Tag Archives: FaceBook

A How-To Guide to Breaking the Code of Viral Book Promotion

Earlier today, I ventured a little bit further into the shady world of viral marketing than I’m usually accustomed to dealing with. I suppose, it was partly due to my having an idle sense of curiosity, but also it was borne of my interest in boosting sales of my self-published novel, Missing Zero, more generally.

So, anyway, as authors, we’re all called on to build platform. Or a following or a fan-base or whatever it is you want to call it. Which is why we now all have blogs and set up social media sites and frequent writers’ conferences etc. Basically, whether self-published or otherwise, the modern-day author is expected to become a brand, just like any other corporate entity, fighting over an ever-diminishing marketshare of readers.

Whatever. Ok, now, apparently, in the dirty-tricks world of viral-marketing there’s what is called “white hat” vs “black hat” marketing techniques. These terms are used to describe the different approaches, say, to such things as SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO being ultimately where you or your book ranks in other people’s google searches against you or your book’s name/title. Essentially, you want to be the first thing that pops up every time someone even just mentions the word google.

Like with most things, though, the way to achieve higher SEO rankings, for instance, can be realized through fair means or foul, and hence the terms “white hat” or “black hat”.

The same goes for most other aspects of book promotion. From blackmail through to shameless begging, you can bet every single author worthy of their moniker has donned a black hat in pursuit of increased exposure/sales, at least once (this week, if not this very day).

Hmm. Well, my “black ops” mission today revolved around a hundred or so QR (Quick Response) code stickers I printed out that were embedded with the URL address of where my novel is hosted at Amazon. NB If you’re not familiar with what a QR code looks like, I’ve attached below the one I’m using to promote the Missing Zero eBook hosted at Amazon.

The idea is that by scanning these codes with their smart phones, complete strangers are redirected to whatever web page you have specified on the QR code in question. In the main, corporations typically use these codes for promos and freebies, when they’re launching a new product.

You’ve probably seen QR codes on movie posters and information kiosks and the like. But increasingly DIY enthusiasts, like myself, are printing off their own “urban-guerrilla” versions of said codes.

In any event, by randomly sticking your own QR codes around interstate bus terminals or university campus cafeterias or sundry public thoroughfares, as I did today, you can virally promote virtually anything you choose. I felt like a veritable Johnny Appleseed, in fact, as I sprinkled the QR-coded seeds of my novel’s Amazon URL across the urban wasteland.

Of course, the beauty of a person being directed to the eBook version of your novel on their smartphone means they can then instantly also buy and begin reading said work of impure genius (namely, Missing Zero, in my case), in less than five minutes.

What’s equally amazing, though, is that you can actually scan the QR code at the bottom of this post right off the screen. That is, if you have a QR scan-reader app already installed on your phone. But don’t worry if you don’t, you can download plenty of free ones from the App Store (I’m talking to iPhone users, at this point).

But how cool is this? I have a 15-year-old fan of my Missing Zero Facebook page, who lives halfway across the world, in the UK. Anyhow, as a type of beta test, I asked him if he could scan the Missing Zero QR code I’d just uploaded to my Facebook timeline. And, you know what, within thirty seconds he’d sent me back a screen shot of the Amazon page the QR code directs to. The world suddenly seemed a whole lot smaller…

All right, so you want to see how this all works in action? Well, this is what you need to do: download a QR code-reader app to your smart phone (if you don’t already have one); then point your smartphone/QR scanner at the QR code attached below; then be astonished as you next find yourself at Amazon, looking at the Missing Zero eBook purchase/download prompt; and, then, finally, purchase the blessed masterpiece of outsider art, as you see fit! 😉

Go on, I dare you to give it a go…

20130606-205619.jpg

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The Writer’s Art and Learning How to Read People Like an Open Book

I had a brilliant exchange of ideas today, with a regular visitor to the Missing Zero Facebook page. Now, look, I know from reading other authors’ blogs here at WordPress a lot of you don’t know what Facebook offers. And usually I would wholeheartedly agree with you.

But recently I’ve started to get some good interactions happening. Sure, there’s still the odd, drunken interloper who types random, semi-coherent comments about all sorts of bizarre stuff. However, the slightly surreal nature of the Missing Zero page probably lends itself to these kinds of agents of chaos dropping by. My bad.

