Tuesday, August 05, 2008

More On Net Promotion

I've found myself in an odd position this last week. I'm in between projects and have some free time, so I've been messing around with the Internet. After catching up on emails and link exchanges I've begun trying various short-term promo efforts and attempting to gauge their success rates.

Here are some things I've found.

Book Trailers - Four days ago I uploaded a book trailer I made for my latest Jack Daniels novel, Fuzzy Navel. You might want to reread the original blog post (from August 1) because I just added some thoughts to it. While I wouldn't call the trailer hugely successful, it's been seen several hundred times and I've gotten several dozen favorable responses on it. The trailer cost nothing to produce, and only took about an hour to shoot and edit, and right after posting here, on my website, and on MySpace and Facebook, my Amazon numbers spiked from 50,000 to 10,000.

Let me reiterate that Amazon doesn't sell that many books, so this uptick only accounted for a few extra sales. But these were sales I didn't have prior to the trailer, and they cost me nothing but a little time.

Videos also have a lobster trap effect---a lobster pot, left in the ocean, is an eternal killing machine. Lobster crawls in to get bait, dies, becomes bait for next lobster. A video can keep killing for years. My Hermes the Bat video has had thousands of hits, and I still get email about it on a regular basis.

My question for you folks is: Should I post this video on Amazon? Too silly and unprofessional, or irreverent enough to make some new fans?

For those who've never read it, my Amazon blog is HERE. It is viewable by anyone who looks at one of my books, and videos can be uploaded.

Facebook - I've begun to approach Facebook with the same verve I approached MySpace with a few years ago. This means that every day I'm inviting a few dozen people to befriend me, I'm replying to messages and email, and I'm adding to my profile so it isn't so bare-bones.

I confess I don't really "get" a lot of the Facebook standbys, like pokes and the many little applications, which seem a lot like passing notes in grammar school. But other people seem to dig it, and as writers we need to go where the people are. Like your website, your Facebook page should be sticky. This means you have things to offer rather than things to sell, and the two main things you can offer are information and entertainment.

I'll report on Facebook again in the upcoming weeks as I play with it .

MySpace - I'm really liking MySpace lately. Back when I first joined, I bought a program called Friendblaster Pro for a few bucks, which assists in sending out Friend Requests. Then the administrators got tough on spammers and began to force Captcha codes on bulk requesters, and I tapered off.

But the fact is, even with Captcha codes, Friendblaster is still much faster than adding friends one at a time. Plus, Friendblaster can also send out messages and comments in bulk.

In The Newbie's Guide To Publishing Book, in the Internet section, I listed a few of my MySpace bulletins. A bulletin is an post that is viewable by all of your friends. I've found them to be an effective way to get the word out about upcoming events or announcements.

But I believe that bulk comments are even more effective. When you leave a comment, it appears on your friend's page, for others to read and click on. This is like placing your ad on billboards across town, as many as 500 a day (the limit MySpace allows.)

Yesterday, as an experiment, I used Friendblaster to harvest the addresses of my friends who have commented on my MySpace page. Then I used Friendblaster to post this comment on their pages:

Just stopping by to say hi.

Okay, that's a big lie. I'm really sending you this because I want you and people who look at your page to buy my books.

There. I said it. You're just a cheap promo opportunity for me. I'm even using a bot to send out hundreds of these comments rather than taking the time to contact you personally.

But I also love you. A lot. You're my very favorite MySpace friend. Really. Thank you for being you.

My latest book is Fuzzy Navel.

I sent this out to 300 people. Took about an hour of sitting in front of the computer, occasionally punching in a Captcha code. My efforts resulted in over fifty comments and emails in reply, all favorable, and another spike in my Amazon numbers.

A huge success? No. But not bad for an hour of work, which wasn't really work because I was on the computer anyway.

Pictures - My website is currently being overhauled, and I was wondering what to do about the three pages of photos I have up there. The pages take a while to load, and I believe three pages is too many--my goal is to streamline my site and make it easier to navigate. So I bounced around the net and discovered www.Slide.com.

If you want to post pictures on your site, blog, MySpace, etc. this is the easiest way to do it. It's also free.

I'm going to pop this onto my website, along with another one that features all of my book covers, plus a viewer for my Youtube videos, a few Google videos of old college movie projects, and a Guestbook, also courtesy of Slide.com. So three pages of pics becomes a single multi-media page that actually loads quicker.

If you've found any cool or effective net promo ideas or gadgets, let me know...