Last year, I applied for a job with a cutting-edge digital publishing company. I was really interested in their approach. The whole business is based on an algorithm that claims to predict the next best seller by the habits of online readers. You upload your manuscript, and if enough traffic keeps clicking 'next' on your book, they'll market it to one of the big international publishers. A digital agent, if you will.
I'm always interested in how science and technology impact the 4,000 year tradition of writing stories down.
That's why I applied for the job.
Part of the interview process was to write a marketing report. The scenario was:
You have to promote a writing contest in one week of time, your budget is 0! The topic of this contest is romance. The goal is to get 50 authors/writers to submit their story to the company.
In a former life (which occasionally overlaps with this one), I was a development consultant. I've delivered social media training to international nonprofits in the past, but I had never really explored the mechanics of social media marketing. It doesn't exactly turn me on. But, for the sake of a steady income, I thought I'd give it a shot.
After submitting my report, and a second interview, I was asked if I'd be willing to relocate to Berlin.
As Paul says, sometimes you just gotta roll the dice. My life is often led by applying for things and following the offers I get. That's how I ended up in Africa the first time. Only, when this offer came, I realised that I love Rwanda very much. At the moment, there's nowhere else I'd rather be.
I declined the job, though I am still grateful for the offer. It's been close to a year now and I felt that I wanted to share that report with the wider writing and publishing community. I have no doubt the company I wrote it for have taken something from it, so it's fair others should too. It was a job application, not an exclusive piece of consultancy.
The report looks at the challenges of social media marketing and the methods that get the best results. The introductory section is a bit technical, but the recommendations section is fairly straightforward.
If you are a publisher or author trying to promote a competition, crowdfunder or book, hopefully it'll give you some tips. If I've missed anything or got it wrong, please drop a comment on this post.
And please take note that my estimates for click-through and entry rates are incredibly optimistic. I needed to reach 50 entries before I ran out of ideas.