Anyhow, as I was saying earlier, this regular visitor to my Facebook site and I got into quite a prolonged exchange, whereby we ended up covering a whole range of different topics. Which got me to thinking about how, quite literally, everybody’s got a story to tell.

You see, the thing is, as writers, it’s easy for us to forget that telling stories is not the sole preserve of we wordsmiths alone. Everybody has something interesting to say, ultimately, sheerly by having experienced this precarious condition of what we term being alive.

For instance, this guy I was messaging backwards and forwards with began telling me about some experiences he’d had with the supernatural. I can’t divulge too much, unfortunately, because I haven’t okayed it with him first. Yet, let me just say, though, it was some pretty eerie and thought-provoking stuff. A messages-from-the-beyond type of thing. Believe me, it made the Sixth Sense seem like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Well, I was fascinated (if also a little spooked), and it struck me this guy’s story was better and more intriguing than anything I’ve ever read that dealt with similar topics. Essentially, I guess, it was a case of truth being stranger than fiction.

But the larger lesson, for me, I believe, was the realization that I need to look more to real life (and, in particular, at how real people tell the stories that make up their lives), as a way of learning more about the art of storytelling. Instead of reading yet another scholarly handbook on the writer’s craft, that is.

If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. Next time you’re thrown together with someone you don’t know, trust in the fact that they have, at the very least, one amazing story they’re just itching to tell you, should you only just let them. And take my word, it’ll be better than anything you could ever possibly come up with, even if you were somehow capable of channeling both Edgar Allan Poe and Dostoevsky simultaneously. Consider it my money-back guarantee!

A copy photograph of the portrait painted by O...

A copy photograph of the portrait painted by Oscar Halling in the late 1860’s of Edgar Allan Poe. Halling used the “Thompson” daguerreotype, one of the last portraits taken of Poe in 1849, as a model for this painting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


On Being Out of Sync With Synchronicity — The Perils of Hitchhiking on the Electronic Superhighway

So, here’s the thing, I’ve recently managed to establish contact with the intellectual grandsire of my novel, Missing Zero. I call this man my book’s grandsire, because it was his works on Jungian alchemy, in particular, that so deeply influenced me when I first started out to become a writer of surrealist fiction.

Anyway, I have been corresponding, over the past few months, with this man about his possibly writing a preface to my book. And, gods be praised, amazingly enough, he recently agreed to actually read my manuscript, in view of providing said preface. Hallelujah!

As an aside, let me add that I’m hoping, by adding a preface to my book, uninitiated readers will not confuse its contents as being some form of satanic scripture, but rather see it for what it is, namely, a satirical take on the moral catastrophe we call modern life. Trust me, it’s meant to be funny, as well as being subversive, and I ought to know because I wrote the bloody thing! Really, you wouldn’t believe the names I’ve already been called, in the course of promoting Missing Zero to the reading public. But enough!

Whatever. The actual problem right now is that I have since found it practically impossible to forward a copy of the manuscript to this man, Missing Zero’s intellectual grandsire.

It’s quite weird, in fact. I must have tried half-a-dozen different email addresses for him, so far. But, each time, without fail, my message bounces back, along with the attachment containing my electronic manuscript.

Now, each time, this man has encouraged me to try again, with a different email address. So I’m fairly confident I’m not being given the cold shoulder here. Yet, even so, there’s something pretty wacky going on.

Which got me to thinking about not so much what Jesus would do, but what Jung would do if he were faced with a similar situation.
After all, the novel’s grandsire is a Jungian analyst and leading exponent of Jungian alchemical practice. What’s more, I also identify myself as a Jungian alchemist, having responded to being such when asked my religion in the latest census.

Well, anyhow, it seems to me the magic word for Jung (and all us Jungians, alike) was/is synchronicity. The idea of meaningful coincidences. And I’m beginning to suspect there is something meaningful about how my efforts to pass on my novel are being blocked.

It was all too easy. I first contacted this man, of whom I speak, for instance, through Facebook’s messenger application. And before you know it, I was next attempting to send off my 120,000 word manuscript to him via email, all in the twinkling of an eye.

