Years ago, I read about the idea of guerrilla marketing: a low cost way to try to attract interest. The core was to post something mysterious, funny, or inexplicable that would get people to notice something and that you could use to tie to what you wanted people to buy.

With my new book For the Favor of a Lady coming out on March 25 (via Water Dragon Publishing) I thought perhaps I could attract some interest doing something other than just plugging the books.

I figured out one way to avoid just plugging by attaching my announcements to the story fragments I write for #vss365. Every day there is a new prompt and I usually write a one tweet story fragment. Periodically, I write a fragment that references characters and situations from my existing stories and, as a second tweet in the thread, I add a pitch for my stories. I don’t have metrics that indicate it “works”, but it makes me feel better than posting and reposting the same plug. But I wanted to try something new.

On the book covers, we’ve begun to develop some motifs. One is that each cover has a dirigible on it. And we’ve also added some framing around the edges. So I wondered if I could take some photographs that had framing like that and then photoshop in a dirigible.

I went through all my old pictures and found that I basically didn’t have any pictures that that kind of framing. So I gave up on the part.

I went to Flickr and found three pictures of dirigibles that were by themselves in the sky (easily photoshoppable) and were not restricted against remixing or commercial use. In some cases, I had to make some adjustments (erasing text on the dirigible). And then I inserted them into some pictures.

“Good Year Blimp” flickr photo by tequilamike shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
“Goodyear Blimp” flickr photo by Phil_Parker shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
“German Zeppelin NT” flickr photo by Kecko shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

It worked about as well as I could have hoped. (OK — I could always hope that it would go viral and get millions of views). But a friend was only too happy to play tsukomi to my boke:

I couldn’t have asked for a better straight line.

I can keep doing it for a while to see if I can fish anybody else in.

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