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...


Stacey Cochran said...

Hey JA, great post as always. Love the photos.

For years, my mantra has been that TV and film is the way to bestsellerdom. And so I think developing some film editing chops is wise.

Think about the authors you know who are super-star bestsellers. I mean, the top 10 money earners of like the past two decades.

All of them have had significant television and movie exposure.

My belief?

Anything an author can do to encourage that relationship will serve them.

Speaking of which...

Have you seen my interview with another "J.A."-named author?

Would love to have you down to Raleigh for an interview sometime...

MontiLee Stormer said...

Personally, I'm dropping MySpace. Facebook isn't far behind.

MySpace is turning into one big troll pot and I'm noticing that the artists, entertainers, writers, etc. that have pages them don't maintain them. I don't want to have several hundred friends and have to wade through several thousand bulletins looking for an announcement about a siging or a new book, or a new album.

I'll use them as static pages to direct then to my website, but there is such a hassle in weeding out spambots and deleting comments. I don't want to know what I'm worth, I'm not a pet, and if I get one more vampire meme, there will be serious trouble.

I wish there was a Facebook app for people who aren't interested is filling our memes or taking quizzes. Let me post my news, comment back to a few people who have made the effort to comment on a fun wall, or whatever, and make a few friends.

I appreciate the freeness of it socail networks, but I can't spend all day cleaning those two pages up. I have my own (paid for)pages to maintain.

Anonymous said...

JA, if you haven't done it yet you can add your book widget to your Facbeook profile - just proceed to the install screen via the widget's menu and click on the Facebook icon.

Anonymous said...

Joe, the venue (video) is fine, but what was the message you were trying to convey? What was the thing of substance that you gave to the people who spent a minute or so of their time? I watched the video and at the end thought, "The joke was on me."

JA Konrath said...

what was the message you were trying to convey?

The videos I've posted are there to entertain and to inform.

The book trailer is meant to illicit a smile, and perhaps a thought that if his trailer is this goofy, perhaps his books are as well.

Natalie Hatch said...

Why not create a Wiki page for Jack Daniels, you're sure to get some crossover traffic from those looking up the beverage *g*

Roman J. Martel said...

As a writer just starting out with getting my name out there, I've found MySpace to be really helpful. I started my blog there and got quite a few readers. Now that I've branched out with my blog I feel pretty good that it is appealing to readers.
I'm interested in looking into Facebook as well. Keep us posted on how that works out for you!

Anonymous said...

In virtually every case bestsellerdom comes before TV/film exposure, not afterwards. If you're not yet a bestseller, TV is not interested in you. (Except maybe for some lame public access crap that nobody watches.) Granted, if you can sell a book that gets turned into a major Hollywood film, that could put you on the list. But that's not really a goal; more a dream.

Jude Hardin said...

I got my copy of Fuzzy Navel in the mail yesterday. Thumbing through it, I counted eight separate POV characters (for those unfamiliar with the format, each chapter is headed by a time and the name of that chapter's POV character, rather than Chapter One, Chapter Two, etc.). Eight would normally seem excessive, especially for a book this size, and one would tend to think that too many cooks might spoil the thriller. But I'm sure you managed to pull it off. Would you say it's "experimental" in a way? Anyway, looking forward to diving in.

Also, I couldn't find any trade journal reviews on the Amazon page. What's up with that?

JA Konrath said...

Fuzzy Navel is in real time, has many different POVs, two of them first person. Dunno what's up with Amazon, Jude, but it was reviewed in all the usual spots.

POV and structure are there to serve the story. In Fuzzy Navel, I used them because there was a lot going on in a small amount of time, and I went wherever the action was happening.

JA Konrath said...

And speaking of my current widget addiction, at the bottom of the right column there's now a widget that shows where in the world visitors are coming from. How cool is that?

Barbara Martin said...

A writer has to make an effort to market their books in a cost effective manner. If Facebook and Myspace work for you, great. Myself, I have enough work cut out for me just posting on my blog, writing my draft bits for my work-in-progress and dealing with day to day things outside writing.

Although I like your recommendations about trailers and videos.

J.J. Hebert said...

Yeah, Friendblaster Pro is great for a few months. Until enough people mark your comments as spam and then MySpace decides to "suspend" your account. Be careful, JA, using bots is a violation of MySpaces' terms and conditions, and they do not ask before suspending accounts. I should know. It happened to me. By the way, I was one of the users lucky enough to receive one of your promotional comments. In fact, the comment led me here. So, yeah, I guess it worked!

JA Konrath said...

Welcome, JJ.

I use Friendblaster in moderation. So far, two years and no banning. :)