Published: Jun 22, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Ghost_Little_Facebook_Thumbnail_Logo_Photo.pngIn November 2016, Ghost Little will be six years old. Of course, when I began writing it, I had no plan. The site was created on Blogspot before migrating over migrating over to the HubSpot platform in March 2012.

Again, neither the site nor the blog had a purpose. I never studied the traffic. It was purely an exercise, like going to the gym to feel better in one's body.

On November 18, 2014, I posted The Only Perfect Review Of Destiny On The Internet, a 7455 word planet-cracker, before putting the site on indefinite hiatus because I had no idea what else to do.

Once again, the site continued to have no spoken purpose, other than to satisfy my own curiosity. Two and a half years of weekly blogging earned me about 3000 monthly site visits.

On March 23, 2016, I took the site down and rebuilt it in its current form. Here is why:

A Self-Promotional Inbound Marketing Exercise For Promoting Free Books To Read Online

Ghost Little is a book series.

I thought about that sentence for roughly two years. While attracting 3000 site visits per month is remarkable, it was scattershot, verging on meaningless. That did not make the things I had written meaningless though. I took those two years to look back at what I had produced like divining a future through tea leaf patterns. Re-reading my blog posts, I learned about my tastes in media, in music, in film, in games, views on the state of industry and my hope for a better-crafted, bespoke future. I learned about what I was most passionate about. That led the way. The site's history dictated its future.

That evidence made it clear I didn't want or need 3000 random window-shoppers coming to the site each month. I wanted 100 people with a high chance of enjoying my work and then downloading the real materials I produce. I began to consider including free books to read online. Then I began to consider how those books might become something larger.

Ghost Little is a book series. You can select and download one of the four I've written and read them on your Kindle or e-reader app of chosing, such as iBooks or Google Play Books. The files are DRM-free, Napster, Trent Reznor, and Radiohead taught me well.

Want to know more about how this operation works? Great!

The Ghost Little blog is the invitation. It's the open door to welcome organic traffic, to put eyeballs on your site, so appropriate visitors feel compulsion to download your true offering. In my case, it's the books. I also attract visitors through other social channels.

As downloads increase and my community contacts grow, I can use the occasional email to stay engaged with my audience.

That's inbound marketing, as opposed to outbound marketing, which is more like a telemarketing scam or spam mail you get delivered from your local postal worker. I don't have the money or the societal contempt to pollute the non-consenting mindshare the way traditional outbound marketing does. My lifelong dissatisfaction with marketing media is well-documented. I can promote these free books to read online as an entryway. Once people decide they want in, we've started building something special.

The site, the blog, and all the writing therein is a passion project. On top of all that, this is an inbound marketing exercise. It's something I believe in. I tried to stop doing it years ago, but it wouldn't let me. I kept being drawn back. If I'm going to work, to write, and to be digitally-present in this modern era, I might as well work correctly.

The other important factor to know about Ghost Little is that it is not static. I did not write daily blog posts throughout the month of May and then stop. Even then, the job isn't done. I need to keep evolving my work, keep growing, keep bringing more goodwill to my audience.

That's why every piece of downloadable material I make available has a NOTES section at the end detailing what version you're reading. What is available is not in "beta," so to speak, but it is sometimes updated. The books didn't go off to a printer. I can correct them and update them using my ebook publishing software, a creation process I detailed in an earlier post. I ostensibly include patch notes with each file to ratify any modifications and reasons why. The entire internet is a living document. So are my books. They are both free books to read online, or available for download to your device, DRM-free. I won't live in the dark ages.

The individual books span genre while maintaining slight, interconnected story threads. Do not think this is by accident. These are all doorways to attract all kinds of readers with all kinds of taste. The contained stories are standing invitations into the others.

At the site's re-launch in March 2016, I created a Wiki to provide production background and inception for each story. There are a lot of timelines of failed launches, which I find personally fascinating and motivating. Visit the Wiki home and navigate with the side-nav.

Ghost Little has already been a remarkable journey. It only took five years to turn into something real. I need to continue refining the site's branding, its visibility, its SEO, its target persona, my goals for the entire operation. I'll invite you to follow along. Click the download button at the bottom of the post, get yourself something to read from our collection of free books to read online, and sign up for blog subscription to see where this leads.

I promise it won't be boring. You might even learn a thing or two.

-- Alex Crumb
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The Ghost Little blog publishes EVERY WEEKDAY. It's sometimes immediately relevant to the books' development process. Other times, it's only thematically-relevant. Thoughts and ideas influence the creative process in ways that you wouldn't initially anticipate. They're all worth detailing and discussing!

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