Thursday, October 2, 2008

It makes the world go round

Love? Sex? Food? Money? Music? Beer?

All those things could be said to make the globe spin, but if there's one thing that really does make it go around ... alack and alas, it's advertising.

Speaking purely personally, I've never liked advertising. It always seemed so intrusive. There you were, seated in your chair in front of the TV, age 11-and-a-half, lusting furiously over the hunk in the loin cloth ... Tarzan, on the tube at 6:30 every Saturday evening ... and every ten minutes some moron comes on, trying to sell you washing powder and spaghetti and toilet paper. Talk about a passion killer. A psychiatrist would probably diagnose my profound dislike of advertisements as an incurable case of telehunkus interruptus which may or may not be contagious.

So, when it comes to actually DOING the advertising, I've always been reluctant. Not that I'm commerciophobic or anything genuinely traumatic. I just don't like advertising intruding on my personal world -- and at the same time I'm about to foist it on others.

It's like loathing mushy peas with a passion beyond the bounds of mortal sanity, and then not only putting on your gumboots and physically wading in oozing great lakes of the things (god, what a thought; swap the gumboots for hip-waders -- quick), but grabbing a handy funnel and force-feeding them to other people.

The whole idea is a major turn-off ... and you probably noticed, my pages were the last bastions of ad-free space on the Internet! Eventually, even I gave in -- though not for the revenues raised by putting ads on the pages. Google pays less than a penny for a click on an ad on a gay-friendly page (five clicks gets you 3c ... cute). But when you have the ads pasted to your page, the googlebot comes visiting literally every day -- meaning, you get indexed pronto.

Okay, all right ... advertising makes the whole damned world spin on its axis, and nothing much of anything tends to succeed without it. God knows, they advertise Coke and McDonald's. They even advertised The Dark Knight. And chocolate. And if it were legal, you know they'd advertise performance-enhancing drugs, so ...

What the hey? Like the commercial says, just do it.

So ... we did. Or, we are, even as I write this. The advertising for the Keegan list has been in design for about a year and a half, and we've been "almost ready" to do it for about twelve months! We're, uh, there at last. There's a whole swag of little bitty ads, like the ones on this page; and they'll start appearing on blogs and other assorted pages right across the web, in the next couple of days. Time to get on with it, get this show on the road.

One might wish that good books sold themselves, but they don't. I was just saying, a few days ago, that bestsellers are not actually written; they're hyped into being. There are fantastic books languishing in slush piles, or in office drawers; there are wonderful books which were given a microscopic printrun twenty years ago, and haven't been heard from since -- and won't be heard from again, unless the author gets his/her finger out and organizes a small-circulation reprint -- because things are getting tough in retail, and new product can't take the competition from old stuff. Well, not front and center on the bookstore shelves, anyway.

So, without further ado: let's take this advertising thing for a spin and see what happens. Me? I'd love to give up the day job and write full time. I have at least 40 more novels to write, and at the rate I'm going, I'll finish the last one about the time they wheel me out the door feet first, in a box.

(People think you can work all day and write in your spare time -- nope. A day's toil dries up your creative juices; you're mentally too tired to write, even if you have the energy ... and if you do a hard job ...!) In the last few years I've been managing a book s year, and have been patting myself on the back for the effort. However -- I could write two. I could even write three. If the day job goes bye-bye.

So, for the last couple of weeks I've been helping DreamCraft to hammer out a campaign based around something called a "landing page." Makes sense. This is what folks land on, after clicking on an ad they saw on a page waaaaay out there, far far across the web. Now, I've never liked the whole concept of landing pages (because they exist to sell, sell, sell), but the web marketing gurus swear up and down they work.

Ours is a whole lot less obnoxious than the majority you'll see out there:

And when the prospective customer has made the decision to investigate further and maybe buy a book, they click through from the above page to this one --

-- which is MK's One-Stop-Shop.

Oh...kay. We're online, everything looks good and seems to work just fine. This is the point where fresh eyeballs come in very handy, so I'm soliciting for a favor from readers! Can you click through to those pages and let me know what you think of them? Just quick impressions. You can leave a message here, or on the website, or even off the pages themselves. Your thoughts will be greatly valued.

And if you can't stand advertising, let me assure you, I'm in complete agreement, and have been since the age of 11, when some blithering idiot would come on the TV, drivelling on about utterly unimportant things, like food, and cars, and clothes, when Tarzan was supposed to be flexing his muscles all over the same screen between 6:30 and 7:30. (If you think I'm kidding, look to your left. I had hellaciously good taste when I was 11.)

However -- it's probably in your best interests if you bear with me about the commercialization, because if I get to write full time, there'll be a lot more novels on the Keegan list! And it comes down to the double-edged sword of advertising.

At last we're launching the campaign ... and here's hoping!


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