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May 24, 2012 by jamesessj

Word of the Day:  Cross-Promotion.

Or is that two words?  Okay, so it’ll count as tomorrow’s word, too.  A friend of mine, whom I shall only refer to by his real name, that being Chad Mayo, recently told me that the secret to modern mammonistic success was to integrate one’s web site, Facebook page, Twitter feed, diary, random thoughts dictated into a tape recorder, and filmed group therapy sessions all into one gigantic, coherent, cross-pollinational whole.

An entity, if you will.  A beast.

Well, I suck at self-promotion.  The novel I self-published (nearly five years ago now!) never went anywhere, and one could make the very cogent, not to mention troubling, argument that the reason for this was that it just wasn’t all that good…on the other hand, I’m pretty sure that most people who knew of its existence did go ahead and buy a copy.  Whether they enjoyed the few weeks following their purchase, I can’t say — the most I’ve heard anyone comment on the book was in an Amazon review by a friend whom I used to manage at the Borders SBC Café; and he is biased in all sorts of ways, none of which I’m about to go into here.  So was the book bad, or was it instead (exceedingly) poorly promoted?  Or was it both?

(To know how rotten I am at self-promotion, you need only notice that I didn’t even provide a link to the very book I’m talking about.  I’ll correct that mistake now, but, honestly, we both know I’ll make it again.  At Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Everlasting-Evil-Pulp-Book-1/dp/0615161804/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337906887&sr=8-1.  At Lulu.com:  http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-sarver/pulp-book-i-everlasting-evil/paperback/product-1527130.html.)

Likewise, I am finding, with my latest venture, Youtube videos (at http://www.facebook.com/baddatesvideos — hey, I didn’t forget!).  The first episode of Bad Dates, the first series, has managed to attract — drum roll, with irony — about sixty views.  That’s approximately two million fewer than the two million I was hoping for.  Of course one builds an audience over time, but I seem to be deconstructing an audience over time:  the video before the most recent has received all of six views.  Six views.  At least three of those were me.  And the other three were me under various Facebook pseudonyms.  So why are my videos suffering such an ignominious fate?

Again, one could argue that they just aren’t all that good.  And I’d agree, from a production value standpoint — I’m no professional cinematographer, nor editor, nor director, nor actor.  But from a comedic standpoint, I’d put this stuff up against anything anywhere — which is either arrogance or the confidence of the artist in his work.  (“Artist” here being used in its widest possible sense, i.e. as a synonym for “human.”)  I feel as if I am, as I’ve told certain of my friends who quickly turn their heads and stifle a cough when I do so, at the peak of my powers, humor-wise…for whatever reason, these are the salad days, and the ideas are coming fastly and furiously, and they are, by and large, awfully good ideas.  In my humble opinion.  Which, as you can tell, isn’t terribly humble.

So I find it hard to believe that it’s quality that’s holding the videos back.  What is it, then?  The self-serving conclusion I’ve come to is:  they are (exceedingly) poorly promoted.  What have I done, but posted updates on Facebook?  “Here’s a new video!”  And then I’ve sat back and watched the stampede fail to eventuate.  Do you know how embarrassing it is to be sitting on the edge of the prairie, awaiting the buffalo herd that never comes?  Pretty darned embarrassing, that’s how.

How to fix this?  If I knew, I’d be doing it…but more frequent blog posts can’t hurt, I suppose.  At least it’ll serve as minor cross-promotion, even if the number of people who read this blog can be counted on one finger.  Who knows?  Maybe that one person will be someone who’s looking for a sketch writer…or a sketch actor with limited range but a whole lot of heart.

(I have an enlarged heart.)

If anyone out there who might be reading this has any ideas for further/better cross-promotion, please do share.  I am, as anyone who reads this blog ought to know, a complete idiot in any number of ways, so I’m probably overlooking eighteen obvious strategies that a kindergartner would know about, so don’t assume that even the simplest of notions has occurred to me.  I’d pass out if I didn’t remind myself, every few seconds, to breathe.

And that link again to the videos is…http://www.facebook.com/baddatesvideos.  See?  I’m improving.  Now if I could just remember the name of my Twitter account…

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