Monthly Archives: August 2013

“Demolition” Marketing

      A little over a year ago, I was contacted by an individual who happened to work for a company in the business of helping writers publish their work independently.  He explained that he doesn’t normally do this kind of thing, but he had just discovered my “abandoned” photography  through a friend with local ties,and he thought that a few of my blog posts would easily translate into an eBook format known as a “single”.    I didn’t give the idea a whole lot of thought at the time.  I just filed the information away, with the other hundreds of ideas we are exposed to about sharing information, and our creative endeavors, in the digital age.

     But I began to notice something, eBooks were showing up everywhere.  Career gurus, such as the people who write for sites like Careerealism and Personal Branding Blog were imparting their knowledge to the masses using eBooks.  Writers, photographers, bloggers, and even entertainers were distributing eBooks, usually for free, to promote their work to a larger audience, in the hopes that they would find more fans who would be willing to pay for their other creative offerings in the future.  So I started to collect information about how to format these digitally distributed books for myself, because I didn’t want to have to pay a service to do it for me.

    To make a long story short, when the demolition date was announced for the Hotel Sterling, I knew it would be the perfect time to create something as a tribute to the beloved local landmark, while capitalizing upon the opportunity to see how the whole eBook process works.  I used a blog post that I published back in March of 2012, titled “The UnDead Days: Part 1”, which is no longer available per the terms required to participate in Kindle Digital Services, as the inspiration for the eBook.  The idea was to present the history of the hotel in a creative way that would appeal to an audience who would normally not care to learn about a hotel built in the late 1800s.  And since “zombies” and “urban exploration” are trendy right now and could easily be tied, in a real-world way, to an abandoned hotel, I had a hunch it would do fairly well, so “Welcome To The Zombie Hotel Sterling” was born.

     To “market” my eBook, I decided to take advantage of the fact that the demolition itself would be a hot topic within my community.  I created four blog posts to use as marketing tools for the book, plus to (hopefully) contribute to the community discussion in a meaningful way:

Welcome to the Zombie Hotel Sterling

(obvious, I know!)

The Hotel Sterling: Five History Lessons 

What is History Really Telling Us?

Hotel Sterling: History Deconstructed

Whose Version of History Gets To Be Saved?

Hotel Sterling: Yesterday’s Papers Are Such Bad News

and, of course, I coordinated a photo upload to Flickr

     My efforts paid off well during the promotional period of the eBook.  “Welcome To The Zombie Hotel Sterling“, maintained the top spot as the #1 digital download in Amazon’s Historic Preservation category (ironically), as well as #1 in Pop Culture, from July 29th through August 4th, 2013, which included 5 promotional days, when it was offered as a free download.  And as I sit writing this, my little eBook still maintains the #1 spot on the PAID Historic Preservation digital best seller list,  and is #77 on the PAID Pop Culture best seller list.

     And now the question is, as I prepare to put together another eBook for distribution in the not-too-far-off-future, HOW do you break onto these lists, when you don’t have a major event, like the demolition of the subject of your book, to capitalize upon?

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