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    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2011
    So earlier this week Neil Gaiman & HarperCollins announced they would be doing a 10th Anniversary edition of the audio version of American Gods by way of a full cast recording. By way of bringing attention to the deal they are running a contest for a guest spot in the cast.

    As I'm starting out in the voice over world and as I'm a considerable Gaiman/AG fan this was totally a thing that I needed to do. I fired up Audacity (that is I downloaded it and gave myself a crash course) and connected my microphone and got rolling. Here's my submission! Please vote for me! I do have to admit it's a bit of an involved process, registering with the site and then searching for my submission (my last name seems to work - "san roman"), but please oh please oh please this would be so awesome!!

    So anyhow. I promise this has a point greater than self-promotion. As I was dealing with the site (a bit involved, like I mentioned) I got to thinking about other events publishers put together to promote a product that requires audience participation. There are a couple of approaches available - media that is for straight forward consumption, e.g. mini-movies or sizzle reels that are an attempt at viral marketing, Web sites, traditional radio or TV spots. And there are more interactive efforts like contests and sometimes events that are a...thing...unto themselves, e.g. ARGs.

    I like ARGs because they inspire an investment on the part anyone playing, but do they really work? Do they build buzz appropriately? ultimately, do they move product? Contests are somewhat time-tested - calling, writing or otherwise turning in material in the hopes of being the chosen one. (It wrankles a little bit that in the above contest the first round is determined by how many friends a person can convince to jump through the hopes on a daily basis, versus anyone else. Quality/skill only come into play at round 2.) Anyhow, whether an entry is chosen at random or the contestant has to employ some skill & talent to be acknowledged, there is only the buzz that comes off of this. Are there any public numbers on the turn around for the investment? Basically, do these things work? Anyone have any direct experience?

    It's always struck me as a little weird to see a book advertised, honestly. Though that's simply because ad media for books have to exist out of books - they have to pop up on signs in the subway, a viral YouTube video or blurbs in the newspaper or magazine (which have their own problems what with print versions going the way of the dodo). Overwhelmingly I pick up a book for one of two reasons - I'm already a fan of the author or friends have been going on about it and I've decided to see what the fuss is about. Now, "friends going on about" pretty much always means they've read the book in question and enjoyed it - not that they saw the Web site or even were in the sizzle reel, which has been true for various publications.

    What do you say works for convincing the reading public (or, I guess, listening public for audio books) to pick up a specific book? What has moved you? Hear an author interview and decide to pull up Amazon and see what's posted there? Is getting fans in on the back-and-forth a good idea, especially if they can participate in some of the end product? Clearly, following Ellis as close as we do means we're in on his latest projects. But that's author-access. What about actual content access? What do you think?

    Oh, and also: Vote for me! Thanks. }:>