Monday, March 29, 2010

My Two Cents on Marketing Mad Poet Files

First, just a couple of quick thoughts. Mad Poet Files originally had two driving forces behind it.
1. I needed a way to get myself into and KEEP myself in the writing habit. A bi-weekly short story podcast does that. Making me come up with fresh content every other week keeps those writing synapses firing and fresh.
2. I planned on taking those stories, picking the best one and firing it off to the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest once a quarter. Quick aside: High Moon won an Honorable Mention my first try out of the gate, so that's encouraging. There's no guarantee that it's going to happen this time around, though. I don't see anything in the quarter that is quite at the quality level of High Moon. I've got two days to get a story in the mail to them (the contest runs quarterly), and it'll probably be No More Kings. We'll see.

But there's been this nagging thought in the back of my head that I could possibly start selling these stories.

I've been thinking about it since around episode 2, actually. My initial thought was to take the combined stories from the quarter, bundle them together, and sell them through Amazon's Kindle store. Then the brouhaha with MacMillan sort of blew up, and there was the iPad announcement, and there's a reluctance to selling stories that may or may not be all that great - adding to the noise rather than the signal.

Another Quick Aside - You people who are saying that there are too many people adding to the noise? That quality can't be found because it's being drowned out by tons and tons of crap? The ones making the implication that if everyone ELSE would just shut up, people could find YOUR wonderful content? Find your own way to make yourself too good, too important, too whatever to ignore. Or go jump in a lake. I can't afford the time or bandwidth to listen to you complain about other people's content drowning you out.

Anyway, back to what I was saying - some of my hesitation comes from outside sources, a lot of it, I realized, was giving myself an out due to my own lack of confidence in my work. I'm slowly losing that, but I'm also (hopefully) slowly improving, also.

The current scheme - selling the individual stories in e-format for $2.00 apiece - is sort of a stop-gap, while I try to figure out what ELSE to do. Besides writing more stories, of course. And I've got this idea.

Imagine for a moment, that you have an application on your phone - iPhone, Android, Blackberry, whatever. It feeds you the audio content for a podcast. It feeds you the video rants I occasionally do (man, I'm overdue for a rant). It has a button on it that allows you to immediately comment on the post you've just been listening to. Or to call a voice mail line and leave feedback. Or to buy a story for $1.99. Or to make a recommendation to anyone else in your contact list that they might enjoy the last post/story/rant. Or whatever else I come up with.

The place where this would make the most sense would be GSG. I can picture a big red button that says "HELP!", and having people send questions immediately to GSG that could be answered and posted in-app with an update, and everyone who has the app gets to see the question and the answer.

My immediate problem is that I don't have an Intel-based (or really, any form of) Mac to code on. I can learn the code. I just don't have access to the tool. Yet.

Meanwhile, video rants will be forthcoming. And I'm learning the ePub format so I can put out the best product I know how. I still need to learn how to put together an online store, but that's secondary to having a good product to sell there. Right now the best marketing tool I have is the content itself. Getting that into people's hands, figuring out how to better Connect with Fans, and give them a Reason to Buy is where I am now. And a lot of people are here with me. If I figure it out, you'll know.


  1. For what it's worth; there are a number of online "App Generator"s that allow you to build simple iPhone/Android/etc. apps. A quick search for that term, or "create iphone app" will give a plethora of inexpensive options.

    Naturally, you lose some control of what exactly the app will do, but it might be a good starter option and they are geared towards RSS content already.

  2. That's a good point, but it doesn't give me the kind of control I want, and it doesn't put me in a position to create this kind of service for other people who may be interested in it.
    I was talking to Brand Gamblin about it the other day - apps that would keep track of where you were in a book - serving you the audio version when you were driving, or switching to the text version if you were some place you couldn't listen, but you could read and you had a few minutes.`