the kindness of weirdos: more learnings from The Voice Over Entrance Exam

The Voice Over Entrance Exam by Peter K. O'Connell Copyright 2009

We’ve all heard tell and maybe even personally experienced the kindness of strangers in our lives and it often gives us hope for humanity. We usually quickly get over that hope but it was ours for a minute to savor. Kind of like hitting a great golf shot: reality usually sets in on the very next swing but we had that moment.

So finally after months of nit-picking the text to death (I formally requested nit-picking and damn near personally picked the thing to death) I published The Voice Over Entrance Exam yesterday.

Now obviously just posting a web site page isn’t enough to let people know it’s out there, besides, my marketing sensibilities wouldn’t let that happen so I relied on the kindness of weirdoes.

weirdo (weer*doh)
n. pl. weirdos Slang
1. A person regarded as being very strange or eccentric.
2. A deranged, potentially dangerous person.

To be clear, I refer to definition 1 not 2 here. As an example, I am a weirdo as are all my peers in the voice over profession. It’s really one of the qualifications for getting in the business, actually.

I’ve always been terribly fond of almost all my fellow weirdoes but today my appreciation runs deeper than I can articulate.

That won’t stop me from trying to ‘ticulate.

Since the book was about the industry and for use by those in the industry or wanting to be in the industry, I went to….the industry in my marketing. And since the book was free to download, I used Social Media tools as my primary marketing channels because they too are free.

The following maybe a helpful “how to” guide you can apply to your business when promoting your product or service. Obviously, you’d have to adjust the audience (unless it’s the voice over industry). Also, it helps to have some established credibility with your audience to get more immediate support as outlined herein. It only took me 27 years to establish mine, but your mileage may vary. As always, enjoy the ride.

Step 1 was to get to the bloggers before the release. It was like a public relations story pitch except not that cheesy cause it was from me. Basically I let all the voice over bloggers know the book was coming out on May 5th, gave them an advanced copy and said offer any comments on the book as they saw fit (or ignore it too if they chose). But my feeling was to respect the primary on-line voices of the voiceover industry by giving them a first glance.

On the day of the book’s release, the reviews began. Ah, symmetry!

As of this writing, regarding The Voice Over Entrance Exam, the mighty Bob Souer (weirdo of the nicest kind and highest order) wrote on his blog: “In my opinion, Peter has written an excellent tool that should be must reading for anyone thinking about trying to do professional voiceover work.” Thanks Bob but now I feel bad because I’ve become required reading and that sounds like homework and I “disliked intensely” (as my Mother would say, she being opposed to the word “hate) homework!

Over on Joe Szymanski’s blog, he thought “The title is spot on.” Thanks Joe, I kind of thought the title was cool too. It felt perfect when I thought of it and I was surprised as heck it wasn’t out there already. Score one for original thought, I guess.

Russ Renshaw noted with the release of the book that “A very cool and rare thing occurred on the internet today.” He called the book dense by which I think he meant ‘thick and stuffed with knowledge, I think. Now if he had called the author dense there would be no arguing the fact. I sincerely appreciate the pub, in either case, Russ, thank you.

Always supporting the voiceover blog community, Stu Gray’s blog promises a full review of the book and knowing him it will fair and honest…that’s all I could hope for.

And the always prolific James Lorenz noted on his blog that The Voice Over Entrance Exam had “tons of useful facts about what to expect and how to proceed with a career in voiceovers.” Cool!

Glide over to Twitter & Facebook for Step 2 where I “teased” at about 9:00 a.m. ET on May 5th “Fun voice over announcement coming up from the Voice Over Workshop at 12:00 p.m today. And the word FREE is involved.” (the time when I had scheduled my web tools to go public with the book download page and media release on the web site news section and blog). While Stephanie Ciccarelli was kind enough to be one of the consultants on my book (and therefore knew what I was “teasing”) I was still gob smacked by her generous tweet that she “Is proud of her pal, Peter O’Connell. You’ll hear more about why today. Awesome! @audioconnell”. Very, very kind!

When I tweeted that afternoon on Twitter and Facebook: “It’s live and seems to be a hit: The Voice Over Entrance Exam…oh and its FREE” the response was totally a surprise. I expected, as with most of my tweets, followers would click the link to see what it was about. That would have been plenty good for me.

