Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fifty Shades of Sheep

Across the street from an Author's house there is a field of sheep. For the most part they stick together at the hay troughs but every now and then something catches the fancy of one or two and off they go.

On this day, it was a book. The story had caught on with a few members of the flock and they ran off to read it from cover to cover. After a short time, hearing the shrieks of glee, several others followed not wanting to be left out. Gradually, more and more of the flock trotted after them, curious as only sheep can be, until only handful of sheep were left near the hay trough.

One of them looked at the others and said "Maybe we should go along just to see what the fuss is all about."

"It is about a movie based on a book about a virgin who wants to be controlled by a billionaire who has issues."

"So it's a romance?"

"Only if you think control is romantic," bleated another. "The girl doesn't want to think and she doesn't have to with the billionaire."

"There must be more to it than that. They seem to think it's Important," insisted a third sheep. He rose up on his skinny legs trying to see over the billboards, television ads and commercial sex shops circling the flock.

"The author made millions and millions from the book and now millions more from the movie. That's why it is Important."

"Ah, so it is a Worthy Piece of Culture."

"The Media certainly think so and the Media are never wrong," intoned an older sheep.

"Then why do we not follow the others and get in on this party!" bleated one of the younger sheep, clearly chomping at the bit. "I, for one, do not like to Miss Out."

"By all means, go if you must. I, for one, have no trouble Missing Out," said one of the sheep who had joined the discussion late. "I Missed Out on Pet Rocks, Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle Me Elmo. I slept through Twilight and I forgot to turn up for Titanic. But go if you like. It will do you no harm."

"It will do you no good either but that never seems to enter into the equation," griped one of the quieter sheep of the flock.

"Oh, not this again," groaned the older sheep. "This Fad is no different from the days of the Roman circus. We survived that nonsense, we shall survive this."

"There were fewer of us then. It seems like it's much easier these days to fool all of the sheep all of the time."

"You are taking this far too seriously. It is only a movie. I am not going only because I don't like crowds."

One of the flock at the premiere had broken away and was careening toward them at a dangerous speed wearing a black silk mask. The Ewe skidded into them breathlessly. "The movie is even better than the book!" she gushed. "It is very naughty and we're all watching the naughtiness together so it doesn't feel like we're baaad. A documentary filmmaker said this is an insightful phenomenon; women are finally coming out of the closet about their sexuality."

One of the Ewes who had stayed behind rolled her eyes but did not comment for fear of being labelled a prude. She was a prude and she would admit it freely if prudery hadn't become a dirty word within the flock.

The young sheep bolted to his legs and gamboled off after the masked Ewe to catch the second showing of the movie.

The older sheep bent his rickety old legs and settled near the trough. "I suppose it'll be hours now before anyone shows up with anything nourishing for us to eat."

"Hours? It will be years before Culture recovers from this shock. Mark my words. Look at them. The sheer weight of their collective shades of wool has shifted the balance. No one will want to invest in the really nourishing hay after this."

"You are probably right," bleated the sheep who had joined the conversation late. "I found a patch of grass at the fringe of the field. I think I'll graze on that until the fuss dies down and things get back to normal around here."

The rest of the sheep settled near the trough of stale hay to wait for nourishing feed. Some continued to grumble but most were not at all surprised that a book about a girl who did not want to think had struck such a chord among sheep.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Introverted Author's Guide To Marketing

10 Tips to Flogging Your Books the Introvert's Way:

1) Read KBoards but never post. You don't have to. No one knows you're on the other side of the screen, snooping into the threads. You'll learn just as much and it's almost like being with people, only better.

2) Exercise. Pop a cassette tape into the old VCR--(yeah, you heard me)--and follow a work out led by a really cheerful, extroverted fitness leader. You'll kill two birds with one stone. A workout and socializing!

3) Email. No need to talk to anyone on the phone. Ever.

4) Write books.

5) Put the books on sale occasionally and advertise the sale at carefully chosen sites using this criteria: (a) they will accept your book (b) they offer a reasonable risk of recouping your investment (aka ROI) (c) they don't bug you to tweet stuff for them.

6) Work on improving your storytelling skills by writing more books.

7) Blog if you like it. I do.

8) Don't do anything that bugs you, makes you tense, grates on your nerves or is a time suck in the interest of "building a platform." Write books instead.

9) Do the activities you enjoy doing. I like giving readings where I can talk about the writing process, self-publishing or the writer's life. I'm not crazy about talking about the books themselves because I'm already removed from them by the time they come out. (Huh. Doesn't sound much like a reading. More like talking about books with wine involved....)

10) Join up with other writers when you foolishly commit yourself to hand selling at a fair or some other mad undertaking. You'll be less likely to hide out in the bathroom and therefore sell more books.

Bonus Tip: Write a bestseller and become a recluse.

Inspired by David Gaughran's book: "Let's Get Digital." Introverts need not fear the self-publishing marketing journey. Give it a read.

A big shout out to Draft2Digital for the free gift!