I work in I.T. and love emerging technology, but for some reason I am slow on the trigger when it comes to using technology to promote my writerly products. I think the combination of me being old school, you know with the belief that a fun story and tight writing speaks for itself, along with the fact that I’m a raging cheapskate ($89 bucks a month for plugin features on WordPress? My no is LEGION) keeps me in a space where I’m just shy of standing on a corner shouting “buy my stuff” like an out of place town cryer.
Enter my protégé and a tell of three sites.
Jen Finelli came up with the idea to have a campaign where select members of Codex Writers give away some product, whether its short stories or novel excerpts or a whole novel. Since membership in Codex requires some skin in the game (in most cases at least one SFWA recognized pro level sale), readers will get treated to some quality speculative fiction and us writers get a chance to broaden our audience. It’s a win for everybody.
Swords and Spaceships: The Codex Giveaway will be going on from 18-31 October on Instafreebie. Naturally, I’m in it, giving those of you who have yet to check out my novelette “Dialogues with Talking Heads” a chance to get it for my favorite price of free-ninety nine. It’s a fun sci-fi murder mystery so good you might feel bad you didn’t pay me for it. Plus while you’re at it you get to check out the work of 20 other kickass neo-pros. It’s a sweet deal, one that yours truly is definitely gonna take advantage of. Check it out here.
That said, this is a tale of three sites, Instafreebie being one of them. While “free” may be their middle name, “bi” follows that, as in writers should buy their add ons and upgrades to actually get the most out of it. One of their mosts is being able to develop a mailing list. First I was like “Mailing list… why didn’t I think of that?” It’s a great way to connect to you guys who really, really dig what I do. I’m talking sending you live and direct never-before-seen short stories, glimpses and teasers of my Pendulum Heroes novel series, and promo codes to save you guys some money on the books when they finally become available. And that’s just the start.
But I’m also committed to doing that kind of promotion on the cheap. Ain’t nothing but gristle in these trenches, folks. To have an operational budget you gotta have an operation and that doesn’t really kick into gear until I’m sitting on a fully packaged novel. That’s coming and soon, but for now I’m trying to apply my favorite price to everything.
Enter mailchimp. They basically allow automation of mail lists so only you guys and potentially the folks who sign up for the Codex Giveaway will get access to my exclusives. Their free package allows for some 2,000 subscribers, so I’m actually not mad at their pay wall. By the time I have 2k in audience, well, dear friends, that’s when this thing’ll be an operation.
So I built a subscribe to newsletter campaign on mailchimp and here’s where we enter the third site… this blog on WordPress. I like WordPress, they’ve got all sorts of neat widgets and plugins. Only thing is, to incorporate the plugins, specifically the mailchimp one which would allow you guys to easily subscribe to my newsletter, I have to pay WordPress $89 dollars a month for their business plan upgrade.
Lemme get this straight, WordPress, you want me to pay almost 90 bucks a month and it doesn’t even come with HBO?
One of these days I may be world famous, a New York Times best-selling author with more dough than Papa Johns, and this post will be archived so that folks will discover this future big shot was once a writer counting his spare change. That’ll be great… they’ll laugh and point it out and I’ll laugh with them. But I ain’t laughing now, I’m leveling up my workaround game and I came up with the picture below. You’re gonna see our hearty sergeant on the vast majority of my future posts. He likes the gristle, and when you click his picture you go to my page to subscribe to all the exclusive content I mentioned earlier. Now I can provide the form, you guys can get at the sweet swag. Everyone wins. Except WordPress.
So please, make it official… click the picture and join the squad!