Welcome to Part 5 of 6 in our series “How to Grow Bizarro 3.” This series began on the Zé Burns Blog back in December of 2019. How to Grow Bizarro 1 covered ways the average reader could help strengthen and expand the genre, while How to Grow Bizarro 2 looked at the larger picture. This current series asks members of the bizarro community THEIR thoughts. This week: the multi-hyphenate Luke Kondor.
By Luke Kondor
Being a relative newbie to the genre, I feel a little weird sticking my oar in, but as Zé has requested it… stick it, I will.
Also, apologies in advance for this scattershot approach but I’ve got a lot of ideas and only a small space in which to fit them.
1. Repurpose content
There are over 20 years of bizarro classics primed for re-release. Let’s find 12 of the best–those that are impossible not to love–and build a year-long bizarro subscription box out of it. New covers, extra content, heavy promotion, maybe even a big Kickstarter campaign. The aim being to open a giant funnel for new readers to fall into.
2. Tap into existing audiences.
Bizarro fiction has a great conversion rate. By that, I mean a large portion of people who are introduced to the genre end up loving it. What it needs now is a lot more traffic.
Last year, I made a bizarro fiction podcast called Tales of What!? We put out six episodes and landed 10k downloads, introducing a lot of new fans to the genre. We managed this by tapping into a much larger audience we have on another podcast I help run.
What other large audiences could we be tapping into?
How can we get more eyes and ears on the genre?
One idea could be to create bizarro care packages and send them to tastemakers. Package up a small selection of books along with a note with some background on the genre and send it to those bookstagrammers with 50k followers, or those podcasts hosts with huge followings, anything to get them talking about bizarro to their audience.
3. Build bridges to other mediums.
There are people out there who are fans of bizarro even if they don’t know it yet. I, myself, was one for years! I loved weird movies, books, comics, whatever, but I didn’t have a name or a community for it. I was a single weirdo out there on an island of my own making, desperate to find the genre I had no name for. So I’d like to see more bridges built between bizarro literature and the bizarro of other mediums. We could be making bizarro short films, bizarro anthology comic books, bizarro fiction podcasts, and proudly labelling them as such. On the flip side, we could be building links from bizarro to things that people already love. A good example would be the Bizarro Encyclopedia of Film. Why not a Bizarro Encyclopaedia of Comics? Or music? Why not a film blog, something like 366WeirdMovies.com pairing weird movies with weird books
4. A new Bizarro Starter Kit
Just putting that one out there because I want to read it.
5. Books that sell themselves
Recently I saw that CM3’s book, The Haunted Vagina, is getting some virality on social media. All because of its title, cover, and book description. I think I read that back in the early days of the genre, the initial pitch of the book was the starting point. If you didn’t hook someone from the title and pitch alone then it just didn’t get written. Maybe we should bring back some of those guerrilla marketing tactics. After all, they’re still selling a book that was written almost 15 years ago.
6. Less I and more We.
Next time, instead of tweeting or posting on Facebook about your book (I’m sure it’s a great book btw), ask yourself if can you do any of the following instead:
Support your publishers! Buy a CM3 book for your friends. Start a bizarro writers’ group. Make a bizarro film review podcast. Launch a mailing list specifically for new bizarro releases. Write reviews of bizarro books. Encourage the bizarro authors you like by letting them know how much their work means to you or posting publicly about their work. Start a bizarro reading club. Launch a small press. Make a bizarro short film (use your phone if you have to!). Write a bizarro song. Art dies when people stop talking about it so make a list of your favourite bizarro games, films, comics, and post it online, post it offline, post it everywhere. Just don’t stop talking about it. Maybe draw your favourite bizarro characters or make an adult coloring book out of your favourite bizarro authors.
What was it Gandhi was said to have said?
Oh yes: “Be the change you want to see in the world; and by that I mean take over the world with bizarro fiction. Total domination. Nothing less. Peace out.”