Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not So Much

I love the creativity of writing fiction, especially murder mysteries. I have written and published a book a year since I retired in 2016. This includes a couple of dark murder mysteries and the rest comedy murder mysteries. When I began this endeavor, I hadn’t thought things through completely. If I want people to read my books, and enjoy them, I need to sell the books, which means marketing in some form or fashion. (Call me Captain Obvious). Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much

Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to accomplish this. My least favorite is selling online. I am in that extinguished category of human demographic known as the elderly, which means I was not born with a cell phone in one hand and a laptop in the other. That must be especially uncomfortable for the mother during childbirth, but I digress. Anyhow, what I’m trying to say is that online selling and advertising on social media drives me crazy. Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much  

First you gotta set up an account for each social media site, which means a bucketload of passwords. I am very creative at making up passwords. I just use the name of my pet parrot for everything. (Just kidding. I don’t have a pet parrot. It’s a dog.). Anyhow, I have so many passwords it makes my head spin just thinking about it. Caps, small letters, numbers, characters…and on and on. Fortunately, I have the memory of a 90-year-old, so I keep all the passwords in my head. If I wrote them all down in a book, I’d forget where I put the book anyhow. (Are you beginning to get the picture?) Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much 

Each social media app comes with something on the order of a hundred updates a week (I exaggerate for effect…or do I?). I just get all the privacy settings in place, and wham-bam-bing, here comes another update that resets everything. I also do not like to stay signed into an app when I’m not using it. However, the app programmers have other ideas. They move the “sign out” or “log out” button with each update so it’s impossible to find. I spend more time playing where the hell’s the ‘logout button’? than I do posting on social media. Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much 

Then there’s the infamous algorithms, now morphing into so-called artificial intelligence (AI). Each social media app comes complete with one of these monsters. They get to decide whether the photo that I include with my post follows their platform’s guidelines, which appear to be insane. Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much 

I’ve posted photos of a motorcycle that an AI decided did not meet the platform guidelines for sexual content. On the other hand, I’ve seen posts with book covers showing couples scantily dressed and in the act of sexually contenting (probably not a word) all over the place, and the AI thought it was just fine. I also do my best to avoid any words that this all-powerful AI might interpret as political, because if the word happens to infer the wrong politics my laptop might actually explode. Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much 

The most powerful, and irritating, of these insane, power-hungry AIs is the one that gets to determine if what you are posting is spam or not. I would argue that just because I use the word “book” or “read” or “and” in more than one post, this does not constitute spam. I don’t know if these AIs drink alcohol or take drugs, but sometimes I wonder. According to many of the ones I’ve encountered if you post more than once it’s spam. I’ll bet some of these AIs have discovered alcohol. Perhaps we need to start AA meetings for artificial intelligence (I’ll just leave it at that). Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much 

The final insult is the online ads that one can run to try to sell books. The one’s that I have used include a daily rate for the magical marketing AI to display your ad wherever they do such a thing. You plunk down something like ten or twenty dollars a day for a certain number of days and allow the app’s AI to determine where to display your ad content to get the highest number of clicks to your website, or to sell something, or whatever your goal. Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much  

It’s all a mystery to me. If the ad gets shown to someone looking to buy a lawnmower, I’m not sure how that helps me sell books. But I’m supposed to trust the magical AI to only display my ad content to genuine readers. Based on my results to date, forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical. Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much 

I’ve tried these a couple of times, and I’ve yet to be able to find one of my ads anywhere online. Yet according to the all-powerful AI, my ad content was shown to a hundred bazillion people, and I got 5 clicks, none of which bought my books. Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much 

I’m sure it’s just that I don’t really understand how to operate these things. Maybe I should follow the AI’s example and drink heavily before running my next ad. Last time I ran one I spent $50 and sold 12 books. I make a royalty of less than a dollar per book. So, I’m gonna go put a down payment on a Ferrari. If I’m going bankrupt, might as well go out in style. Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much 

I’m guessing that my difficulties with online marketing are based on the fact that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I really enjoy writing the books a lot, but the marketing not so much. Perhaps I should just write books, print out the manuscripts, and stack them on a shelf somewhere. I could leave them to my daughter in my will, and perhaps she could market them after I’m gone (don’t worry daughter, I’m not that cruel). Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much 

Or perhaps this AI thing will really catch on and improve, and I’ll meet one in an AA meeting and hire it to market my books for me. (If I keep doing the marketing thing online myself, I’m probably going to need AA). Meanwhile, I’ll take a ride in my new Ferrari to clear my head. Hopefully that self-driving thing hasn’t gotten to Ferrari yet. I’ve probably offended lots of AIs, and if word gets to the one in my new Ferrari it might just drive me off a cliff. Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much 

I have discovered a better way to sell my books. That would be in person. I have left this for my next blog. Writing Mysteries Is Fun, Marketing Not so Much 

Meanwhile, if you would like to join Chelsea Longfellow, PI and Associate on one of their misadventures, go to https://johnjjessop.com. Dr. Jason Longfellow, PI is inept as a detective, but his nurse wife Chelsea is the real deal. Their latest case in A FISHY TALE is especially unique, exciting, and humorous. It involves a mountain lake, alarmingly large fish, and disappearing fishermen. I challenge you to figure out whodunnit.