As burgeoning Twitter expert Dave Courvoisier (also a consultant on the book) noted in his Twitter-centric May newsletter (also released yesterday), a retweet is praise of the highest order. And I must say in totally honesty I was not expecting the retweets and was truly humbled that these great talents felt strongly enough about the book to share it with their followers. So my thanks to (again) Stephanie Ciccarelli as well as David Houston, Joe Rodriguez, Kara Edwards, Liz de Nesnera,, Jamee Perkins, Justin Barrett, Linda Ristig and Terry Daniel via Twitter.

Over on Facebook, Kara Edwards again, who likely used some FriendFeed-like aggregator, offered her retweet garnering a very kind response from Amy Snively. If women liked me this much in high school I might not have ever left! But if I hadn’t left I wouldn’t have met John Luttrell, a respected radio programmer (yes there are still some out there, thank God) and a friend from my WVUD-FM days who sent a nice note via Facebook as well. Erik Sheppard also plugged the book has his daily notice on Facebook.

Step 3 would be old school PR with a new media twist of an electronic media release to targeted outlets. It may be a day or before I see/hear any payoff from that activity but again…no tree or postal worker’s back was harmed in the use of this marketing tool (i.e. it was free).

Step 4 would be direct communication to the voice over community that has reached out to me over the years and whose names have grown exponentially in my address book. Now there may be an oops in this one as the link to The Voice Over Entrance Exam web page doesn’t work for some but most I guess just copied and pasted the address in their browser tool bar and the page worked fine. Nice to hear from Caryn Clark, Tom Donahue, Chip Joel, Dan Hurst, Kitzie Stern, Bobbin Beam and Alexis Williams (“I’m so glad you did this book!”).

Step 5 includes communicating to lots of voice talent out there who I either haven’t connected with in real life or via social media. So I made sure to post the media release about The Voice Over Entrance Exam on Rick Party’s Voiceover Universe which in just over a year has taken on a life of its own. My voice over home away from home, D.B. Cooper’s VO-BB has a “Learning” section and I posted a link in there as well.

Step 6 involved uploading or emailing the media release to the web site of the professional association I have memberships with like MCA-I; they have news modules on their sites and some produce paper newsletters and they now have my information. Look, association newsletters and e-zines need content too!

Was all of the effort worth it? My goal was to make as many people as possible aware of the book so that hopefully they will find it interesting and download it.

On May 4, 2009 I had 24 visitors to my web site.

On May 5 as of this writing I have had 148 visitors to the site and 105 of them went right to The Voice Over Entrance Exam page. So I’m guessing since it’s free, the book has had over 100 downloads on its first day. With all that link love and promotion, the book brand and the audio’connell brand got lots of web time too…the outcome of that has yet to be determined but I’m guessing much good can come from it. Stats for today won’t be up til tomorrow, I think they’ll be good too.

Not a dollar was spent promoting it (except for my time, which does have value) and hopefully lots of people benefited from what I (obviously) think is good information.

My respect for my fellow weirdos grows by the minute. Thank you friends.

7 Responses to “the kindness of weirdos: more learnings from The Voice Over Entrance Exam

  1. Peter,
    I am honored to be included in your list of weirdoes.

    Wow. There’s something I never thought I would write.

    Best luck,

  2. Peter,

    I’m proud to be called a weirdo by you!
    Now I KNOW I’ve made it! 🙂

    SO glad you got so much play, the e-book is WELL worth much more than its price!



  3. Haha – Yes Peter, I did mean ‘thick and full of knowledge’. I still need to figure this blogging thing and the fact that inflections don’t come across as well in text… :/

    Thanks for a great read though!

    ~ Russ

  4. No problem Russ, I am grateful for the kind words!

    Best always,
    – Peter

  5. Liz:

    I guess I should trademark weirdo voice talent….but it seems redundant!

    Best always,

  6. Jamee:

    I bring out the weirdness in people, make them write weird things 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your MCA-I membership. I might be in Raleigh for the May meeting.

    Best always,
    – Peter

  7. Peter…if this e-book blows up and you become super famous…I want to be one of the first to say…I knew you when…

    Good luck.