You don't have to watch my granddaughter's first comedy video to understand this blog post, but it will help.
Well, okay. Watching the video won't help, but it's kind of fun, anyway.
This post is about bad choices. Specifically, bad marketing choices.
Two years ago, almost to the day, I wrote to John Kehne, author of the official website for December 21, 2012, asking if I could place an ad for Zinovy's Journey with him. It seemed like a great idea at the time. His site was about the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it and so was my book. People interested in that topic were already flocking to his website, even though the fateful end-of-time date was over two years away. He confirmed, in our e-mail correspondence, that his site was receiving, at that time, over 6,000,000 page hits a month!
That's a huge target audience.
Even considering that only a few of those six million readers would notice an ad, and not all of them would hit the view button, and even fewer would actually choose to buy the book, that's still a sizable market of potential buyers. I was excited about the possibilities.
I gave John Kehne my elevator pitch, and he seemed to think Zinovy would fit in with other products he was selling, so I stashed the idea away in my file of marketing ideas and plunged on with the publication process.
Now, two years later, the book is published and ready to sell. A few days ago, when I decided the time was right, I clicked into the 12/21/12 website and applied for a $150 banner ad. I'd already created a banner to the specs he required. I was ready to go.
But the timing was not so right after all.
The end of the world is now three months away.
The topic is hot, and getting hotter all the time.
And all the ad spaces in the website have been sold.
Now you might think, at this point, that my bad choice was to wait so long to place the ad. That was my first thought. But deeper in my consciousness an uncomfortable idea had been squirming around for quite some time.
Almost from the beginning, I'd wondered about the wisdom of advertising a book set at the time of the coming of God's rule on earth on a website that said the world would end on December 21, 2012, just because the Mayan calendar ended on that date.
In my author's notes in the book I say that anyone who predicts a specific time for the end of the world is either deceived or deceiving. Strange bedfellows, my book and the December 21, 2012 website.
Sometimes what looks like a good idea, from a human perspective, is not a good idea from God's. I believe my book has a future. I believe it will find readers. But I'm actually relieved this marketing door has slammed shut. There will be other ways to get the word out.
I suspect every writer is confronted with the temptation to prostitute her work, or herself, at some point in the process of writing, publishing and marketing a book. Perhaps at many points. What that looks like will be different for every person. What I might feel is prostitution might simply be good sense to someone else. But the issue needs to be considered, for every honest writer.
How much personal integrity am I willing to sacrifice to make my book a success?
We need to consider that what appears to be a very sensible idea could end up being a bad choice.