All the blog articles about how to market your self published literary efforts tell me I should collect emails and put them in a list. And all these blogs ask me for my email, sometimes in the form of an annoying popup. I always refuse, because (a) I’ll get more spam; and (b) potentially they’ll sell their list to other spammers. I already get plenty of email spam, thank you, and I curate it pretty heavily to keep it from increasing. Maybe you feel similarly. Also, it may be my subjective impression, but email feels old and dated next to newer forms of spamming such as Facebook and Twitter.
I have Facebooked in the past, and I’ve got a few people friended on my Charon Dunn Facebook now, but I’ve been slow about getting my page in gear. I know how to Facebook, but I’m not sure it’s a good marketing vehicle for me, and therefore I haven’t invested any time in it. Send me a friend request if you want to encourage me to get moving, and maybe I'll end up echoing my blog posts there or something similar.
I don’t like Twitter at all. Odd, because I used to thrive on quick messageboard one-liners – I think I burnt out on that kind of thing years ago. Twitter is too prone to misinterpretation and drama and wackiness for my taste so I try to stay away.
In fact, I don’t really like advertising at all. Advertising is your friend’s toddler that keeps interrupting your conversations with shrieks of “look at me!” Advertising is the cat meowing in the hall at three in the morning. Advertising is the blister on your toe that only hurts every fourth step, the infected hangnail you suddenly notice when it comes in contact with lemon juice, the headache that shoots up the pain scale whenever you bend forward. Yeah, okay, you got my attention (sigh) -- let’s get this interaction over with, fast.
Naturally, as a hater of advertising, my marketing activity ideas are colossally stupid. Such as:
Get a con booth but don’t have any physical copies of books, and just keep a few fliers in the back and some art. Instead, put branding on guitar picks, give them away free, and sell $20 ukuleles to go with them.
Put branding on toys such as yo yos, hacky sacks and beach balls, distribute gratis to convention attendees’ kids so they’ll have something to do while their boring parents paw through tables of reading material.
Laser print branding onto cupcakes and chocolate bars, undercut Aramark. Alternatively, stencil it onto apples, pears, oranges and starfruit. Print it on packets of trail mix and mint gum. Nourish those conventioneers, and freshen their breath!
Get a freakishly large cat and try to make it virally famous. End up falling in love with it and respecting its wishes to never leave the house or ride in a car again.
Ideally my own advertising should be as unpolished, homegrown and anticorporate as possible. It should be so clumsy and amateurish that potential adblockers can see it coming a mile away. It should involve getting people to particulate in some healthy, joyous activity that has nothing to do with me – with my branding sitting around just as an afterthought reminder. My theoretical cult following would be enthusiastically receptive, but everyone else would be immediately notified it’s just me, so they can alt-F4 (or physical equivalent) right away.
Harvesting your email is not fun. And given the sheer amount of brainpower and moneypower that’s being invested in marketing right now, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance of a better marketing vehicle than email popping up in the near future.
Until then, I’ll keep the blog antics going.