It’s inevitable: you have to get the word out. I started this venture some years back with the foolish notion that somehow people would just find my work and if it was good enough, it would flourish. Yes, painfully naive, but there it is. I took the lack of success as “not good enough”, until the few people who had managed to stumble on my work corrected me.

So I began the year with a promise to myself that I would figure out how to do this. I have studied a lot of thoughts on promotion, and there are as many takes on what is best as there are which god or gun is superior, which is to say “not quite infinity, but almost”. (Asymtotically approaches infinity?) Wait, come back, I’ll stop with the math jokes right now.

So, I’ve tried free giveaways of “The Dead God’s Due” on KDP. Not all that successful, a handful of books downloaded, nothing more. It’s just hard to stand out, as there are lots of free books. You can pay to get the word out. I did that, and got around 2500 downloads. Sadly, I think the ‘free book junkies’ are more collectors than anything else. I would have thought I would have gotten a review or something, even a hate mail, out of so many downloads, but in truth, I wonder if anyone read the work at all. If they did, they certainly had nothing to say.

Finally, I tried Amazon’s pay-per-click ads, and it seems to actually generate some small interest. I decided to work on my blurb to perhaps attract more clicks, and cancelled the one ad to replace it.

Suddenly, the ad is rejected. “Your cover doesn’t meet our guidelines.” It did before, but suddenly it doesn’t. After a week and a half of wrangling back and forth with customer service trying to work what could possibly be the problem, I finally wring an explanation out of them:

“In this case, the ad was rejected because of the skull. I know that this might not be consider as violent as other objects that a cover may contain, however, Amazon’s priority is to respect our customers and readers as much as possible, so the policies regarding what an ad can contain are based on what a person consider offensive. Since our customers involve adults and children, with different beliefs and tolerance of what they consider offensive, we take this matter very seriously and that why images like this can’t be advertise.”

Yes, that’s right, a freakin’ skull, you know, the same symbol even Disney has no problem using in children’s shows. The universal symbol for poisoning. The cover of many editions of Gray’s anatomy. The thing you see plastered on billboards and filling the shelves in October. It’s verboten. It might offend someone. (I couldn’t care less about the opinion of a hypothetical quivering pool of jello who would be offended by a skull. I don’t even believe such a person exists.)

Okay, what is acceptable in an attempt to depict an evil god? Dunno. Spend another hundred bucks or so on your cover and we’ll arbitrarily reject it again if we want.

Ok, maybe I can advertise my cowboy exorcist story instead. Nope. No guns, either, and I am guessing a demon would also be “offensive”. My vampire-zombie-soldier story? Nope, no blood, even if it’s just a tiny spatter on the title. Apparently, anything that suggests tension, conflict, or that not everything is warm and fuzzy unicorns farting rainbows has the potential to be offensive, which shoots pretty much any honest cover for horror, war, or non-unicorn fantasy right in the face. It’s nearly impossible to commission a cover I know will pass muster because the interpretation of what is acceptable is completely arbitrary. Oh, you have a jar of peanut butter on your cover. Clearly that would offend people with peanut allergies, cover denied.

Still debating whether I will change the cover for DGD, or gouge out my own eyes with a spoon over the madness of it all. While I am deciding, I guess I’ll see how Goodread’s ads work for me. Of course, I’ve been awaiting an approval on that campaign since Thursday. (bangs head on desk)

It’s absolutely mind numbing how risk averse the publishing industry has become. In a business where free speech should, by rights, be held in the highest esteem, lawyers and crybullies have boxed us in to the point we can barely create at all. I feel like I am in the Death Star garbage compactor. (Ad rejected, the word “death” may offend some audiences).

Could we please just shut down all the garbage smashers on the detention level?

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 16th, 2016 at 5:42 am and is filed under Current Projects, Dark Mutterings, Meta-Issues, Real Life, Out of Character, Etc.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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