These days writers have a lot of freedom, they can write what they want and when they want without any interference from an editor or publisher. They also won’t get any help from editors or publishers. The area that this affects writers most is in marketing. Marketing here is the process of getting potential readers interested in reading their works.
I’m always on the lookout for new marketing techniques, ones that don’t involve visiting a thousand book stores and begging the owners to take a few copies for display. Methods that don’t involve fronting the money for boxes of books to hawk on the street, or at parties, or over thanksgiving dinner with the family.
That’s why I was so intrigued by Mike Hockney’s “The Illuminati’s secret religion.” What this writer has done is create a kind of mystery, in this case a conspiracy, that can be solved by reading his books. Apparently he has “Encoded” all the secrets of the Illuminati in four adventure novels that he’s penned.
What I believe he’s really done is use his talent for writing in an engaging way to lure potential buyers for his work. Instead of lugging books around and personally unloading them, he has created an interesting and alluring mythos to draw in readers.
The website is in itself a story, and he’s really good at telling this story. So, in effect, he’s already getting readers to sample his work. He also tells us we may not be able to decode the books, but that’s ok because the books are a fun read anyway. Additionally if you get through the first three pages of the website, you immediately feel that you will like these books, because you find the website’s story enticing.
In short, instead of a traditional marketing approach Hockney’s created an entire environment for his readers. One that they can sample for free and one that suits his talents. It’s clever, uses his own resources and undoubtably is bringing readers to him rather than the other way ’round. It’s just like Agatha Christie declaring a great mystery and telling her readers that they need to buy her books, which are fun in and of themselves, to solve it. I’ll bet she could have penned an engaging website.
The novels are available for free download (as a PDF) on the website or they can be bought from Amazon either as kindle editions or as paperbacks. I don’t get this part, but it could be that he’s counting on people not wanting to read his work on their computers. It could be that Hockney is the “true believer” that he claims to be, hired by the illuminati to spread the ancient secrets and free the world from tyranny. He’s even suggests that an earlier writer working for the illuminati disappeared mysteriously. Classic. Either way, what an amazing idea for selling his work. My hat’s off to him. Although, I will be disappointed if he actually believes all that crap.
I think the point here is that, as writers, we are uniquely positioned to intrigue our readers. Instead of selling books with shoe leather and phone calls we should market them with our own writing and the power of the Internet. Big marketing firms have set up new sites for everything from movies to new televisions, but the sites for books have always been sad little one page affairs. Hockney’s created an entire mythos and I’ll bet his work is selling like hotcakes.
All it took was about 1/4 the effort he put into the original books. It’s kind of like putting the outline on line but leaving out the dramatic conclusions. He even tells us he could tell us the secrets right now but we wouldn’t believe them until we read the books.
Hockney’s setting is specialized, world conspiracies, ancient orders (who does that remind you of?) and his treatment of the website is also specialized to his work. That only means that each writer’s marketing site needs to speak distinctly to their work, designed to create a need to read their efforts.
Take a look at Hockney’s site, to date he’s had over 166,000 visitors
Copyright Prentiss Gray 2010