Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I'm doing something a little different on my blog today; I'm reviewing an upcoming ebook, DRACULAS. Why? As part of a marketing effort by the ebook's authors they have pre-released the book to blog authors who agreed to review the book on their blog or web site. Plus, I've interviewed one of the authors about their marketing efforts for the book. One further note: I got into this by reading J.A. Konrath's blog (on the blogroll to the right); he's one of the authors under his pen-name of Jack Kilborn.

By  Blake Crouch, Jack Kilborn, Jeff Strand, and F. Paul Wilson

Teaser chapters available here; full novel available here  for $2.99 on October 19th. For more information about the book see

If you're looking for a leisurely voyage into a world where vampires fall in love with young women, you'd better turn right around and head back inside. Maybe you should lock the door... there are dangerous things out here. Things that run ravening through a rural hospital and tear your expectations to shreds, right before they latch on to your throat and start to drink the rich red nectar. Oh, yeah, it's like that.

DRACULAS takes off running after just a step, and never lets up. The story takes place almost entirely within and around a hospital. Vampirisim turns out to be easily communicable, and it doesn't take long for someone to turn, so the problem escalates rapidly. The authors have chosen a fast-acting plague to create a fast action novel, and the characters are quickly sketched but memorable. Even the bad guys are given the chance to develop some interesting twists and turns.

There's plenty of graphic violence, and some horrific puns, and some choice movie references by the film buffs trapped in the hospital. If you like movie references, this will, in fact, make your day. The writing is well-honed; you barely feel the needle when it slides under your skin, until the punchline finds a nerve. I found it hard to believe that four different authors worked on this, since their styles meshed so well. It did feel at times as if there was some one-upsmanship going on, as I would find some gruesome scene where I thought "Wow, that's just nasty!" and then I'd find something even nastier in the next scene. The closest analogy I can give you is the recent film Machete, where there was some amazing action scenes that I just didn't expect, but thoroughly enjoyed.

Let's be clear: There are disturbing images in this novel that will haunt you for some time to come. The clown, oh my god, the clown... I didn't know I could laugh while grimacing in horror. If you like action, and horror, and a fast-paced novel with some twisted scenes you've never before encountered, this is the place for you.

Marketing DRACULAS

I asked some questions of Blake Crouch, one of the authors of DRACULAS, about their marketing efforts for the ebook.

What are the three most important marketing efforts for Draculas?

First, the grass roots pre-publication review campaign we initiated. We’ve had 260 people confirm advance reviews.  If 70% - 80% come through, we will consider this a rousing success.

Additionally, we are placing targeting advertising on KindleBoards and KindleNation.

Finally, we’re all sending out newsletters on the release date to our fan bases.

Are you able to track the effectiveness of different marketing efforts? If so, how?

We’ll only be able to directly track the review prong of the campaign. Of course, where DRACULAS debuts in the Kindle Store, and how long it stays there will be the ultimate test.

Do you expect Draculas to perform as well as other ebooks from any of the four authors? Better? Worse? Why?

Hard to say. We are pushing harder from a marketing and publicity standpoint than we ever have. We think the title, the premise, and the execution could make this a hot book, coupled with the strategic near-Halloween release date. Potential drawbacks…will people be enthused for a 4-way collaboration, and will the violence in this book be a drawback for some?

How much time, between all of you, do you expect to put in on marketing Draculas?

We have invested about two weeks toward marketing and promotion.

I'll be interested to see how their promotional efforts pay off for them. I suspect it will have been well worth the two weeks of effort in terms of additional sales. Combining the existing fan bases should prove very useful not only for this novel, but for cross-promoting other novels. Authors who can seek out their author friends and cross-promote are probably going to get some good results for not a lot of effort.

Of course, it all starts with having a good product. An interesting aspect here is that because it's an ebook, they were able to put in a lot of extra material: An interview with the authors, short stories, excerpts from novels, bibliographies and biographies, and an extensive look into the creative process via hundreds of emails the authors exchanged. All of this adds to the value, and at $2.99 it brings me back to the casual book-buying days of my youth.

Among other things for marketers to note about this: They have a well-designed cover; they've established a web site just for the book; it's being published on multiple platforms; and they've gotten some additional promotion through this effort to get pre-release copies into the hands of bloggers like me.

I think it will be a happy Halloween for the authors of DRACULAS.

UPDATE: The marketing is a success... read about it in this post.

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