Here’s this month’s (or maybe last month’s) Fiverr project, in which I pay someone five bucks to promote my books for me. I’ll let my friend Dobber tell you the rest; many thanks to Dobber’s alter-ego baldy!
(No offense intended to fans of car racing, who I’m sure are a very intelligent and literate bunch.)
I like to think that I’m good at endings; that’s part of the reason I filled The Nobodies Album with so many of them. This past month, as I’ve browsed Fiverr (and authorized so many $5 PayPal payments that my bank, at one point, froze my credit card), I’ve wondered what the best note to end on would be. Every time I received a really great video–or poem or drawing or menu or what have you–I thought about saving it for the last day, and then I decided to post it sooner. My husband can tell you I’m no good at waiting or keeping things to myself; he always knows what he’s getting for Christmas by December 15th.
So I decided to go in a different direction. One Fiverr gig that I considered and rejected a number of times was this one by acidmoxy: “I will think good thoughts about you.”
I love the idea of someone I don’t know wishing me well. It’s simple and intangible and good-hearted, and I imagine that if I let it, it could become addictive: At one particularly low point, Parkhurst was spending several hundred dollars a day on Internet karma.
I went back and forth about whether to order this job, and finally I followed the logic that has guided so much of my Fiverr buying: when else am I going to have a reason to do this? But after I bought the gig, it occurred to me that its link to this project was a little bit tenuous. I wondered: should I ask acidmoxy to “think good thoughts” specifically related to the sale of my books?
Here’s the thing: I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I’ve been on the New York Times bestseller list. Twice. And I highly recommend it; I hope I’ll have a chance to go back there someday. It’s like a really good day spa, if day spas also made you insecure and a little bit egotistical.
But do I write because I want to sell books? No. If I could ask the universe to give me good karma in only one area of my life, would it be book sales? Not by a long shot. My life is as rich and hard and boring and joyful as anyone’s. I have kids, vulnerable and resilient in the way kids are, and they give me many scattered things to worry about and a few clear things to hope for. If I have any coherent thought at the moment of my death, I don’t think it’s going to be, “I wish I’d sold a few more copies of The Nobodies Album.”
One of the best teachers I ever had was Mr. Snow, in the sixth grade. He had us write a short story every single week, and his ideas for assignments were inspired. During that year, I wrote about getting locked in a toy store overnight, and I wrote about opening an amusement park on the moon. And one week, Mr. Snow asked us to imagine that we were the hosts of a talk show. Our guest on this particular episode? Our future selves.
I was eleven, and my ideas about the future were pretty hazy, but there were a few elements I was very clear on. I wrote that future-me was married and had two children, a boy and a girl. I wrote that she was a novelist, who did her writing while her kids were at school. I wrote that she was happy.
Of course, nothing is as simple as you think it will be when you’re eleven, and no fantasy achievements ever turns out to be as clear-cut you thought it would be. But I’ve done it: I’ve gotten the future I imagined for myself.
I hope that I’m able to keep writing until I die. I hope that my work strikes a chord with someone, that it reaches the right readers at the right time. And the rest of the things I hope for have very little to do with my work. After a little clarification about how exactly I was supposed to “open my chakras,” I asked acidmoxy to think good thoughts about me, and I didn’t offer any more specific direction than that.
I’ve had a lot of fun doing this project, and I’ve also developed something of a Fiverr habit, so I’ve decided to turn this into an ongoing feature: once a month, I’ll pay someone to do something really dumb in the name of book promotion, and I’ll post the results for you to see. In the meantime: thanks for reading and watching this month. Buy my books, or don’t. I wish good things for us all.
And because The Nobodies Album is all about multiple possible endings for the same work: Beatboxing!
Yesterday, I posted a lovely fortune cookie photo that Fiverr user madmoo made for me; today, I offer you another one of her creations.
I asked madmoo to write a message on a piece of paper and tie it to a helium balloon. She then released the balloon on September 15th, somewhere in the United Kingdom, and watched it float away. My message was, basically, a coupon, entitling the bearer to a free copy of The Nobodies Album. It’s unlikely that anyone will ever collect, but if they do, I’ll be more than happy to send them their reward.
Isn’t this what I’ve been doing all along, anyway–sending messages up into the air, hoping they’ll land where someone might find them?
Hire madmoo here: http://fiverr.com/madmoo/write-a-message-on-a-tag-on-a-latex-helium-filled-balloon-and-release-it-with-photographic-evidence-which-i-will-send-to-you
You can also follow her on Facebook: www.fiverr.com/madmoofiverr
So we’re coming to the end of this thing, and it turns out that I have a few more of these tantalizing $5 book promos than I actually need. Sometimes sellers don’t come through with their products for one reason or another, which is certainly understandable, given that they’re only getting $4 after Fiverr takes its cut. Among the items I ordered and had to cancel were a limerick, an airbrushed t-shirt and a guy dancing with my URL painted on his belly; even now, I’m waiting anxiously to see if my beatboxing gig is delivered in time to post. So I ordered a few extra items, to cover any possible shortfall, and today I’m offering up a veritable buffet of Fiverr goodness: five separate book promos, all awesome, but perhaps not show-stopping enough to get their own day. Enjoy!
1. “I will draw a simple cartoon version of your face.” Thanks to Fiverr user jeyodin09, who studied my author photo and redrew it completely from scratch.
2. “I will model next to an object of your choice.” Thanks to reel_production, who you can hire here: http://fiverr.com/reel_production/model-next-to-an-object-of-you-choice
3. “I will give you a memorable nickname.” Thanks to Fiverr user chowchow.
My new nicknames, which I will be using in conjunction with my new logo (see yesterday) are: Retweeter, ZibbityRibbit and The Oracle.
4. “I will make fortune smile on you with your very own fortune cookie message.” Thanks to madmoo, who has the distinction of being the only Fiverr seller I bought two items from; the other will appear on Friday. Get your own fortune cookie here: http://fiverr.com/madmoo/make-fortune-smile-on-you-with-your-very-own-fortune-cookie-message
5. “I will write and perform a song for you.” Thanks to babymonkey, who can be hired here: http://fiverr.com/babymonkey/write-and-perform-a-song-for-you
You know what was cool about Elvis? Well, lots of things. But one of the things that was cool about Elvis was that he had his own personal emblem: TCB (for “Taking Care of Business”), the letters arranged around a glittering lightning bolt. He had it made into jewelry, printed on his stationery and stenciled on the tail of his airplane, the Lisa Marie.
Thanks to Fiverr user jimfit, I have now joined the elite ranks of Elvis and those few others who have been lucky enough to have their own personal logo. Here it is, for posterity and book promotion. Picture it encrusted with diamonds, hanging from a gold necklace.
A catchy jingle is an advertising staple, but not many of them have been written about novels. But that’s about to change. Introducing “The Nobodies Album Jingle.” It’ll be running through your head all day.
Oh, my God, you guys. CLAYMATION. This is amazing. It’s like “Davy and Goliath,” but with less proselytizing. And it’s definitely worth way more than five dollars.
Many thanks to Fiverr user sunnywaters. (I’d like to tell you where you can go to ask sunnywaters to make you your own claymation video, but she seems to have taken the gig down. Possibly because she’s realized she could charge a lot more for this service.)