Small Press Story #9: Volvos by Frederick Su

bytewrite LLC is the publisher of An American Sin, about an Asian American and Vietnam. In the novel, David Wong’s Volvo breaks down on the freeway outside Missoula, MT. This actually happened to me and my wife when we were moving from Kalamazoo, MI, to Seattle. So, I incorporated that breakdown into the story, having Wong meet the fictional representation of one of the pivotal heroes of the Vietnam War, the guy who saved civilian lives at My Lai.

“One December, our 1987 740 Turbo Volvo station wagon died. Its death was a great mystery. What killed it?” So begins my humorous article, “Can an Ex-Physicist Fix His Volvo No-Start?” available at www.stepbystepvolvo.com. It took me six weeks to diagnose and fix the car, in the middle of winter. I grew as a backyard mechanic. And, I decided to turn that knowledge and experience into the aforesaid website to help do-it-yourself Volvo mechanics. There was a need for it because so many manuals leave out critical steps and rarely produce good troubleshooting procedures.

Is there a return? If the self-help documents have saved people money (do you know the cost of professional mechanics these days?), I ask for a donation of $4-$6, depending on the topic. At the same time, I make a pitch for them to buy my novel at a 20 percent discount. I have also signed up for Google Adsense. No, I’m not making much money, but I’m having fun getting the word out about me and my novel in a guerrilla marketing sort of way at almost no cost. Participating in Volvo chatrooms, where I’ve been promoted to “Senior Member,” I’m getting more hits per day on my stepbystepvolvo site than on my An American Sin site, www.bytewrite.com.

People want to save money, and learn.