Not too shabby for a morning’s work, eh? But to what end? So he could next skim over the first five or ten pages and decide he didn’t actually like it? Or worse yet, have him not even read it, but instead write a preface anyway based on the synopsis I had also forwarded on?

And this is the danger of the electronic age, I would argue. Everything happens so damn fast. Because of which, we constantly run the risk of being out of synch with things. We settle for the shallow and superficial, when we should seek the deeply significant.

I desperately want to see my novel published, preferably with the said preface in place (pardon the alliteration); however, it took me nearly eight years to write the thing, and so why should I be in such a screaming hurry now to give it to the world?

Maybe the world’s not ready for it yet. A satirical tale about the defunct Antichrist’s personal search for a moral compass, in a world long-gone to hell…hmm, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Sure, it makes me laugh, but then I’ve got an extremely wacky sense of humour.

How did my own sister describe it? Oh, yes, unpalatable. At which point, I laughed longer and harder than I have at probably any other point in the past eight years. My bad.

Hmm, what would Jung do, I wonder? Or Dali or Burroughs or Godard or Beckett or Cocteau or A Belgian Ballerina Named Frank…


The Self-Published Author as Shapeshifting Social Media Butterfly

I don’t know about you, but as a self-published author I have joined a whole damn plethora of social media sites, a great many of which I didn’t even know existed prior to this.

The name of my novel is Missing Zero. And so I’ve got the Missing Zero Facebook page, Twitter account and blog here at WordPress, too. In addition to these I’ve got other accounts, under the name of Lorem Ipsum at Pinterest and LinkedIn and a bunch of other sites like StumbleUpon and Tumblr, which I rarely use.

The reason I have these accounts ultimately is because I’m trying to make a direct connection with people. A direct connection with the greater reading public, in the first instance, possibly, but also a direct connection with people of all stations. And this is why I am currently exploring here with you the concept of the self-published author as shape-shifting social media butterfly.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. This week I have been in contact with two very different publishers, in regard to having Missing Zero published by either one of their respective publishing houses.

Now, the first of these two is a big name publishing house based in the UK. And I have so far managed to sort of get into the ear of one of this company’s head publishers. But the only way I have been able to do this was by contacting him through LinkedIn’s inmail service.

My point is that I actually joined LinkedIn for this sole purpose. As I knew of no other way of contacting this particular person, who I had earlier decided was the perfect match for publishing my novel. And this is where my idea of shapeshifting comes in.

You see, upon my joining LinkedIn, an old friend spotted my profile and sent me the following text, “OMG, you’re mainstreaming now!”

I suppose, I deserved his playful dig, because I’ve previously always stood apart from social networking practices, seeing them as an anathema to the creative life of an artist. But I’m now no longer just being a writer, you understand, I’ve shapeshifted into a she-wolf fighting for the life of one of her cubs.

Because that’s what my novel feels like to me. It feels like my offspring, and I will literally fight tooth and nail to see my progeny flourish and prosper, believe me. I will even enter the conservative, buttoned-down world of LinkedIn to promote my novel and thereby increase its chances of survival.

However, in a completely different guise again, I have also been in contact with another publisher this week, as I mentioned earlier. And I came across this particular outfit while hanging out at Twitter. Because that’s what I do at Twitter, I just hang out. Talking sh#t mostly, in 140 characters or less. My persona there is therefore not quite that of a street hustler, but certainly someone more streetwise, let’s say.

Well, anyway, I sent off a submission to this other publishing outfit. And quickly received a very favorable response. Although I’m yet to hear back about their policy regarding my novel’s currently self-published status. Gulp!

Whatever. I’m right now more interested in talking about who I’m being as I write this anyhow. Because at WordPress I believe I can just be me. There’s no need for any kind of shapeshifting on my part here. You guys get the closest thing to the real me.

And for the most part, you’ve all been totally accepting and extremely welcoming of the confusing ball of contradictions and inconsistencies that I happen to be. Really, what I’m saying is that it feels like home here for me. And I thank each and every one of you for that. Yay!

