Big Marketing Mistakes I’ve Made
After a US Navy tour, college, much traveling, teaching, acting, marketing, sales, always searching for the ‘white buffalo’ – romancing and searching for pieces of me. I’m on an 80-acre spread in SE Arizona called ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’, a second home for a while and a wonderful stretch of desert that charges my imagination. The house sits on a hilltop looking south toward Mexico and the Sierra Madre Mountains. To the east, there are the Chiricahua Mountains. To the West, there are the Dragoon Mountains and the legendary ‘Cochise Stronghold’. To the northeast, there are the Dos Cabezas Mountains.
‘Well, what are you doing there’? you can ask. That’s presuming you might be interested. Of course, you already know I’m going to tell you whether you are interested or not.
‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’ was solitude and space, a setting ripe with old west history and lore, cowboys and Indians. Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Cochise, sat tall in their saddles, had their gun fights, and all gathered to write Chapter One to open the west.
Tombstone, the town too tough to die, home of the infamous ‘OK Corral’ and ‘Boot Hill’, was just a thirty-minute drive from the house, with a stretch of desert that can titillate or eliminate. In short, TLRR was a wonderful spot for would-be writers, poets, novelists, and the artists with their easels and brushes.
It happened that I did fairly well for myself after leaving Appalachia and my hill country ways. After shedding some of my Tennessee mountain charm and going into that bright neon-world of confusion and doubt. Believe me, there was surely enough extended education in that glitter-dome big city living. Not all of that good life was pure and wholesome. I worked a lot and I played a lot, and no extension of verbiage here can get me to an ‘All-American’ salutary status.
I lost most of my Tennessee ‘down-home’ accent, met and dated some very lovely ladies, all of whom I adored. Admittedly, certainly not glowingly, there was a very active hedonistic culture to which I quite easily and shamelessly inured.
But, back to ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’.
Perhaps surprisingly to the reader(s) of this post, I taught at one point an ‘Advanced Writing’ class to high school college-bound seniors and had in the young years myself dabbled in poetry, singing, and writing. At ‘The Lazy Rabbit’ I began to write book one of a six-book series entitled ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’. “An Arizona Tragedy” – Book 1 was inspired by the brutal murder of a personal fellow actress friend of mine in Phoenix, Az. (Incidentally, that homicide is now a ‘cold case’ for the Phoenix, AZ Police Department. If anyone can add anything of value to this ‘cold case’, please contact the Phoenix PD.)
All but one of the remaining ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ were inspired by true crime events. I have always had this fascination for the evil that shocks and angers our world, the fodder that makes millions for the movie makers, game makers, and some authors (he writes, enviably!).
During my time at ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’, I was using a ‘Star-Writer’ word processor to peck out my narrative brilliance. (Okay, how many of you did I lose, if there was anyone to lose?) The digital age was advancing fast, and the Wizards of the Web had already figured out how to create technology that would add to their billion-dollar caches every few years by coming out with extra software. These added goodies would provide more speed, more apps, more games, and more frantic competition.
So, except for books 4-6 of ‘The Bailey Crane Mystery Series’, I had three boxes of manuscripts gathering dust on the shelves.
Eventually, Julie and I moved to the ‘Sea of Cortez’ in Mexico. I must admit, we lived in penthouse luxury, the sand and beach just outside our windows. The cobalt Sea of Cortez greeted us each morning, and it was near perpetual sun-shine every day. The SE Arizona desert had been an alluring habitat for writing, but the Sea of Cortez could really get the juices flowing.
So, I finished the ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’ books 1-6, plus eight other titles while in Mexico, some non-fiction, mostly fictional forays inspired by true crime events.
Okay, I’m guilty of parsing, or, likely, a better word would be, rambling. My title suggests ‘mistakes made’. And, WOW! Did I make them?
Take a look at my laundry list of amateurish mistakes! To beat it all, I was in Sales and Marketing most of my business life! Look, I know how my next lines might sound, but the impulse is there, so I’m writing them.
My books are good, readable, and should have a wider market than they now have! If I’m wrong and fooling myself, more time will tell. AND, I won’t be ashamed to admit it!
Read Them! If I’m wrong, tell me. If enough of you tell me I’m wrong, I WON’T STOP WRITING! I’ll just spend the next fifteen, twenty years entertaining myself! If the Pre and Post Marketing damage is irreparable, guess I’ll just keep re-reading my own books… There is always the rare chance that my writing is not as good as I think it is! NAW! That can’t be possible, he says HUMBLY!
Take a deep breath and look over my list. BE GENTLE AND KIND WITH YOUR REMARKS! We folks in Twilight need special handling – sort of!
- After exhaustive editing and re-writes, I took the six dusty ‘Bailey Crane Mystery’ manuscripts and simultaneously published them on CreateSpace… NO LAUNCH OF ANY KIND! Just started tweeting! CRAZY! I ought to be in a looney bin!
- I used CreateSpace FREE book ..okay, thanks CS, some are nice but your covers don’t compete with the BIG BOYS AND GIRLS! AND, I’m a SCROOGE, first order!
- Did I mention? I’m a SCROOGE!
- NO Beta Readers or pre-reviews! With my “Mama’s Madness” title, without soliciting, I got sixty reviews, most of them 5-Stars. The other books, precious few reviews, mostly 5-STARS.
- BLOG ABSENCE for years. Now, I’ve written over 350 posts… My mistake: wrote a book and several posts giving my political views. NEVER AGAIN! Also, it’s better to leave religious beliefs at the door, although I’m not ashamed of my faith in God! Seems to me there’s got to be more than ashes in an urn to scatter on a mountaintop, the ocean/sea, or a hole in the cold hard ground.
- Platforms: This is tedious business, picking and choosing writing platforms, at least for me. I’ve tried some, but unless I’m willing to put out the bucks for P/R and Advertising, I’m guessing I just need to enjoy the process of writing and be done with the marketing and selling sides. Writing is my therapy so it shouldn’t bother me so much if the books are not selling… But, everyone enjoys good reviews and kind support… Perhaps I’ve found that now with #RRBC, #RWISA, #ASMSG, #IAN1.
- TWILIGHT! As my ‘About Me’ section at http://billyraychitwood.com states: “I’m a young man in an old man’s body… AND, I’m thinking I’ve got more books to write. I’m midway in writing my fifteenth book and damned well plan to finish it – and others. THE QUESTION: is age a factor for people buying books? For books not selling?
- ‘SOCIAL MEDIA: I’m spending too much time on social media and NOT WRITING. That has to change but I can’t give up my good followers on my blog, twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, google+, et al. I’m on Goodreads and find it difficult to navigate, e.g., I’ve had new Book Covers for my books for well over a year, have written to GR librarians for help in changing the old CreateSpace covers to the newly designed covers, but get no response. The old covers that appear on the Goodreads dashboard are not appealing at all…another big mistake! I’ve tried on GR changing of covers myself, but, not allowed.
INEPTNESS – MY OWN! I Truly cannot believe how incredibly naïve I was in the beginning of my publishing efforts (likely, still am!). To be sure, there are other items I’m leaving out of this list and I’m reasonably sure it could be much longer.
Although my embarrassment shows ‘big time’ here, perhaps someone beginning her/his publishing efforts will heed these remarks and make sure the chances for success are much better if you don’t rush the process as I did.
In the meantime, to show you really ‘like me’ and ‘care about me’, you could start some viral BUYING of my books. I’m not begging! I’m just saying!
Billy Ray Chitwood – HAPPY NEW YEAR! – January 1, 2018
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