Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pyramid marketing for books ...

Gathering fans on Facebook is hard. Period. On MySpace, you can invite people by the hundreds—it’s limited only by your willingness to sit there clicking that button hour after hour. Facebook, meanwhile … well, it’s a little tougher. I can only invite people on my personal friends list, and because I have this thing about having actual friends on my friends list and they don’t all have a legitimate interest in young-adult superhero fiction, it’s slow going.

So I’m going to bribe all of you to recruit for me.

Through the end of February, we’re going to have a fan contest on this page—that is, a contest to see who can add the largest number of fans. I think it will work like this:

1. Invite your friends to join the page. Simple, right? There’s a little button under the profile image that will let you spam your whole friends list.

2. But wait! There’s more! When you invite your friends, ask them to leave a comment on the page’s wall with the name of the friend who invited them. If a new fan gets more than one invitation, he or she is welcome to name all the people who invited him/her. I’ll keep a running tally of the names that get mentioned most. I do have a way of identifying new fans on this page, but I don’t know how they got there, so this is the only way I can track who invites whom.

3. The contest will end February 28, 2010. On March 1, I will announce the winner—at which point that fan and all the fans he or she invited will get prizes.

I’m still figuring out what those prizes will be, though, so I’m going to test this new blog system by inviting votes. I’ll list the options, and I encourage you to leave your votes in the comment section of this blog.

There will be two levels of prize—one big one-of-a-kind prize for the person who adds the largest number of fans, and a smaller, more easily replicable prize for both the winner and all the fans who nominated that person.

Possibilities for level one:

1. Original MASKS plushie, handmade by the author. Current plan is either my new fleece-coyote design (recently beta-tested on a Christmas gift recipient) or a doll of Rae or Trevor—recipient’s choice.

2. Original MASKS art—a signed Nicole Le sketch, again of the character of the winner’s choice. Nicole’s agreed to do contest art again if I bribe her with Flame Broiler. Derrick does not do contest art, apparently because he has more self-respect than Nicole. (I love you, Nicole …)

3. Naming a character in MASKS. I have to add a couple of people in the Fourth Draft—at least one male and at least one female—and I’d be willing to give away the naming rights to a character, within reason. (Keep it PG, and no profanity, please—but I’m more than willing to name the character after you!) Each of these characters will have dialogue and be the centerpiece of at least one plot point.

Possibilities for level two:

1. Exclusive MASKS wallpaper. Nicole’s got some art she’s saving up for Free Comic Book Day, but I have Flame Broiler coupons …

2. MASKS podcast—a limited edition, one-of-a-kind, limited-time-only audio recording of something related to MASKS. Maybe someone reading the first chapter or two …

3. An early look at the new MASKS short story I’m writing for Free Comic Book Day … which isn’t until May, so you’d get two months and some change to taunt people with it. There are ninjas.

Register your votes, for level one and level two. Remember—the person who brings in the largest number of fans gets both prizes, and everyone he or she brings in gets the level-two prize. I’ll also accept suggestions for alternate prizes, if anyone’s got any brilliant ideas.

If this works well, I’ll probably do more recruiting contests in the future, with more prizes, so your odds of winning something are pretty good. And with luck, sometime soon I’ll be able to give away autographed first editions …

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