Recently there has been a fun meme going around about inserting “And then the murders began,” as the second line in your favorite book. For example:
One sunny Sunday, the caterpillar was hatched out of a tiny egg. He was very hungry. And then the murders began. (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle)
Not all the examples have it being exactly the second sentence; for some it fits better being elsewhere in the opening.
And then I realized April Fools Day was only a few days away.
A few months ago I not only stopped releasing a short story in The Cities of Luna every month, I stopped doing any promo. No huge surprise… my sales numbers didn’t change. Just a few sales each month.
I saw an opportunity for a publicity stunt that would cost me several hours of work, but no actual money. (I did end up spending $8 to boost a post on facebook.) I had been meaning to go back through all 20 stories in the series to make sure their formatting is identical, and to add a list of the stories to the back of each. After doing this, I went through and inserted “And then the murders began” somewhere in the opening of each story, then I uploaded THAT version to Smashwords. (I left Amazon alone.)
I did this on March 31, then throughout the day on April first I shared my own memes, one for each story. Something did work… I got a lot of interaction, mostly with friends asking “WTF?”
I wasn’t pinning my hopes and dreams on this going viral and making my sales skyrocket, but I know that you can never tell exactly what folks will latch onto, so it was worth a try.
No, my sales did not skyrocket. But a lot of people who only know me casually got a much better idea of the fact that I am a writer lol! I’m re-uploading the up-to-date and murderless versions now.
And who knows? Maybe years from now someone will say “Aren’t you AmyBeth Inverness? I remember when you did that murder-thing with all your books…”
This is the beginning of the second round of words in eighty days. I’m postponing defining my goals because in a few weeks I’ll be at the 25th annual Pikes Peak Writers conference and I want to talk to my mentors and peers about what direction to take with my career and with this series in particular.
When I examine my career as it is, I’m not at a loss. I have some very clear things I need to do, such as revamping my website so it is more professional. In particular, I need to redo my published works page so the more recent items are at the top. I need to finish something besides COL and do something with it. I’m not floundering…I just need to make things happen while still juggling all the challenges of family life.
What would YOUR story be like if you added “And then the murders began…” to the beginning?
I’d need a different line… “and then the murders began” would be too close to what I normally write, no one would bat an eye. :p