My Free, Passive Marketing Experiment, Day 1

It’s a simple plan, really, inspired mostly by my wife and my sister in law.

What happened was this: my sister in law was kind enough to purchase a copy of Home To Roost, even though she’s not an avid reader. That’s fine, of course. She had said copy lying about her home when a friend came over. The friend saw the copy on the coffee table, was drawn in by my brilliant cover design (I’ll let you decide if that’s sarcasm or not), and asked about the book. My sister in law, who hadn’t read it, told her what little bit she knew. Her remarks, combined with the blurb on the back, were enough to get her friend to ask if she could borrow it.

A few days later, that experience had translated into another 5-star review. Hooray!

My wife, after hearing that story, has joked about leaving copies lying around for people to see. And then I thought I’d actually give it a try, in a limited fashion.

See, I work in libraries often. I pick a table, pull up a chair, set up my laptop, and write for hours. So, what I’m going to do is bring a copy of Home To Roost with me to the library, set it out on a table, and just keep an eye on it while I work–see if anybody glances at it, picks it up, etc. Maybe it will be revealing, maybe it won’t.

Today was a won’t-be-revealing kind of day, I decided.

I set up to write in my usual place, and left the paperback a good twenty feet away, on a separate table. I’d only been working for about ten minutes when I got my first interaction between the paperback and a library patron.

Unfortunately, it was also the last.

Some young people–I want to say that they were homeless based on their level of grunge, but it can be hard to tell with millennials–came and sat around the book. One of them, a tired girl in a drab hoodie, glanced at the book. Then set her Mountain Dew next to it.

The group had apparently come to the library for a ten-year-old’s version of a feast, because they proceeded to pull out candy from their backpacks. Red Vines, Peanut Butter Cups, Jelly Beans…it seemed everything was represented. Then they ate candy, drank soda, and watched loud videos on their phones, alternating between ones where people were screaming, and ones where people were laughing.

Eventually the girl fell asleep. The guys took turns going outside for a smoke break, one of them always standing guard over their candy-wrapper horde while the others smoldered their cigarettes away outside. The lot were kind of like a group of dragons. (What is the term for a group of dragons, by the way? I don’t know. I’ll make one up.) The lot were kind of like a fantasy of dragons.

Anyways, one by one, the candy got to them. Just before I left for the day, the last one slipped into a sugar coma on the library’s couch, my book lying between the lot.

I packed up my computer, then sneaked between the sleepers and recovered my paperback, then went home. As soon as I arrived, I adjusted the e-book price of Home To Roost from $2.99 to FREE, but only for the next five days. I suppose, after how things went at the library, I felt like I still needed to do something. This is all experimental, anyways. All in the name of science. Whatever.

Anyways, get it while it’s hot. Or free.

And hopefully, tomorrow’s library experiment will go better.

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