Geek & Sundry Contest - New Rule

Created over 2 years ago by Angela Melamud with 33 comments
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Unholy pursuit poster A. White · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 1 like

I suggest anyone who lives near a college to find out are there

bookclubs on campus and even in your local community. Bookclubs are a great way of making people aware of your project. The downside to this is after you gain their interest in your book they expect to be able to buy the book NOW! Many people do not know what crowdfunding is. But it’s worth try for the reviews even if they don’t place a pre-order. My online circle is small but slowly building for I had been offline for five years due personal matters demanded my attention so a lot had changed when I returned. Facebook is great for making a massive number of people aware of your project, but isn’t too great for getting actually orders. LOL! My long absent from online had nothing to do with drugs, alcohol or being locked away. I was caring for ill relatives in two different states until they passed away.

15230176 Joni Dee · Author · added over 2 years ago
In my own excruciating campaign I had two friendships broken. In a sense it’s good - it shows you who are your friends. as others here said - if they can’t spare 10$ and 5 minutes, they aren’t friends you need. 
On the other end - i had people I haven’t seen since uni step up and help. And even people who I haven’t spoke with 15 years and complete strangers - which is heart warming and also gets you back in touch with many. small nice side effect of the campaign :)

If you can’t get pass nagging people and literally bugging the living hell out of everyone u know - then crowdfunding is not for you!

I will end with a comment from a friend that took me 5-6 texts and the help of another friend to get him to finally order (some people are less technological then others, don’t forget). He said, after i thanked him for finally placing his order, and I quote: "Sure buddy, I’d do just about anything now to stop receiving these texts!" 

Tenacity my friends. Tenacity! 

Unholy pursuit poster A. White · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 1 like
I agree with Finocchairo--2) If someone throws you attitude about "nagging" they probably weren’t much of a friend at all.
C84a9735 G. A. Finocchiaro · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 3 likes
Just throwing a little encouragement towards everyone on this thread that’s having a rough time. I’m not part of the contest, but I am funding a book currently (check it out when you get a chance), and here’s a few things I learned:

1) Stop ONLY posting to facebook and other social media outlets, and make use of the dashboard feature Inkshares has. Email your contacts with a personal message (or send one on Facebook, instagram, etc...). Tell them you need their support to reach your dream and tell them why they might like what you’ve done. I’ve had people I haven’t spoken to in 20 years buy a copy. Just remember, for everyone of those people, there will be 3-4 friends you thought had your back that will not life a finger. Those that do lift a finger, ask them to ask a friend or two.

2) If someone throws you attitude about "nagging" they probably weren’t much of a friend at all.

3) Be personable. Be a salesman. I just printed up 1000 postcards and am hitting up a local horror convention next weekend, and I will be talking to everyone who’s willing to listen. What’s the harm that can come of that?

4) Sometimes adding a little incentive helps. Stickers. Bookmarks. Posters. Whatever you can do. Get a cool cover. Know someone who’s an artist? Hit them up and see what they can do for you. Create a video as a trailer. You have to be your own marketing team.

5) Something I really should do more of reviews with people. Take the time to read their work, review it, and start connecting with people. This is my next step, and I think it’s a great way to interconnect with all sorts of other authors. Chances are, if they know you, and are a fan of what you’ve done, they will support you too.

Anyway, I want to see Inkshares blow up. I want to see this community thrive. Teach a man to fish, and all that sort of thing...

Good luck!
Picture Joseph Asphahani · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 2 likes
@Audrey T. Carroll I’m sure it’s mentioned somewhere in the soup of words below, but remember that all those outlets don’t matter if you’re blasting your book. You MUST use personalized, private messages to everyone in your network. Systematically, one by one, and following up every 2-3 days. This is why I encourage the use of an excel or Googledoc spreadsheet.

Stay organized, stay positive, and you’ll get traction before you know it! :D
207679 10101260318733184 1712272173 n Jay Lockwood · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 3 likes
@Joseph Keeler  I know the frustration you’re feeling right now. This is not an easy thing, especially during the course of a contest. We all are facing the same struggle, hustling to make that front page the best we can. Last year I was in the Nerdist contest, and my book never once made the front page. It was hard, it was frustrating, but in the end, even after the campaign ended, I was a better writer, and a better person because of it.

You have to push past the guilt and promote yourself constantly. Your friends will get sick of it, people will tune you out, but you have to push past that. We all want to win, and you’re going to get support from a lot of friends, but the biggest source of support you are going to get is the other writers here on Inkshares.

A failed campaign sucks. It’s a kick to the gut, and can rattle the faith you have in yourself as a writer. When I failed last time, I wanted nothing more than to curl up in a ball and ignore the world. I was broken, battered, and angry. I let the pressure get to me. I blamed myself for the failures. Now, a year later, I’m trying it again.

