updated the blog for the last time. But don’t worry, they didn’t arrest me again, and I didn’t get run out of ideas either. 🙂

Honestly, I’ve done very little for the book marketing between 23rd November and 3rd January. I spent those weeks in Nepal, in the Himalayas. ‘Doing nothing’ and letting go, for a few weeks at least, is vitally important for someone who works intellectually, creatively, and even tries to write something unique and innovative.

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Nov 212016
 

Donation IRRCSix weeks still left in 2016. For me, however, the working year will end in two days already.

On Wednesday I’ll leave for Nepal, where I’ll spend the rest of the year living a simple life of a backpacker in the Himalaya Mountains.   

The trip should help me restore my mental and physical energy levels. Typically it works, and I really need to restore them. I need to spend extended time in the nature at least twice a year, to maintain my inner equilibrium. Forgetting all world problems and leaving my personal challenges, pleasures and duties behind, these backpacking trips allow me to function normally and work hard for the rest of the year. The rest of the year is when I do not travel. 🙂

Occasionally I may connect the two, writing while traveling, but it won’t be the case in Nepal. . . .

 

First donation to Red Cross

I wanted to make a first donation before leaving Slovakia. So I counted all money we received for the sales of the University of Solitude, from 2nd May 2016 to 15th November 2016. It included:    Continue reading »

Nov 142016
 

Homepage of Criticue.com“The more you contribute the more feedback you receive.”

Criticue.com is an interesting concept—a peer to peer website review portal. You create a free account, submit your website, and start reviewing other users’ websites. (start-up owners and web designers form the majority of user base).

You earn one credit for every submitted review, and each review cost you one credit. Putting it simply, if you review 10 websites, you’ll get 10 reviews of your own website(s). Note: You an also buy credits, if you do not feel like reviewing websites.

Site moderators check each submitted review, and users rate reviews they receive, which helps to eliminate spam, and ensure that your credits won’t be wasted.

  Continue reading »

Nov 082016
 

Visotrs overview, May-November Our long term book marketing strategy consists in the following promotion techniques:

  • Driving traffic to the book landing page through our YouTube channel
  • Gaining organic Google traffic with the help of search engine optimization
  • Building my brand as a writer and thinker, posting comments to relevant videos and participating in discussions on philosophy forums

 

These promotion techniques form our long term marketing strategy, as we try to promote University of Solitude to the world. In this post I’ll update you on the progress we achieved so far, and describe lessons I learned along the way.

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Nov 012016
 
One of my ads displayed on Amazon.com

One of my ads displayed on Amazon.com

Amazon ads. I was tempted to give them a try. After all, they differ from all other promotion we have done for the book so far.

When people click the ads, they’ll land on Amazon product page of University of Solitude. In all my previous and ongoing marketing efforts, I have tried to bring visitors to Universityofsolitude.com website, and not to Amazon. Could bringing them to Amazon yield better results, in terms of sales? I decided to give it a try.

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