Leaking Water Line Twitter Hiatus–Part Two

A leaking water line had led to a hiatus in my Twitter activities; here’s more of the story:

The leak-finder recommended by our plumber arrived on a sunny Saturday morning in a large, very clean, white truck. He was all smiles. He took out two black plastic suitcases and set them on the lawn. I retold him the story of the leak up to that moment – including about the large water bill, the call to the water company, the water company men checking the meter and telling me I had a big leak, and calling the plumber, who recommended him.

He checked the water valve. “Wow,” he said, “You’ve got a big leak, but I’ll find it.” He asked me whether we had metal or plastic pipes. I didn’t know. The line was put in long before we bought the house.

He surveyed the length of the line from the valve to where it connected to the house – probably 50-60 feet. He cocked his head and listened for a sound only he could hear.

“What’s in the black suitcases?” I asked. “My equipment,” he said. “Don’t worry, I’ll find your water leak.”

I asked him if he’d been a plumber before becoming a leak finder. He shook his head. “I was a bartender,” he said, and then he told me the story of the black suitcases and how he became a leak finder.

He had a surfing buddy who worked part-time as a plumber’s helper. One day his buddy was out on a job when a leak finder was brought in. The man arrived with two black suitcases, and proceeded to locate the leak in less than an hour and charged 3 times the hourly rate that the plumber received.

Although he wanted to know more, his buddy didn’t want to ask the leak finder too many questions and jeopardize his job with the plumber. So he memorized the name of the company embossed in the sides of the two black suitcases.

Later the two friends were sitting around watching TV, drinking beer and discussing how easy leak-finding appeared to be. They decided to get their own black suitcases with the magical leak finding equipment and go into business.

When they finally located the company that made the equipment, they ordered two sets. “Two sets,” the man on the other end of the phone line had said. “That’s fine. They cost $30,000 a set. How would you like to pay?”

The bartender and his friend sucked in air, and told the man they’d better put the order on hold for awhile – neither of them had any where near $30,000. But now they had a dream of improving their lives and their incomes, and a new goal to put together $30,000 and buy a set of the black suitcases.

Eventually they had the money, and the two buddies became partners and began to work with local plumbers to find water leaks. They were busy – all the time. They made enough money to buy a second set of the black suitcases, and new trucks, homes and many other things.

Later on they decided to go their separate ways – and there’s been enough business in the area to support them both.

That was the story the leak finder told me as he assembled his equipment and began to probe the ground with a long needle-like tool as he listened through the headphones attached to the probe for our leak.

First he determined that we had plastic pipe. He forced air into the line and began to probe around the stump of a fig tree. He occasionally pulled the headphones off when a car or truck drove by. “Too noisy,” he said. “I can hear the sound of the tires as they go by.”

He stuck the probe into the area near the fig tree stump and listened and smiled. He whipped the headphones off and proclaimed. “That’s it,” pointing at the probe sticking out of the grass in the last place he jammed it.

He went back to his truck and got a can of white spray paint, removed the probe and sprayed the grass. He placed his equipment back in his black suitcases. “Tell the plumbers to call me before they start digging,” he said.

It was over in less than an hour. I held the yellow copy of the bill and my check book. And yes, I had paid him about three times the hourly rate the plumber would charge.

Now I knew where I had gone wrong in choosing a profession. If only I had known about the two black suitcases and the magical equipment they contained.

The plumber came on Monday; but that part of the story awaits the next installment.

Leaking Water Line Twitter Hiatus–Part One

I was teaching myself how to use Twitter and other social networking when I got my water bill for the previous two months. The bill was much larger than I expected. I hadn’t been doing any watering this winter, and yet the bill was nearly $40 more than the same period the previous year.

I called the water company. They would send someone out the next day to check the meter. It rained all day, and I had jury duty. I wasn’t called to be on a panel, but I was butt-tired from sitting in a large room with all those other potential jurors where I saw lots of iPads, iPods, Kindles and laptops as I sat reading my old-fashioned, analog paperback book.

I got home just as two men from the water company arrived to inspect my water valve. “Wow!” they said, “You’re using about a gallon of water every 10 seconds!” No water was running in the house at the time. “Wow!” they said, “You’ve got a major water leak. Do you want us to turn off your water?”

What an option – no running water in the house until I could have the leak found some where along 50 feet of line and fixed.

So the water stayed on. With my under-water, jury-duty-addled brain, what other choice could I make?

I called the plumber I’ve used for other problems next and told him the story so far. He said I needed to hire a leak-finder and gave me the names of two. “Do they fix the leak?” I asked, in my naivety. “No,” the plumber said. “They just find the leak and then we come and fix it.”

So I called the first leak-finder; he said he’d come on Saturday.

You’ll find out what happened next in my next post.

Reynold Akison

Who do you follow on Twitter?

Okay, you’re an enovelist. You’ve got novels published on Amazon and Smashwords. You’re social media literate. So who do you follow on Twitter? Can you please share your list?

So maybe you’re not an enovelist, but you’re a creative artist – a musician, a songwriter, a visual artist, a poet, a movie maker, in other words, you make something and often share what you make with others – so who do you follow on Twitter?

Next question: maybe you’re not a creative artist, but you’re active in social media, besides friends and former classmates and workmates, who do you follow and why?


You can follow me on Twitter: @ReynoldAkison
Reynold Akison – enovelist

Ideas Are Easy; Marketing is Hard

I know it’s a big jump from the idea for your novel to marketing your finished book, but marketing your book once you’re finished writing is something you need to keep in mind – I wish I had. You see, I’ve got three enovels – Insure to Murder, Death of a Guru, and Not Just A Girl – languishing in cyberspace because I didn’t start marketing those novels until after I had written them and published them at Amazon and Smashwords.

My mistake. Experienced enovelists suggest that you think about marketing your books before you finish writing them – as if you didn’t have enough do and to think about. In other words, think about how you’ll market your enovel along with creating your book’s characters, story and plot.

Like I said, I waited until I had published, not one, but three enovels before I’ve really gotten started with my marketing efforts. I wanted to write the novels, and I had the energy, the ideas, characters and time, so I forged ahead.

Yes, I built this Word Press blog site as the home base for my fiction writing and “collected works” and to provide a platform from which to communicate about my books and what I was doing as an enovelist. But I had never blogged before and didn’t have any idea what to write about. So this is a work-in-progress.

Let me clarify my title: finding ideas to use as a basis for a story of whatever length has been easier for me (and maybe for you?) then learning how to be a consistent online marketer of my work.

But now I have embarked on an educational program that I hope will to teach me how to market my books online with your help. My intention is to share what I’m learning about marketing online through this blog. I would hope you will share what you’ve learned too and/or ask questions.

Right now I assume the popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter will play the biggest part in my online marketing education. It would be swell if you would like to share what’s worked for you on those sites.