I’m calming down.
I get too upset, too easily. Little problems sometimes feel very big. Little frustrations, little failures, sometimes feel very big. I can get very emotional. A little while ago, a few words, a realization, a revelation, a simple email, got me so upset, so angry, that my vision literally went blurry. A few words. A small mistake. A communication failure. And anger.
I’m trying to calm down, though. I’m calming down. Nothing can be done. Anger can do no good. Emotional turmoil can not help, here. Nothing can. Too late.
Here we are: It’s May 1st, it’s supposed to be the deadline for my contest. You remember the one, where I ask people to tell me what Forget What You Can’t Remember is about, and the winners get free books & maybe their name in my next novel? Timed to coincide with the Podiobook’s completion two weeks ago, when hundreds of people would suddenly be able to consider and answer the question. Plus, by using a mid-roll ad, I could have a quick announcement of the contest inserted into the Intro of every episode of FWYCR downloaded from Podiobooks.com. Starting three weeks ago, a couple of chapters before the final chapter was posted, the ads were supposed to be started. This would have let everyone who was partially done with the book know about the contest, and the ad would have continued after it was complete -which is a trigger for a lot of people to go dl the rest of the book, and for many who like to listen to an entire book at once to begin- for the two weeks leading up to today. I had also hoped that this would spur people who might not be keeping up with new episodes to try to get through the rest of the book in time to enter the contest, and that if people started thinking about answering the question 3 weeks ago they might have a better chance of coming up with a good answer by today. In addition, my contest was announced over at Podioracket (I recorded an audio insert for them, similar to the one that was to be inserted mid-roll at podiobooks.com), and I blogged about it and tweeted it and talked about it with friends.
Yet I’ve only received two responses so far. Two. Two? Dozens of people have bought the paperback. At least 176 people have downloaded all 31 episodes from Podiobooks.com (and over a thousand have at least got the first chapter). Something like three thousand chapters should have had a reminder of the contest in them. Is my work so seriously a failure to engage an audience that only two people were willing to send an email to try to get a free book?
It’s hard to say.
See, the email that got me so upset was one that let me know that the person over at Podiobooks.com that I trusted to turn on the ad-insert … never turned it on. Maybe it was my fault for not being clear enough, or for putting too many thoughts/words into a single email. Maybe it was my fault for not checking sooner to be sure that they’d followed through. Maybe it was their fault for not doing it. Turns out it doesn’t matter whose fault it is – as is generally true, placing blame can’t alter the outcome of events. Deciding whose fault we think an error is doesn’t go back and run the ad in three thousand episodes. Nothing does. Nothing can go back and make the hundred and fifty plus people -who were actually engaged enough with my book to keep current with the episodes and/or to get the whole book as soon as it completed- aware of the contest.
I could extend the contest. 2/3 of the people who have at least downloaded two chapters haven’t finished downloading the rest of the book. I could extend the contest, make up a new version of the mid-roll ad, and hope that some of the people still listening will bother to answer. That’s certainly a possibility.
Instead, I’ll probably just send books to the two people who entered, put both their names in my next novel, and say ‘fuck all’ to running contests. And to relying on other people to do what they say they’ll do. And to the thought that I could ever build a fucking fan base. I’m pretty sure I could name all my fans, right now, and count them up without running out of fingers. I’ve been putting out books for five years, podcasting books for nearly a year, and I can’t get three people to send me an email to win a free book?