But remember, if you do happen to stumble upon me at StumbleUpon or try and pin me down at Pinterest I can be as elusive as a shapeshifting butterfly. Man, let’s simply say you really don’t want to know what I get up to at deviantART…

PS Just kidding, deviantART is one of the few sites I’m still yet to join. But give me time, and I’ll get on to it, sure enough.

PPS Just before I went to post this, I got an email from the publisher in England. Here’s what it said: “Your e[mail] made me laugh…Hope to read the script next week”

PPS Aargh! So what the hell do I do to stop going insane between now and next week? No, really I’m not joking! I’m FREAKING out here people. Anybody got any thoughts or Valium handy? Help!

Bike Butterfly

Bike Butterfly


“I’m Yours!” — The Top 10 Reasons Why I Will Follow Your Blog

  1. Team Follow BackYou’re so funny! If you can make me laugh in the first 30 seconds, I’m yours! NB I don’t mean fake, FaceBook lol funny, but rather witty, cleverly sarcastic or can tell a rude joke without resorting to potty humor.
  2. You’re so cute/hot! Hey, I’m only human, what?! Seriously, if your profile photo makes my eyes water “coz you ugly!”, sorry sister/brother I ain’t following you, no how! 😉
  3. You’re so talented! Look, everyone with a blog thinks they are the next Oscar Wilde/Orson Welles/Dorothy Parker/Tom Wolfe/Groucho Marx/Anais Nin. But let me tell you something: you’re just not! If, however, you have a unique and quirky writing style and something new and original to say…guess what, I’m yours!
  4. You’re Somebody High Up in the Biz! I’m a writer, see; so if I think you might be a big player in the print/publishing racket, I’ll suck up to you in the hope of finally getting my big break. Go ahead, take your percentage, I’m yours!
  5. Your Blog Got Freshly Pressed! I hate you already, how did you manage it? Maybe if I like and comment, like crazy, all over your blog I can share some increased popularity too? Nah, I know, that’ll never happen, so I’ll just follow you instead. I’m yours! (till tomorrow anyway…)
  6. You Followed My Blog First! I am the absolute Boss at #teamfollowback, believe me! Go on, let me prove it to you, follow my blog and you’ll see I’m not speaking with no forked tongue here: I’m yours!
  7. You Have Lots of Top 10 Lists Posted! Yup, you guessed it, I am just another one of the legion of fans of the good old Top 10 list. Heck, they’re easy to digest and don’t add more than an inch to the waistline. Post a Top 5 list and I’m not so excited, make it a Top 10 list and I’m yours!
  8. You Can Write a Catchy Headline! Just so you know, The Seasonal Habits of Ecuadorian Bed Bug Farmers is not what I consider to be an example of a catchy headline. But if you do manage to hook me with a couple of good headlines on your blog, it’s a fair bet I’ll soon be saying, “I’m yours!”.
  9. You Posted a Comment Somewhere I Liked! Truth be told, my following you is going to be about a 1,000 times more likely if the comment of yours I liked was left somewhere on my blog. Because, chances are that’s when I’m more likely to respond by telling you, “I’m yours!”
  10. You Just Plain Got Lucky, Punk! Hey, I hit the wrong button and somehow ended up at your blog?! Well, whaddaya know, I kinda agree with whatever it is you stand for? What a fluke, huh? You know what, punk, it’s your lucky day, because, guess what, I’m yours!Keep Calm

“Come Up and Tweet Me Some Time” — The Internet Dating Game

You’re a writer, artist, photographer, avant garde jewellery-maker, part-time fashionista or whatever, and you want to court a following through the social media so as to “spread the word” about your product, yeah?

Well, ok, so let me break it down for you all…

Here are the 3 Stages of Internet Dating (within the context of wooing readers/followers/fans etc):

  1. Twitter: is for “chasing birds” — (flirting with your readers).
  2. FaceBook: is for forming more committed relationships — (foreplay/fooling around/possible fondling).
  3. WordPress: is for when you’re old and married and now wear your socks to bed together— (in other words, f*#king over each other).

Don’t believe me? Think about it. If you’re reading this WordPress blog at all, you’re only going to give me another 30 seconds or so to reach my point, before you switch off and start thinking about whether anyone has favorited your last tweet yet or whether you shouldn’t be updating your FaceBook status or whether a google search for free porn wouldn’t be a better option.

