Saturday, October 10, 2009

Promotion in the Most Unexpected Places

Two promotion stories- one short, one long, but both, hopefully, interesting.

I was supposed to attend a continuing legal education seminar today on identity theft. I have this horrible cough and didn't want to disrupt the entire class, so I emailed the administrator to see if I could switch my registration to a different course next month.

She emailed me back with the new registration and said no problem. Then I got an email from Paypal with the administrator's name, saying I had money in my account. I was confused for a moment, and then realized she had purchased a signed copy of Gumbo Justice from my website.

The administrator had apparently purchased a copy because of my signature link. Being she is an administrator at the law school I attended, and the people she works with may have an interest in buying my book if they see hers, or if she likes it and tells them about it, she is a good contact to have made.

Second story-

While I was incapacitated for six months from a car accident in 2008, I wrote a screenplay. The screenplay is a science fiction, big budget monster called Angel Trap.

When it was finished, I entered it into screenplay contests that provided feedback, so that I could see what needed work. Based on critiques, I edited, and entered it in additional contests. It has done relatively well, placing as high as 1st runner up in an international contest, and making it to the quarter finals or higher in six other contests.

Somewhere between my original draft and my current one, there was a contest where it did not make the cut. I received the feedback, and although I agreed with the content, the manner in which it was given was sarcastic and condescending, and did not seem as if it was written to assist me in the editing process, but designed to entertain the reviewer.

I reviewed this particular contest on a website that provides information on screenplay and film contests. In my review, I mentioned that I did not disagree with the substance of the review, but with the presentation to me. I likened the reviewer to the chimps at the zoo who, when they realize zoo goers are watching them, throw their poop at them for entertainment.

What I didn't realize was that this particular website e-mails those reviews in a newsletter to anyone who signs up. The first review listed in the newest emailed newsletter was my poop-throwing analogy one.

Of course, I was a little amused, but also slightly horrified. I didn't mean for the world to see my review, only the people who specifically went to the website to see what that particular contest was all about. I had a little chuckle anyway and went about my life.

Fast forward to last week. The contest creator who critiqued me saw the review, and emailed me, apologizing that I felt it necessary to review them negatively. The email was a little in the sarcastic vein, but seemed genuine. The original reviewer said he re-read my script, and tried to clarify his criticism.

I emailed him back and reiterated I never had a problem with what he said, but the unprofessional manner in which he said it. I told him I did respect the fact that he followed up with me to attempt to rectify the situation, and I would do a follow up on the review site to let the readers know this. And I did.

I thought this would be the end of it, but his contest partner emailed me next. She said for my trouble, she would give me a complimentary entry into their next contest with another script. I emailed her back and thanked her, but told her I don't have another script, that was my first one and I was still in the editing process.

Now I'm about to get to the promotion part. She emailed me back and said she would hold her offer open for when I had another screenplay ready, or I could send them the edited version of Angel Trap and she would personally give me her unsarcastic opinion.

Then she said she noticed the link in my signature to my website, liked my website, and was going to check out Gumbo Justice.

These may only be two book sales, providing the second one even buys the book, but these were promotion opportunities I received without doing anything other than going about my normal business, and having a link to buy my book in my email signature.

While I would love to be one of those chart-topping book sellers, even they generally sell books only one at a time. I always wonder if it doesn't come across as show-offy to have the links in the signature. I'm still not entirely sure, but I guess I don't care as much if it garners sales.


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Amazing what can happen if you just put yourself out there.


Mike Orenduff said...

Two great stories. I sometimes think the best thing that comes from the Internet are not the blogs and reviews, but the resulting email exchanges. Thanks, Holli.