Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Note On Ads & Promotions

I just wanted to address a few few issues that some have voiced concerned about vis-a-vi advertising - specifically advertising on this blog and my own promotion of my book and other projects. Those who've had such concerns, please hit the jump for more. Those who don't care, wait just a moment because a new (and overdue) "OverBytes" episode will be going up right above this one shortly after it's posted.

Okay, firstly to the issue of on-site ads. It's been brought to my attention that the infamous "For Male Gamers Only" ads have been popping up in the rotation on this blog. Rest assured that I'm as annoyed by this as you are, that I did not ask for them to be present and that as soon as I have the means to do so I plan to block them from re-appearing further. For now, I apologize to anyone who was offended by their presence.

Why not block them right now? Well, the issue is that this blog uses a Google Adsense partnership in order to display ads as unobtrusively as possible. The way that works is that I effectively "sell" specific empty spaces on the site to Google, who in turn provide the ad content. For the most part, these ads not only change (ideally) each time the page is re-loaded, but which ads appear are often influenced by the browsing-history of the individual person logging on. As such, in order to blacklist an individual ad or an entire advertiser, I need to first see the ad trigger for me and then follow it back to it's source in order to get the correct URL for a complete block.

As of yet, I haven't been able to grab that code because the offending ads have not been triggering for my browsing in a manner condusive to reaching the source (no, just looking up the company's site has not done the trick) but I'm working to resolve this. If any fellow adsense participants out there have dealt with these ads already themselves, I more than welcome them to post the relevant info here.

Now, as to my book:

I appreciate that some folks have become tired with promotions for either the sale of "Brick-By-Brick" or a public-appearance book signing appearing so frequently on the blogs and at the tail-end of my various series. I'll be honest - I don't necessary grasp why some are so bent out of shape about them (I wanted them to be as skippable as possible, which is why they're both at the very end and just part of the clip rather than some kind of hyperlinked/unskippable thing) - but I'm sympathetic to both the "I don't want to see ads" and "I've seen this advertised too often" positions. I understand this, I only ask that readers also to understand my end of the situation.

I've been pretty open and clear about this, but just to reiterate: I'm not one of the internet personalities for whom this is a hobby, a student project or supplement income - This is my entire job right now. Escape to The Movies, Big Picture, Game OverThinker, OverBytes and all their attendant separate profit-streams are my sole source of income. I'm not looking for sympathy there. These are time-consuming jobs, but they're also fun jobs and while I don't earn nearly as much as I would in an office job, or in retail, or construction I'm doing alright for myself. Still, the economy is the economy and every little bit helps.

I'm not going to get into hard numbers here, but these are the facts re: "Brick-By-Brick." Nobody paid me to write it. I didn't get a contract, there was no down-payment, I didn't use a Kickstarter. I wrote the initial manuscript, then I shopped the pitch around until I secured an arrangement I liked the look of with a publisher who would handle the editing, formatting, online-sales, shipping, warehousing, etc. However, the actual costs of printing the first run of physical copies was paid for by me. Period.

That wasn't, I stress, the only option - sharing the expense with the publisher was also a possibility, and while that would have provided a "cushion" should the book turn out to not be success it also would've meant a lower overall profit for me if it did end up selling well (it also would've potentially delayed the release, which I didn't want either.) I decided to roll the dice on "this will work out." My only "insurance" move was to have a portion of the first run of physical copies sent to me while the majority went to the publisher. My allocation (though, since I paid for them I can always ask for more) roughly evened-out to the number I'd need to sell (at regular price) to cover the initial printing cost, the idea being that if worst came to worst and nobody bought any copies online I could maybe eventually break-even selling these on the convention circuit.

As it turns out, I was selling the book's appeal a bit short: Again, without getting into specific numbers, between copies sold at SGC 2013 and the subsequent online-profits, I actually made all of my initial investment back (and then some) in roughly the first week and a half of sales. Never in a million years did I expect a response like that - in fact I'd been steeling myself for exactly the opposite - and I remain awestruck and grateful to all my fans and readers for making it possible. Basically, this project that I took a total leap on with no assurance of succeeding was in fact a success (and a profitable one) right out of the gate; and thank you so much to everyone who bought a copy - I can only hope you find it worthy of your money and time.

Now, on the one hand, that means I probably won't be keeping a full-scale ad blitz going for much longer because, frankly, it's not necessary. There will continue to be mentions on this site and I'll keep the post-credits ads on relevant videos where appropriate, and I'll tweet about it, but the P.T. Barnum routine won't be needed; and as glad as many of you will be too hear that rest assured I'm much gladder.

On the other hand... the remainder my overly-cautious "insurance" allocation of physical copies (cut roughly in-half by SGC and the event at Comicazi) is still taking up space in my apartment. And since the Escapist Expo is still aways off (and since I don't know what the "rules" are for selling at PAXEast - though I can confirm that copies will be at Fangamer's booth at PAX Prime) I figured setting up some potentially high-turnout signing events would be as good a way as any to move some of that inventory - especially when ACAM said they were interested, I've wanted to do some kind of event there for years.

So... yeah. Basically, I overestimated how much in-person selling I needed to do on my own, but I'd still like to move that inventory all the same hence the signing events. And when those crop up, yes, I'm going to promote them. But if things keep going the way they've been going (i.e. very well) the ad-blitzes for those won't be nearly as frequent going forward as well. Again, I appreciate the "broken record" aspect of promoting this project, but this is a business for me and sometimes that entails advertising.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.