I am not normal. I know this, but sometimes it hits me like a gold-wrapped brick that my mind doesn't work the way other people's do. I think differently and, sometimes, different is good.
Back when I was in the doldrums of an unexpected year and a half between book and launch, I challenged myself to my 10K project: could I find 10,000 emails of people who were most likely to be interested in my book. (Trust me, this sort of insanity is preferable to the madness that comes from waiting around with nothing to do!) I met that goal and had a ridiculous Excel spreadsheet to offer my publisher and even inspired others to blog about my madness. So when I was recently inspired by Team Superman Sam to do something, I realized this was another example of "Dawn's Brains Gone Wild" and thought to share the process as another way to think about being resourceful with our books or any project that really fires you up.
During my stay in Chicago, I had been speaking to a woman during dinner about kids and hospitals and I learned about Superman Sam. He is a little boy with leukemia and is undergoing chemo right now and when I visited her blog, I discovered that she's asking folks to send photos of themselves dressed up as superheroes to cheer him on.
Well, thought I, I can do that!
...In fact, I know lots of people who would do that!
Thus began my newest brain activity. I contacted Sam's mom and asked her permission before I went hog-wild answering this request: she was aiming for 500 photos. I was aiming to ask that many people if they'd join-in. With her blessing, I posted a link on Twitter and FB, linking to her Facebook page and commenting there as well. I sent my own photo in ASAP and showed the result to the uncles/aunts/cousins/grandparents to get them talking. I then sent a separate email directly to those friends I thought would most likely a) own some Superhero gear & b) were most likely to be willing to dress up themselves or their kids and send a picture to Sam. (In fact, three of them asked if they could send it on to *their* groups of friends and keep it going. Green light all the way!) Then I started thinking outside the box.
Who did I know that had direct links to actual superheroes or superhero-figures in the world? I looked on my Twitter feed and other fannish sites and sent messages directly to people like Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, Joss Whedon, Felicia Day, Neil Patrick Harris, and Nathan Fillion asking them if they had a picture of a superhero to send to Superman Sam. (I have no idea if they replied, but it wasn't hard to put it out there.) I sent another note to people I knew in the business of video games, online gaming, three-d animation, and comic books to see if they had any leads. (Two of them did!) I wrote to writer friends. I linked to ThinkGeek who highlighted Superman Sam on their blog and then ended up donating $1000 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in his name. I pinged fellow nerdfighters and also Harry Potter activists. Then I did the easiest/hardest thing: I spoke to people in person--anyone I knew well enough in karate class, at my kids' school, in the bookstores, at the neighborhood bus stop...people who were inspired by the idea and then asked for the link (which I had in my smartphone) to add to the madness. I was particularly tickled by one karate friend who didn't own any superhero stuff but then emailed that she sent in a picture of her backyard with the "Fantastic Four" logo on it and signed it from the Invisible Woman! People were inspired the way I was & that feels powerful.
While I have no idea if I actually got 500 people to respond, my goal was to contact 500 people and now I'm adding YOU to the pot and offer a sneak peek on how I think about marketing and that we really do know far more people that are interested in things that we're passionate about than we *think* we know & while I know many writers are introverts at heart, there's an energy that we will give to a child in need or a desperate mom or a friend who asks us personally that sometimes we wouldn't be willing to give ourselves.
Give *yourself* permission to be passionate about your book, or whatever project lights you up, and go out and spread the word to people who would get on board. And then go link here, take a picture, and send it in. (And, for other ways to help, go here.)
500 smiling faces can't be wrong!