If I wasn’t already convinced of the power of word of mouth, the Veronica Mars movie proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt. This cancelled TV show has been off the air for ten years. Since then, show creator Rob Thomas (The other Rob Thomas) has been working to get a movie made.
Kickstarter was his last ditch effort.
If he could prove to Warner Bros (The guys who own the show) that there was enough interest in a movie, they’d pay for marketing, distribution, etc. So, Wednesday morning the campaign was started with a two million dollar goal to make within thirty days. But, TEN YEARS. That’s a long time to forget about the show.
The goal was reached in ten hours and donations are still coming in.
All day Wednesday the internet was on fire with people spreading the word. All the major entertainment outlets, celebs and schmoes like me. Did I mention TEN YEARS off the air? And it hasn’t lived on like Firefly has in comics or conventions, but people still managed to find and get sucked into it’s awesome. So, when Rob Thomas asked the fans to help him make this movie, we heard. That’s all he had to do. Ask. His product was THAT good.
*Fun factoid: Joss Whedon loved the show so much, he had a guest spot in an episode. You can look up which one if you want, but I say it’s more fun to watch the show and be surprised when you see him.
So, I’m thinking about how awesome word of mouth is as I see promo after promo passing through my timeline. Free book this, slashed prices that, if you like this, surely you’ll like my book, and so on. At face value, it’s not horrible promo, but it’s pretty useless if the product sucks.
There’s also more and more workshops and social media experts popping up. And since getting started is just an internet connection away, most of the advice is either recycled from better sources or worse, just plain bad. I think it gets people focusing too much of their energy on the wrong thing.
When a comedian is working on his act, he doesn’t offer free drinks to get people to come see the same material. He keeps reworking his material until it’s funny enough that you’ll pay anything to see his act.
If a band wants more fans at their gigs, they’re not going to light themselves on fire. Well, some might, but they still have to play some awesome songs to get people to come back. Lighting yourself on fire is only fun the first few times.
And if I want to sell books, endless promo isn’t going to do it. Only more awesome books will.
Because people talk about awesome. They tell their friends about it. They don’t talk as much about promo.
That’s why I’m taking my time to get better. There is a little of If I Don’t Finish Anything, I Can’t Suck going on, but it’s mostly a feeling of not ready yet. Still hanging in the Meh Zone. And if I put out a book that doesn’t do well, I won’t blame the system because it hasn’t changed much since the beginning of time. Kind of like that Who song: “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”
The people are the boss. Always have been, always will. The way they use their powers might change, but it’s still all in their hands. And, yes, I’m sure there are ways to manipulate people into liking my stuff, but I don’t think those tactics last in the long run. I don’t think Star Wars was a manipulation. I don’t think J.K. Rowling pulled a fast one on me. Their products were just REALLY good and will stand the test of time. Because people still talk about them.
So, I’m putting all my eggs in word of mouth. And if the words coming out of people’s mouths isn’t what I want to hear, it’s back to the drawing board as many times as it takes until I figure it out.