A recent post at Dear Author explores The Limits of Marketing: When Does Manipulation Go Too Far and questions whether some publicity stunts cross an ethical line. After reading the post I realized just how fierce the competition is for science fiction romance. It's difficult enough to gain visibility under normal marketing circumstances, let alone when some authors engage in questionable/manipulative, yet clearly effective strategies.
All I can say is I know what type of marketing strategies work for and on me. If I sense any kind of manipulation, I tune out. However, I can be won over with an entertaining, innovative marketing strategy.
I'd like to direct your attention to Exhibit A:
A few years ago, independent Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Álvarez made a really cool video called Ataque de Pánico! (Panic Attack!). I first learned about it at SF Signal. Check it out (you only have to watch the first 2 minutes to get the gist):
According to the Wikipedia entry,
A trailer of the film was uploaded to YouTube in October 2006, with some scenes from the finished version. The official production budget of the film was given as only $300. In addition to writing, editing and directing the film, Álvarez created the visual effects based on computer-generated imagery.
The video, which was free, went viral. As a result, Álvarez got noticed in a big way:
In fact, Álvarez is the director of the EVIL DEAD 2013 reboot!
Ataque de Pánico! was a marketing strategy for the aspiring filmmaker, but it was a very appealing form of marketing. He worked hard and gave me free, compelling entertainment. That kind of marketing gets me interested in a person's work. I also feel invested in his future success because it means even more entertainment for me!
$300.00 leveraged into $30 million!
What if SFR could deliver something similar--not necessarily a video--just some kind of entertainment in order to increase appeal and visibility? Granted, Álvarez had a very specific skill set and is operating in a different medium, but I can't help but wonder: what can authors of science fiction romance take away from his strategy?