Here’s an interview between a new author and an advisor on the dark arts of digital marketing. I first posted this interview on another writers forum. When I first published it here I was inundated with spam emarketing, so I removed it to stop the tidal wave of rubbish. No doubt it’ll all start again, but more fool them.

Note: any resemblance to persons living or dead or like me are purely coincidental.

Okay, I’ve written a novel, I’d like to publish it myself as an ebook. How do I drum up awareness?
That’s easy.

Oh, great.
You harness the power of social media and the internet.

Okay. Go on.
First, get the word out to friends and family.

Family?
You have got a family, haven’t you.

Well, the ones that aren’t dead are very old. So there’s not much support there.
Okay, but you have friends?

Yes, but they don’t read this kind of fiction.
What about your friends’ friends?

They don’t read this kind of fiction.
Right, so what you’re saying is you need to generate a grassroots following from nothing?

Other than me, yes.
Well, that’s easy. You harness the power of social media and the internet.

Sounds good. Go on.
You need a WordPress blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook profile with a fan page, oh and a Youtube account.

Youtube?
Yes, to make a video for your Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

Who am I? Bruno Mars?
No, people prefer to see a real face before they hand over their money.

Oh, okay. We’ll come back to that one. Twitter?
Yes.

Well, go on, you’re the expert.
You spread the word, promote the novel by tweeting to your followers.

How do I attract these followers.
By tweeting.

But without followers no one will hear the tweets inviting people to follow me.
Well then you should retweet tweets by people with lots of followers.

And who’ll see my retweets?
Your followers.

But I haven’t got any followers yet.
You’re being awkward now. You need to engage people by giving them rich content, look at what’s trending, follow the most popular hashtags, reply to people.

Like who?
Like famous people with millions of followers.

Such as?
Er… Eric Robson.

Eric Robson! From Gardener’s Question Time?
It’s popular. You need to focus on your target audience and focus on where they hang out. So, instead of Eric Robson a celebrity who has followers closer to your novel’s demographic.

And their followers will all start following me then, will they?
They might do. It takes time.

How long?
How old are you?

Okay what about WordPress?
Right, again, plenty of content so that you’re followers will keep coming back.

What followers?
Oh, god! Use keywords, comment on their blogs, like them, follow them.

And they’ll start commenting and following me?
That’s the theory.

What if they don’t? What if the only people who want to follow me have blogs about making three thousand pounds in a fortnight, it worked for them, it’ll work for me.
I’d ignore those. Look if one person tells two others about your blog, and those two others tell two others, within twelve days you’ll have 216 648 followers.

See this expression? It’s called doubt. Any more bright ideas? What about this Facebook malarkey? I suppose I need to attract friends and followers and likes by providing rich content and following others and commenting on and liking their timeline?
You’ve got it. See, you didn’t need me after all.

But I’ve done that once when I was trying to promote some music.
And what happened?

My one follower changed his name and disappeared off the internet. No one heard from him for two years.
The more active you are on other people’s timelines the more they’ll be active on yours.

How come all these popular johnnies aren’t trying to promote themselves by commenting on my timeline and liking my content and following me?
Because they don’t know you’re there.

How do I make them aware… no, don’t answer that. You mentioned Kickstarter and raising money. How does that work?
You tell people what you want the money for, they give you a pre-arranged sum for which they get something in return.

Like a receipt?
No, not a receipt, like an ebook, or a mug, a tee shirt. The more they give the bigger the reward.

But it doesn’t cost anything to publish an ebook.
Conversion of the manuscript to eformat…

There’s free software that does that.
Cover artwork…

I’m a designer.
You’ll want a marketing budget?

Eh?
Well it’s bloody obvious you can’t do this on your own.

Oh, okay, point taken. So how do I raise awareness of the fundraising campaign?
Simple. You harness the power of social media and the internet. What’s your novel called anyway?

Fifty Shades of Green. It’s about what goes on during the night shift at Dulux.

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10 thoughts on “The infinite emarketing loop

  1. I love this! I feel like murdering somebody when I hear those glib expressions like ‘harnessing the social media’, ‘making email lists’, ‘leaving an SEO footprint’. I’m a writer not a tech geek. The other point these advisors never mention is that they are giving the same recipe for success to everyone—from Stephen King to our cat. What works for Stephen King I can guarantee will not, in a million years, work for Trixie. She can’t even spell!

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    • ‘… will not, in a million years, work for Trixie. She can’t even spell!’ That isn’t a barrier to some people.

      One of the annoying things about all this advice is the bit about SEO. Do this, do that to get your stuff to the top of the search engine lists. Toten Herzen, the subjects of my novels, are all over the search engine rankings without any effort on my part, but ask someone how I take advatage of all that and they’re clueless. It’s modern day snake oil selling.
      Chris

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