Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Middle School and Bullying: A Look at Google Trends

Lately, as I look for opportunities to bring my Alexander Adventure books into the hands of more readers, I've been using the Google Trends tool for some insights into some of the key search terms associated with my stories. If you're not familiar with it, Google Trends allows you to track the search history for given terms, and look at historical trends for that search term going back over ten years.

By studying these trends, I'm hoping to develop a strategy and a timetable for my future Alexander efforts.

I've found some interesting results

Every September, as kids go back to school, there's a spike in searches for the phrase "middle school" as new incoming students attempt to allay their fears.
Every October, as school culture develops,  there's a spike in searches for the phrase "bullying." It's clear that some kids are maneuvering for advantage—and some are losing out.

Cyberbullying (which you will notice has little history as a search term before 2009) has a slightly different result. As with bullying, there's a spike in October, but there's also a second spike in April. We could speculate that spring vacation offered a fresh opportunity to engage in harassment. Curiously, there's no similar spike during winter vacation. Perhaps the "battle lines" aren't as clearly drawn. Or maybe everyone's just enjoying the holiday.

As I develop my plans for the fall, I'll be keeping in mind this timeline. I'll look for opportunities to talk and write about these issues during the critical months of August through October. Alexander is all about facing, overcoming and triumphing over fear. I want him to be there when kids (and their parents) are looking for answers.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Marketing to Make a Difference

If there's one thing I've learned since I've launched my Alexander series,  it's that marketing as an indie author is a long-term game. To a great extent, it's about building up my Brand. I've come to better understand the difference between a Brand and a Product. The books are my Products. Rich Samuels, the author, is the Brand. More precisely, Rich Samuels, an author who has written three books about facing, overcoming and triumphing over fear (or to be more precise exact) bullying is the brand.
Quora Logo

Bringing this a step further, because of my experience in writing about the subject, I can speak with some expertise about subjects involving fear and bullying. Drill down even further, and one could say that as a fiction writer (someone who by trade interprets human interaction) I can provide a unique perspective on the subject that is separate and distinct from (but complimentary to) counselors/therapists/psychologists who approach the issue from a more analytical perspective.

Alexander's journey is all about perception. His response to the world around him changes as his understanding of that world evolves. Fearing the worst brings out the worst in him. With growing confidence, he not only becomes a better person, but helps someone else face his own fear.

One of the steps I've taken to develop my Brand is to contribute to, "a question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, edited and organized by its community of users." In a few weeks time, I've become a "Most Viewed Writer on School Bullying" answering numerous questions about the nature of bullying. You can check it out here. Some questions were simple expressions of curiosity. Others, it seemed, express a real crisis.

My experience with Quora, and my evolving opportunities to publicly talk about fear and bullying has become more than simply a marketing game. It's an opportunity to reach out and make a difference.