Go on, admit it! I’m not going to judge you. Just “Like” my FaceBook page before you leave for your dirty, little cyberspace stop-overs. Or better yet: why don’t you instead just “come up and tweet me some time”…@missingzero666Twiiter wink

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase


OMG! Who knew #teamjesus would fight so damn DIRTY!

imageNow, listen, I don’t claim to have ever known Jesus Christ, personally, but he strikes me as the kinda guy who would’ve been able to take a joke, right?

Okay. Here’s the thing. I’m a writer and have just self-published a novel called Missing Zero. It is a work of satirical fiction, which — among other things — tells of the supposed final redemption of the Antichrist.

And so, again, just let me point out, once more, that my novel is a work of FICTION.

Anyways, as part of getting word of my novel out there, I started a Missing Zero FaceBook page (please Like, if you would be so kind). And on this page I post somewhat “challenging” images and ideas pertaining to accepted Christian dogma. However, I do not actually explicitly endorse any particular stance whatsoever, whether it be atheism or Catholicism or fundamentalist Scientology etc. My sole aim is to generate debate and thereby generate interest more generally around the central themes of my novel.

Really, the most contentious proposition that my novel asks its readers to consider is whether it might be possible for someone as supposedly evil as the Antichrist to find absolution and forgiveness in the Lord’s eyes. God being, in theory, after all, all-loving.

Still, nothing prepared me for the kind of outrage I have encountered from certain Christian visitors to my FaceBook page. Let me share a fairly typical exchange with you, here:

Sarah ThunderBird: Fuck illumanti. YalL can suck my dick.

January 22 at 2:34pm via mobile · Like · 2

Sarah ThunderBird: Bitch please u must have a mental disease
January 22 at 3:08pm via mobile · Like

Firstly, I’ll just explain that, within the social media more generally, the word illuminati has apparently become pretty much interchangeable with the word Satanists, from what I gather. Either way, after ignoring Sarah’s original taunt, I responded to her second comment by quoting back at her the next line from the Eminem song she herself had referenced by posting Bitch please etc. After which, she responded by writing:

Sarah ThunderBird: Eminem can suck a choad along wit all yall wana be fake ass devil worshiping people.

January 22 at 3:28pm via mobile · Like · 2

Fair enough, I suppose. Although I don’t suppose I really want to know what a “choad” is, given the context of Sarah’s caustic comeback. Trying a different tack, to clear the air, I responded with some lyrics from a completely different song, thus:

Missing Zero:
You make friends with the Devil, you have fun with the Devil
You make vows with the Devil, now who you think gon’ win?
You make love to the Devil, definitely have fun with the Devil
You never fights with the Devil
You get right with the Devil
Now who you think gon’ win?

Read more: SWOLLEN MEMBERS – DEVIL LYRICS
January 22 at 3:29pm · Like

To which, Sarah replied

Sarah ThunderBird Fuck the devil he can smd so can u.
January 22 at 3:30pm via mobile · Like · 3

But wait, now she had an ally in the form of Jesse Watt. And here’s what he next said:

Jesse Watt: THEY WILL FALL!! YES THEY WILL FALL!! COME LORD YESHUA/JESUS!!
January 23 at 9:15am · Edited · Like · 1

Jesse Watt: Tell’em Sarah Thunderbird.. I don’t vote either & WILL NEVER VOTE FOR THERE PUNCK ASS MF!!
January 23 at 9:18am · Like · 1

And my response?

Missing Zero: Can’t be sure, but didn’t you perceive a hint of a penis in absolutely every one of Ms ThunderBird’s previous comments?

Which conveniently brings me to the point of today’s blog. Namely, when did #teamjesus stop being all cuddly and Christian? I mean, they all fight so dirty now. Whatever happened to good Christian humility and forgiveness? I’m not a prude, but I have to admit I’m shocked! What would Jesus say?

If I might be so bold, I’d like to therefore finish now by leaving you all to ruminate on this strange turn of events, while also offering you this passage from the bible to reflect on in the meantime:

Jhn 8:7 he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Happy Easter, Everyone!