Archive for the Promoting Bizarro Category

Hope for Underground Writers

Posted in Promoting Bizarro, Writing Related on August 24, 2009 by carltonmellick

Good news for new writers. No matter how weird your books are, you can find your audience through the internet. Jeff Burk’s Shatnerquake is proof. I read this article on

Check it out:

Shatnerquake–Proof Positive That On The Internet, You Can Sell Anything

by Bonnie Boots

At a recent seminar, Masters of Internet Marketing, one of the speakers was answering a question asked by an audience member-“How can I know if there will be a market for my book?”

One speaker had launched into a complicated explanation of market research when another speaker jumped up.

“One thing so many people fail to understand, ” he said, “is that out on the internet, there is a market for anything. In fact, until you actually get involved in internet marketing, it’s impossible to imagine just how many people are out there waiting to throw money at almost any product anyone comes up with.”

Eraserhead Press will tell you that’s the gospel truth.

Eraserhead Press is an independent publisher specializing in what they term “bizarro genre literature.” Their latest release is “Shatnerquake” by Jeff Burke.

In Burke’s novel, actor and spokesperson William Shatner is attending the first ShatnerCon, an event devoted entirely to him, when a failed terrorist attack rips the fabric of time and space. The result is that all the characters ever played by Shatner are sucked into our own world. They have one mission-to hunt down and destroy the real William Shatner.

Meanwhile, over at Qurik Books, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith has just rolled off the presses.

It’s described as an “expanded” version of the classic Jane Austin novel–expanded with scenes of brain-gobbling zombie mayhem in-between the flirtations of feisty Elizabeth Bennet and haughty Mr. Darcy.

Before 2000, when the internet really began to boil as an avenue for buying and selling, books like this were only published by authors that could afford to make Xerox copies of their manuscripts and share them with friends. There was simply no way to fund printing and find a market for them.

Today, with the internet, it’s possible to find a market for virtually anything. And I stress the word “virtual.”

In virtual space, people are not restricted by the border of the town or even country they live in.

They don’t have to shop at their neighborhood stores.

They don’t have to socialize with only their next-door neighbors.

And thanks to simulated communities like Second Life, they don’t have to be only one person or live only one lifestyle.

In this new, expanded idea of real life, where people can do and be anything, you can also make and sell anything.

I don’t take issue with the basic advice of good business practice–learn where your target market is and make things they will want to buy. Just keep in mind that there are an unlimited number of target markets. Yes, some markets are larger than others. But don’t let the high visibility of those larger markets fool you into thinking that’s all there is.

In cyberspace, all borders and boundaries are erased and people are free to explore whatever ideas and interests they have. In that vast, virtually connected world, there is a market for anything you can imagine.

If you doubt that, go to Amazon and get a copy of Shatnerquake.

Although this article doesn’t mention how to promote your books, it should be a sign of hope and encouragement. Just because the big publishers are collapsing doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful writer. You just have to focus on niche marketing and work with smaller publishers (like Eraserhead Press) who understand niche marketing.

However, I have to comment that I disagree that Shatnerquake and P&P&Z are proof that you can sell anything on the internet. They prove that books with crazy premises do really well these days, when before they never would have been given the light of day. But there are still tons of books that don’t sell no matter how much they are promoted, usually because their premises seem too derivative or boring. My advice: don’t be derivative and boring. Write books with crazy premises that appeal to niche audiences. And, most of all, have fun with what you’re writing. That should be your number one focus.

Promote Bizarro…on your car

Posted in Promoting Bizarro on June 2, 2009 by carltonmellick

If you want to help promote bizarro fiction, then an easy and effective way to do it is to completely deface your car with vinyl stickers that read “” like this:

bizarro car

This is a much better way to promote bizarro than a mere bumper sticker. People will be able to read it from several car-lengths back or even from sidewalks when you drive by pedestrians. It will only cost you $5 and if you happen to be a bizarro writer you might even be able to write off some of your car payments and/or gas as a business expense.

Here’s how you do it:

1) Buy some white letter vinyl stickers from a crafts store such as Michael’s. As I said, it only costs $5.
2) Cut out a white circle from the negative space on the sticker sheet. This is for the period of “.com”
3) Measure the letter stickers and then measure out the length of the back of your car. Then figure out how much space between letters you’ll be able to work with. You’ll have to get the spacing just right or it will look sloppy.
4) With the trunk closed, start from the middle and then go outwards. When we put on the stickers for “” we started with the letters “e” and “n” then did the letters “c” and “t” then “o” and “r” and so on. This will make help with spacing it evenly.
5) If the letters go over the opening of the trunk, just cut through the stickers and curl the edges inwards. It will look fine.

This is an easy way to promote bizarro. Rose O’Keefe has this on the back of her car and she has heard from several people (who are now fans) who have said they discovered bizarro just by seeing her car around town. If you’re willing to sticker up your car, I highly recommend it.