Friday, March 18, 2016

"If you build it..." - Not

Begin Rant

I am the first to admit that I am lacking marketing skills. I used to work for a Radio Shack way back when, and found that if the people came to me, I could sell to them.

But selling books and websites are not quite the same thing as having a physical location and having products that people want to buy.

In other words, marketing is about shoving things down people's throat until they buy what you have to sell. But I'm not like that.

So far the best I can manage is to put out posts in Facebook and Twitter, which are conveniently linked, and hope someone notices. The first time I ran a free Kindle book promotion, I 'sold' hundreds of copies of 'Theater Boy.' I was very pleased. I ran those promotions regularly with all my books, and slowly the numbers are dwindling.

What I'm trying to say is: I can't even give my books away. Is this a testament to the Amazon.com promotional system? Perhaps others have taken advantage of this to the point where the market is saturated with free books and my own books get lost in the ocean of books that Amazon lists.

Making it as an author in the digital age has proven to be harder than I thought. And the biggest problem is that even when someone buys my books, they rarely leave reviews. I'm not the type to pay someone to review my product, and even if I did, Amazon is becoming better at sniffing the culprits out.

I'm a man of great potential and imagination, but also limited means. I can't afford to hire a publicist. So what am I to do?

I could pull a stunt to get noticed and in the mad rush of the press to interview me as to why I pulled the stunt, I could mention that I have several books available. It would have to be the kind of stunt that grabs the eye of the media, even for a brief moment. Lord knows there's a lot of people whose videos of doing stupid things go viral. I'll be the first to admit I've done stupid things. I'm in the process of finishing a task that a fair amount of people would call stupid, but it's not so stupid as to garner the attention I need.

Let me go off on a tangent for a second to say I do not crave attention. I just want people to read and like my books enough to want to tell other people. I'd be happy just writing and publishing like I have been and letting the readers fall where they may. But there's a part of me that's not satisfied with that. In other words, my creative side is at war with my introverted side.

Getting back to the crazy stunt, what sort of stunt grabs the eyes of the media? Looking at CNN.com as I'm writing this: I could launch a missile. I could yell and scream my way into the Presidential debates. I could escape from jail or prison, but I'd have to do something worthy of going to jail in the first place. Hey, there's another crazy thing I could do.

Or I could die.

But I'd have to either be famous in the first place or die in such an unusual way that I garner attention.

Relax, I'm in no hurry to make a spectacle of myself.

At one point in my life, I traveled the East Coast making videos of everywhere I'd been. You can see the resulting videos on youtube. Every now and then one of them gets a hit. I still get regular hits on videos I made in 2012: How to win playing Sudoku, and a video where I show how to work with a portable washer.

But the idea was to capture a video that would go viral and make some money, at a time when I had no regular income. The money altogether too soon ran out and that idea fizzled.

I still make videos and post them to youtube, but they're gaming videos, and my skills are such that I'm not likely to go viral anytime soon. But the time to renew that concept of traveling and making videos might be returning. I just need to make sure that every video description has a link to my books. Hmmm, there's an idea.

End Rant