Do your best. Push yourself. Develop your pitch, and talk about your book constantly. This is going to be hard. You’re going to feel a hundred different emotions at once, but know you really are amazing. You’ve put the thing you love, your book, out into the world. Not everyone can say that.
12512773 10153575118071270 4607032133502116793 n Audrey T. Carroll · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 3 likes
Thank you guys for this thread, all of you. I have been stressing out *hard* these past couple of days trying to get people to pre-order my book. Posting about it to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Tumblr, you name it. I’m trying so hard and am getting very little in the way of interaction/response, and I’ve only gotten 4 orders. It’s super stressful! I’m going to try to keep pushing through that "I’m posting about this too often" guilt, though, and hope that it pays off... :/
Pa240021 Erin S. Evan · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 3 likes
These are really good points from a lot of good Inksharians, and I just want to throw my experience in as previous contest winner/newbie. 

I had never heard of Inkshares until the day before the G&S contest was to go live last April (the contest ran through mid-May, so not that long ago). I heard about it via G&S FB page. I was working on my novel, which fit their theme of Hard Science Fiction, so I threw my towel in and annoyed the heck out of everyone, including people I hadn’t seen or heard from in years. My own comfortable social and family network is very small, but I hustled and asked literally my entire FB friends group, any and all book clubs I’ve belonged to, even previous co-workers.  Sometimes several times.  To my surprise, the orders came in, sometimes slowly, sometimes much faster. And I definitely got ignored by a lot of people! People are busy, might be financially strapped and don’t want to say anything, or were just not interested in my book. But that’s ok. 

By the end of the contest I was on a fun momentum that helped me be in the top three. I went outside my comfort zone, and I’m happy I did. It was very hard, though, and I sometimes look back and wonder how I did it. 

But the important point I tell everyone who asks me is this: you can win this without being an established author.  I was neck to neck with another Nerdist Contest winner for weeks until he pulled ahead the last few days before the contest was over.  I like to think I kept him on his toes :-). 

The long and the short of it is, you can do this!! I’ve learned that Inkshares is a wonderful community that supports each other, and we will do what we can to help!
My face Joseph Keeler · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 2 likes
the good thing about being a 20 year old is that i have alot of facebook friends, and some will have even more facebook friends, and so on and so forth. The whole point is to get those peoples attention. which is really hard for me because i was the awkward quiet kid in highschool so most people ignore me XD
But hey thank you all for the kind words and the advice! makes me feel way better about the whole thing :D
Picture Rick Heinz · Author · added over 2 years ago
@Joseph Keeler  When I came to this contest last year, in the first Nerdist one, we were all strangers to the site. Sadly you do need a crowd. It is crowd funding. You’ve to have access to where you can find people who are interested in reading. 

If it’s not your family and friends, try bookstores, forums, Team HOOMAN threads. Where ever you can find them. 

After you have a few, then you might pick up traction. 

As for the Syndicates: They only count for 1 reader I believe in a contest and @Angela Melamud might be able to confirm more on that rule. 
Me glasses Alisa King · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 4 likes
Hello @Joseph Keeler ! 

I understand your frustrations with reaching out and not getting much back in return, but remember that sometimes people are busy and/or may glance over emails so don’t take it personal. Like @Joseph Asphahani  said, you just gotta keep on pushin’ and nag them to death (well, not really but you get my point). 
I, too, am very self-conscious and hate asking people for favors so I know how you feel. You might get a rude response or two, but that’s okay! 

Also, this is still early in the contest so don’t get discouraged and keep pushing. During the last week of the contest, I sold 98 copies so anything can happen up until the very last minute of the contest.
Picture Joseph Asphahani · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 4 likes
Hi @Joseph Keeler ! Follow me back so I can send you a direct message or two.  :D

But in the meantime, just in general, that sort of guilty feeling you feel about ’nagging’ (as you say) is something we ALL experienced. Seriously... I’m introverted as hell, man. I am extremely uncomfortable reaching out to people to ask for help. Thankfully I communicate better in writing, and I ran my whole platform on typed-out instant messages. 

You just gotta push through the guilt. Set the idea / frustration of having to nag/plead aside - don’t think of it that way. Think of it as 1- proclaiming that you need their help. then 2- reminding them. That’s all it is, a REMINDER. Every couple of days. (Keep a spreadsheet with everybody’s name, and update it according to the last day you reached out to them. This is super useful as time goes on and your head starts spinning trying to remember who you contacted and when...) 

There ARE people out there who care about you enough to support you with $10-$20. I know the economy sucks, but they can still swing that. They WILL help you out, but people forget. They’ll say they’ll get to it, then they’ll forget for a day, a week, a month. In the meantime if you’re not reminding them about how important it is... they’ll never follow through. Not entirely their fault - it’s also yours if you don’t push through the guilt of having to ask.

