Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Conrad Aiken Bench, Bonaventure Cemetery


Conrad Aiken Bench, Bonaventure Cemetery
Originally uploaded by Mark Coggins
Famous bench at grave site of Savannah poet Conrad Aiken. The bench and Aiken's selected epitaph, "Cosmos Mariner—Destination Unknown" are discussed near the beginning of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" when author Berendt goes to sit on the bench to have martinis with one of Savannah's in-the-know society ladies.

Angel Peering into Font


Angel Peering into Font
Originally uploaded by Mark Coggins
Slightly more spooky shot of the same girl angel.

Girl Angel with Font


Girl Angel with Font
Originally uploaded by Mark Coggins
Girl angel from Bonaventure, the famous cemetery pictured on the cover of MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL.

Savannah Police Statue


Savannah Police Statue
Originally uploaded by Mark Coggins
This one doesn't have anything to do with cemeteries, but I couldn't resist.

It's a picture of a rather strange-looking statue (it must be said) of a policeman near police headquarters.

He reminds me of the T1000, the shape-shifting cyborg of Terminator Two.

Headstones in Colonial Park Cemetery


Headstones in Colonial Park Cemetery
Originally uploaded by Mark Coggins
Here are more headstones from the same cemetery, many dating from the early 1800s.

Fog over Colonial Park Cemetery


Fog over Colonial Park Cemetery
Originally uploaded by Mark Coggins
My wife and I are spending the holidays in Savannah, Georgia. As I've hinted before, my next novel--THE BIG WAKE-UP--has a bit to do with cemeteries.

So, naturally, I couldn't resist capturing a few photos of Savannah graveyards for possible inclusion in the book.

This one is from Colonial Park Cemetery, which is smack dab in the middle of town.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Keyword Spy

I stumbled across a site called Keyword Spy, which purports to give ranking data about the keywords that are being used in searches that lead people to your site.

Rather than telling you what keywords most people are using to get to your site--something you can get from your web log reports--it tells you what keywords are associated with your site in a stacked ranking against all other sites on the Internet.

Confused? Here's a sample report from my own site, www.immortalgame.com:

You'll see that I have the number 1 position for the first three keywords on the list: "empire troubadour," "sylvia lennox" and "891 post street." That means that if someone types in one of those three keywords in a search engine, they are most likely to end up on my site amongst all the sites on the Internet.

But it doesn't mean that those keywords bring the most people to my site because they are not necessarily popular keywords for searches. In fact, search for the keyword "immortal game" brings the most people to my site because, in addition to being the title of my first novel, it is also the name of a famous game in chess history. However, there are more popular destination sites than mine for "immortal game" searches which explains why it doesn't appear in the top ten list on Keyword Spy.

I think the keywords that I "own" in the number one spot are sort of a interesting grab bag. The Empire Troubadour, for example, is a (now antique) high end turntable that my private eye protagonist August Riordan has in his apartment. It's described on the Stereo Equipment page of the August's World section of my site.

Sylvia Lennox is a character from Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye, a novel that I discuss in an essay called "Writing the Long Goodbye."

891 Post Street is the address for the apartment that Dashiell Hammett lived in when he wrote The Maltese Falcon. On my website, I provide a sort of guided tour for the apartment from the time when it was dedicated as a literary landmark.

It's also interesting that the one keyword that I might expect my site to be the premiere destination for--Mark Coggins--has actually been usurped by another website. Check out this chart of the "competitors" for the Mark Coggins keyword:

Yep, it's the book scanning site of Google. I've always been very ambivalent about Google's book scanning project and this only drives home the point. They are, in effect, driving traffic and generating ad revenue as a result of posting content created by me without my permission. Furthermore, since they control the order of search results they serve up (on their search engine at least), they can and do give the Google Books results a primo spot.

I guess it's a good thing they recently settled a class-action lawsuit with the Author's Guild. I'm still grumpy about it, though.