ROFL: Random Outbursts From Lar!


Publicity Gimmicks and Bogus Blogs

The hardest thing for a just-starting out author, like myself, is publicity. Writing the book was difficult, but rewarding. Then you put it out for the world, and... slowly people come. Too slow. Anything I can do to speed up the pace?
Someone long ago, advised that I let my magazine, QECE (Question Everything Challenge Everything) grow organically. Just see what becomes of it. It was the best advice I ever received as an editor-publisher.
For fiction, it seems word of mouth is the best promotion. Write a great book (okay, I’ve done that) and people who read it will recommend it to others. Unfortunately, that takes time, and I’m impatient. The temptation for gimmicks is strong.
For instance, I thought of creating a blog made by a fictitious religious nutcase named The Reverend Desmond X. Bright, modeled after genuine religious loonies, such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Like those two publicity whores, the Reverend Bright would comment loudly, publicly and in a most un-Jesusly manner on issues that were current events, especially those that involved celebrities, so as to get his name in the news more.
I would blog from the perspective of Reverend Bright about current politics, taking the most repressive perspective possible, my approach to society being similar to the conservative religious movement in America which is in turn similar to Afghanistan’s Taliban.
Anyway, once the persona groundwork was laid with a few moronic blog entries, Reverend Bright would then announce a campaign to fight the most anti-American, liberal, evil, anti-God book he has ever found: My book, Where Did This Come From?  Now that’s not what my book is. However, I could see idiots labeling it as such. Reverend Bright would go on and on about how my book was the spawn of Satan, etc. and I, Larry Nocella, would be named public enemy number one. In short, I would be giving myself the Salman Rushdie – Satanic Verses treatment, all in the name of publicity.
Hopefully then, people on search engines would pick up on the controversy and run with it. I’ve heard it said that Americans so love freedom that the easiest way to get them to want something is to tell them they can’t have it. That was the engine I wanted to tap into.
However, I recently read in Harper’s magazine that there are an estimated 6,750 fake blogs created every day by websites to improve their rankings in search-engine results. (Harper’s Index, June 2006.) I guess a company releases Product X, and then has a bunch of interns create fake blogs talking about how great Product X is. So, I suppose my idea isn’t very original.
So why bother? Any time I waste on a publicity gimmick is time away from writing another fantastic book that will feed into the all-important word of mouth.
The one lesson I learned while writing Where Did This Come From?  is that no matter how impatient I became, the book would dictate its own creation time, similar to a cake. A cake needs to be baked a certain amount of time. Turning up the heat won’t help, taking it out too soon won’t help. It has to be in the oven for a certain time, at a certain temperature. A deviation from that will ruin the final product.
Same with the novel. You have to dedicate hard work to it. Same with publicity. I suppose I could chain myself to the Washington Monument, or run naked onto a football field screaming WHERE DID THIS COME FROM?  But after all that, have I reached any book-lovers?
So much publicity, so much of it forced. Ever see network news run a special on an upcoming movie, because their parent company owns the movie studio, or the movie advertises on their network? It all rings false, tainted.
So for me, it’s organic growth: press releases, real blogs and patience. With all the publicity stunts going on, it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. The creation of something genuine, from the heart, turns out that’s a big accomplishment.
No gimmicks for me, just hard work and patience – same as always. Looks like the idea of the zealous Reverend Desmond X. Bright was aborted. Oh, the irony.