from Emily Bryan...
Sometimes, you don't have to be the best. Being the worst will also get you attention on the web. That happened this week with the new website of Carina Press author Susanna Fraser.
It's a tongue-in-cheek site, purportedly thrown together by her long-suffering husband. It's lack of design is stunning. The content is hilarious for its very awfulness (for example: Here's her email. You should spam it.)
But it's not enough just to be terrible. You have to be conspicuously terrible. The site went viral on Twitter. It was bad enough to garner the attention of Barbara Vey--the PW Blogger, who posted about it (like I just did) and invited her readers to laugh along with her. And subsequently drove tons of traffic to Ms. Fraser's website.
Will this non-website sell books? Probably. Any publicity is good publicity and the site's sorry appearance does draw people to it, sort of like a traffic accident causes lookie-loo slowdowns. It works, after a fashion.
And makes me feel really silly for obsessing over updating my website, though I did appreciate the help I received from readers in deciding on the final color scheme. And don't get me started about the money I'm getting ready to spend on having pros redesign the site for my new pen name Mia Marlowe (I have a homegrown site now, though it's not as stunningly awful as Susanna Fraser's and therefore, probably not as effective! I'll let you be the judge.)
But websites aren't the be all and end all of marketing. Word of mouth is still the gold standard. A couple weekends ago, my DH and I visited Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA. The collection of medieval artifacts includes an impressive armory and a claymore as long as my DH is tall. While we were looking at the display, I fell into conversation with a lovely lady from Pennsylvania. The claymore reminded her of Jamie Fraser and she launched into raptures over Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.
An author pens a story so engrossing, her readers feel compelled to talk about it to total strangers. Forget about websites. That's powerful marketing.
Have you ever recommended a book to a friend? A stranger? What was it and what about the story that made you feel the need to share it?
Friday, August 27, 2010
from Emily Bryan...