There is a famous quote, sometimes attributed to P T Barnum, that reads, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Many sources leave it there, but others add the codicil, “…and two to reel him in.”
I like the expanded version. It makes a brag into a rather plaintive complaint regarding the superfluity of competition. And, if anything, it understates the case.
I won’t mention any persons or organizations that are in the business of “reeling them in”–I try to avoid negativity in this blog. Nor do I need to–you’ve run across them yourselves. If you, like me, are a self-published author and trying to get the word out about your books you know who I am talking about.
For a flat set-up fee and a continuing monthly charge (plus upgrade charges to Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Neptunium plans) you can have your deathless prose hawked mercilessly on Top Websites Seen By Millions Of Users Daily. Plus Press Kits, Promotional Materials, Guaranteed Traffic Driven To Your Personal Website, Thousand Of Five Star Reviews, Millions Of Downloads, and A Dream Date With Jason Statham.
After a while you develop a protective blindness and your eyes slide past this garbage and you click to close the window without thinking. (Some people, alas, have to actually spend a lot of money to learn this.)
And then, there’s Chris McMullen.
A couple of months ago he came up with the idea of ReadTuesday, and he made it happen. He did it entirely on his own dime, set up the websites and all of the links, had the logos made and offered them free for download, put a huge amount of work into building and promoting the concept and never asked for anything except for our participation.
That is, to be honest, pretty breathtaking.
Now, I don’t know how effective it was overall. Speaking for myself, I can say I got much more out of it in terms of exposure and sales than I put into it. Am I now able to retire to my gold-plated yacht in the Azores? Hardly. But he never promised me that.
Read Tuesday, as a date, has passed. As an idea, though, I think it’s just getting started. Chris has shown that independent authors, working together, can build a promotional event. I think he’s onto something big here, and I am very proud to have been a part of it.