Saturday, November 02, 2019

The Next Big Thing

We writers are always getting hit on the head about the need for marketing. You can't turn around without tripping on yet another promotional idea that you must try. Fundamentally we want to reach new readers while keeping in touch with our stalwart fans. To that end, over the years different platforms and venues have come and gone. I cringe when I see my first promotional attempts on the Internet because they list my contact info on Myspace. How's that for dated? Back then, my agent was constantly browbeating me to find new fans on Myspace and get my titles and name out there. About the same time a group of urban fantasy writers that I belonged to, The League of Reluctant Adults, was all set to launch our blog. It was supposed to be a sophisticated operation with fan forums for every member. Then Facebook came along and Myspace sank faster than the Titanic. Few of our fans stuck with the League of Reluctant Adults and through an unspoken consensus, we contributors abandoned ship. The blog remains in cyberspace like a derelict Flying Dutchman.

Another promotional shtick was the infamous book trailer. I remember my agent and editor at the time breathing down my neck for a book trailer.  Since most book trailers were lucky to get a hundred views, I tried something different. My son Emil is a talented stop-motion animator and we collaborated on two Lego trailers, Vampire Lego Movie and Jailbait Zombie, the latter of which includes a cameo of me. Each accumulated over 150K views, which is far better than average for a book trailer. But did those views translate into sales? A tiny bit, perhaps.

Some of my writer friends tried engaging fans through video blogs but those didn't gain traction. Talking about writing and presenting book reviews in video format wasn't very appealing unless you had a compelling presence across many other interests.

Currently, Facebook is my primary means of reaching out to fans. I post my appearances at cons and pimp whatever new work I or fellow writers might have. When Twitter began I spent time there but didn't get much attention. Today I only visit Twitter about twice a week. My account on Instagram stalled because of the constant need for new visual constant and I couldn't keep up. Venues like Snapchat I haven't bothered with.

Ironically, some writer buddies have pulled back from their social media platforms. Online discussions have devolved into political flame wars about pretty much everything and those can suck the life out of your day. Plus, you can get tossed into Internet jail for violating "community standards," whatever those happen to be at the time. And sadly, many of my women writer friends have shut down their accounts because of stalkers and harassment.

So what will be the new thing? I knew you would ask. Here's my learned opinion. I dunno.

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