Prancercise: The WTF of self publishing

I came across Johanna Rohrback’s Prancercise video on youtube yesterday, most likely as did 99,73% of the rest of the Earth’s population. It appears to have surged through the collective consciousness much like the arrival of an alien starship hovering over Washington DC. I am certainly left wondering if aliens have played some horrible joke on us by unleashing the material that will lead humanity in droves to prance around parks and sidewalks, at least for the next 92 seconds that this current fad manages to capture our microscopic attention spans.

I am not going to comment on the value of the workout that Mrs. Rorhback proposes. After participating in high performance sports for more than 25 years, I will simply say that it isn’t something I’d be doing. Neither am I going to comment on the public’s reaction to it. This is being documented far better than I care to in other places.

The cover to the greatest work of PR ever. This week.

I will take a moment to speak about how this phenomenon applies to self-publishing. A quick look at Amazon’s Prancercise page shows that the book is published by Wingspan press, a self-publishing site. I don’t know if the youtube video is part of their marketing campaign or not, but there certainly are a lot of eyeballs glued to it. Over 2,7 million views. Crazy! I’d wager that the author would make more off of a monetized video than any book sales, unless people start buying the book to offer it as a prank gift.

The book reviews on Amazon are worth taking a moment to read as well. There are some very creative reviews. Clearly, they are meant as parodies or designed to poke fun at the book, but many have left me chuckling or even laughing myself to tears.

It will be interesting to see what happens to this book in terms of sales. Maybe I need to take some inspiration from Mrs. Rohrback’s approach and come up with something completely ludicrous to market my book. Hmmm…maybe this is an excuse to do what I’ve always wanted: film plop on some Elf ears, let my hair (what’s left of it) grow way out, and film myself dancing, shooting bows and arrows, and baking cookies or extolling the virtues of lembas bread (once I make my mind up whether I am a Wood Elf, or Keebler Elf) !


Keeping perspective – when orks fight

The young reader’s short novel I am working on right now is progressing nicely. I manage to get a a little writing in every day. This helps me keep my momentum up while letting ideas simmer and brew in the back of my mind for the next day’s typing. I rattled out the lines below as part of last night’s writing. They are still an early draft, but I am quite pleased with the pacing and growing tension.

“If I had a moment to think about it, I would have one last forlorn thought for my axe. Instead, I scoop up Grork’s sturdy steel shield as I dash past it. It was forged by the finest Steel Ork smiths of Krimlork. It isn’t pretty to look at, but is almost as tough as basilisk scale. It is also heavy, which is perfect for what I have to do next. I brace my shoulder firmly against it and duck my head low. Another step carries me into the creature’s side.

The impact rattles my tusks. It is like I have charged into the very mountain wall beyond the tent. After what feels like an eternity later, I hear the creature grunt from our collision, and we begin tumbling to the ground. Our trajectory takes us over my father’s cot. I briefly catch a look of complete surprise in his eyes as he glimpses both of us sailing over his bed space.

We land in a heap. I try to roll to my feet, but I get tripped up in my father’s things. The creature is much quicker than I am despite its enormous bulk. It springs upright and grabs a hold of my chest with a massive paw. It is also apparently much stronger than I. I struggle in vain as its vice-like grip begins to crush my throat and ribs. It rears its other mighty hand back, its fist clenched and ready to cave in my head. Despite the infamous thickness of our skulls, I suspect this beast will have no more difficulty squashing me into a pulp than it would a grape.”

I’ve always been one to see things from outside the box, so when I decided I’d write a fantasy-themed book, I approached things from a different direction. There are tons of stories out there that relate the epic accomplishments of the likes of dwarven, elvish, and human adventurers. I haven’t really found anything about the world as seen by orks. This is my attempt to populate that space, and generate a new set of adventures.

Writing a story is an endurance event

Persistence pays off, even for Orks.

There’s still a lot of work that has to get done, but as the illustrations roll in, and I close in on my draft’s last few chapters, I get a sense that persistence will pay off.

I plan to keep posting excerpts on a periodic basis. If you have any thoughts or comments, please let me know. I will incorporate any helpful feedback, making it a stronger, more legible offering.