What the Funk?

Last week I may have mentioned something about an essay contest — one that had an actual prize. It was a spur of the moment thing and now that I think about it it probably could have used a little planning. Just a smidge. Maybe.

Seth Harwood, a San Franciscan crime writer by way of Boston, released his second book, YOUNG JUNIUS, last Monday and called out to his friends to help him rush the Amazon charts. I consider Seth a friend and I’ve been helping him promote his endeavors whenever. Helping him push YOUNG JUNIUS would be no exception, only I already had a copy for myself. Easy solution, I’ll buy a release copy and give it away. Perfect.

Then the wheels started turning. Probably could have used a little grease. I could smell burning from the friction. But the wheels they turned.

I had seen another author give away a copy of his book by getting his fans to write an essay. Twist here is I’m not the writer. I’m just a friend and a fan. So the idea came together that I would get people from my circle of influence to submit an essay on why they deserved a copy of Seth’s new book. They had to post on their blog or publicly and include links to both Seth’s site an the site of the publisher, Tyrus Books.

Crazy thought was this contest would generate enough buzz for Seth and Tyrus Books, through the links from the dozen or so submissions, that maybe both could see a sale or two extra.  A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I had the bird, I was hoping to shake that bush.

Unfortunately there wasn’t a contest. However, there was a winner.

I’m not sure what I did wrong. Was it timing? Do I have absolutely no influence? Maybe I should get that book on influencing enemies? Maybe everyone would would have wanted the book already ordered it? (if so, I’ve got a happening set of friends)

Probably a little bit of everything. I’m a writer and a programmer, not a marketing genius.

Maybe I should have consulted Matthew Funk: a social media consultant, professional marketing copywriter and writing mentor. He’s all that and a bag of chips. Matthew has been around the block as genre editor for FictionDaily and contributor to Spinetingler Magazine, as well as having contributed to just about every crime fiction website.

So Matthew knows his stuff and more than likely knew that a copy of YOUNG JUNIUS is most definitely worth 300 words.

I deserve a copy of Young Junius because I am special, just like Young Junius is—at least Dr. Rubineck told me so, before what happened to him. Dr. Rubineck would know what special is, because he used to always tell me I could trust him. After what Dr. Rubineck did to me, I suspect he was probably a special person too.

Dr. Rubineck was put in charge of special people at my school, not because of how warm his hands were, but because he was a doctor. When I was first sent to him after I broke the globe over Mrs. Beaker’s head, Dr. Rubineck told me that he got into the business of helping special people because he could not stop himself from loving us. I wanted to fit in with someone who loved me, just like Young Junius does, right from the start of the book you should give me. I fit with Dr. Rubineck really good, or so I thought.

I thought a lot of bad things, and even had bad dreams, like Marlene in the book, except that they did not come true on their own—I had to make them come true. For instance, when I had the bad dream about DeShawn kicking me in the stomach, it did not come true until after I hit him in the face. That is why I ate those mice, too. Mr. Rubineck understood. He showed me he did when he made my bad dreams about him come true in those special sessions after school. Later, I made other, worse dreams about him come true.

Young Junius is really a story about a special person making special things come true, just like me, and that is why I deserve a copy. They have me locked up in a place where they make us all wear the same jumpsuit and eat the same thing, so we forget we are special. People need to read stories like Young Junius so they will never forget how special we all are—especially me.

Good stuff Matthew. You are special and you helped me find a home for YOUNG JUNIUS.

Enjoy! And if you have any tips for future contests and challenges, shoot them my way.

  • I don’t think you did anything wrong so much as (1) most people are lazy, (2) some had already ordered the book, and (3) some, like me, probably didn’t think we’d be creative enough to win so we didn’t even enter. None of which is a failing on your part.

  • Thanks, Ron. Chalk it up to further proof that the internet is a fickle mistress. Very fickle indeed.

    Thanks so much for running this, giving away the book, and to your special friend for his winning essay. ;-D