Animation Book: Leveraging an Asset

Building a Cartoon Entertainment Website for Fun and Profit

Part Three — Promoting the Website (cont.)

Animation Book: Leveraging an Asset

Promotion can occur in many different forms. Back in 1991 I wrote and published a how-to book on animation, and it sold pretty well considering that I did almost no advertising. But a few years into this venture, someone saw my book and called me, asking me, since I seem to be an authority on animation, would I agree to teach a one night class on how to get into the Hollywood animation business. This person represented the (I think it was called) Learning Tree classroom series — this is a group that schedules classes on various popular subjects from year to year, and advertises those classes in a free newspaper that is distributed all over Los Angeles County. If I would teach the class, they would pay me a nominal fee of $50, which is hardly worth the effort, but the ad for my class would be in their newspaper that has a circulation of a million copies per issue. So I agreed to do the class if they would feature a picture of my book cover in their ad, rather than a picture of my face. They hesitated — this is not the way they normally do things — but I insisted, and so they gave in. The free exposure for my book in their newspaper caused my book sales to spike up over a thousand copies in one month just in Los Angeles. This was better than me advertising, because by them it became an endorsement, and people probably take an endorsement more to heart than an ad.

Ads in magazines for a web comic strip or animation can be a fruitless expense, partly because an ad in print cannot show enough to generate enough interest to make people want to go to their computers and type in the website’s full name. If they are already on their computers and see a recommendation from someone whose opinions they trust, and they can link to your website with a single click, they are far more likely to do that. When I first launched this Viagri website, I thought I would give it a big boost by taking out a small (but expensive) picture ad in Daily Variety, the Hollywood showbiz journal. The ad prominently pictured a sexy picture of Viagri with a minimum of teaser text and the name of her website. Daily Variety has a press run of 35,000 copies per issue, but I figured when you subtract the number of unsold copies from news-stands, and the number of crass Hollywood executives who don’t care about cartoons, there are still about 20,000 blue collar workers in the live action movie business who turn to Daily Variety to see where to apply for their next job. I figured that these people would be a target audience for a comic strip featuring a sexy gal. Yet from all indications, including the information on the Google Analytics Service, the result of that ad in Daily Variety was zero. Nobody who saw that ad even went to my website one time.


Return to
Table of
on this