What’s the worst that can happen? They might tell you to jump in a lake... So frikkin what? ...the thing is, that’s just in your head. Out of the 500-600 people I reached out to during my campaign, only two people told me F off (my words... theirs were more polite. :).  A former coworker and, well, my own damn cousin if you can believe it.

Anyway, get a hold of me, Joe, and I’ll offer a little more tips re: your project page.
My face Joseph Keeler · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 1 like
I just wanted to put my nose into it as one of the many many people who have 5 or less preorders as of right now in the G&S fantasy contest.

It is not easy to get people to preorder your book when you only have access to five or six people in your life. Ive asked every single family member, every single close friend, and have started to reach out to the weird social group that is distant highschool friends. Ive asked nearly 100 people so far, telling them i need as much support as possible.
Ive gotten a resounding 2 preorders out of this.
Im not saying the system is rigged. Im saying the system leans towards people who have worked the site for probably years at this point.
I love G&S and i love writing, Its always been a dream of mine to get published.
I dont mind working my ass off to get the preorders but after three days of constant nagging (because thats what it feels like at this point) Ive reached the point where I can no longer rely on my immediate area for preorders.
A tiny little bit of help would be greatly appreciated.

also the syndicates throw a big wrench into things.
Say one of the larger syndicates  backs one of the bigger authors because theyve been fans of that author and thought this would be a great chance to give him/her their support.
That could be upwards of 100 preorders handed to the top spot.
Again... not saying the system is rigged, just that it leans heavily towards well set up and long time authors of the site. Authors like @Rick Heinz @André Brun just to name a couple.
I want so badly to be an actual voice on this beautiful site, but it just feels like i and many other small time authors are being completely ignored by the audience at large. Ive even appealed to G&S fans on youtube at this point to get more support.
For inkshares Angela Melamud · Inksharesian · edited over 2 years ago · 1 like
@Philip Wesley Not a stupid question at all! You should be automatically added as long as your genre is one of the qualifying ones: fantasy, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, and fairy tale. Please feel free to reach out to hello[at] if you have any further questions.
Picture Joseph Asphahani · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 3 likes
Just want to reiterate what @Matthew Poat posted below:

"That, after all, is what these contests is about, the hustle. Whether your idea/writing is any good isn’t as big a factor as maybe it should be. A great book written by someone who struggles to promote it properly will always struggle against a mediocre book written by a natural salesman with a big social network. At least in a crowdfunding/competition setting."

That sums it up. Everything. Right there. The hustle is all. 

The front page of the contest only displays the top ten - the rest are only accessible by clicking the tiny "Browse Submissions" button at the top, and if you look on there right now there’s like a hundred (probably more) books, most of which have the dreaded "0 Ordered" notification. Where are these folks? If they literally DON’T HUSTLE then they won’t get noticed. If they don’t get noticed... well... That’s too bad, too. I’m willing to bet there are some really, really great gems in there. By chance, if you’re one of the contest entrants I’m describing and you’re reading this right now, I would suggest two basic steps to get started:

1- Get an interesting book cover. Now. Like NOW now.

2- Get your immediate family - husband, wife, mother, father, brothers and sisters - to pre-order right now. Like NOW now. To-frikkin-day. This is your trial run for what kind of HUSTLER you are. Make these people understand that you don’t give a crap if they’re into fantasy novels - they can burn your book to keep warm once you get published for all you care... Make them understand that they are supporting YOU, YOUR dreams, YOUR chance to be a published author.

You need a FOUNDATION on inkshares. Once you get a following, once you get a few dozen pre-orders, then things can start ramping up quickly if you’re smart. There are a million things to consider. Once you get that foundation, then you can start HUSTLIN’.

(@Philip Wesley I went to the browse submission page and searched for your book - ctrl+f your book’s tagline - but found nothing. Also, I noticed on your author page that it says you’re the author of your book twice. Something weird going on there. Contact hello[at]inkshares via email and see if they can help you sort it out. Could it be that your book already had 20+ orders before the contest? If you "re-submitted" it after the contest started, then it probably wound up as a new entry. To my knowledge, I don’t think you can "move" an existing book onto a contest. You have to "start fresh."  ---- IF that’s the case, and you want to restart your book in the G&S sundry and transfer your readers/pre-orders... uh, well I suppose you’ll have to convince those couple dozen people to do it all over again, which can be a pain in the butt...)

EDIT: Maybe there ought to be a button underneath #10 that says "Browse Submissions" so that the other hundreds+ books are easier for page-visitors to locate. Rather than just the tiny link at the top...? 
Unholy pursuit poster A. White · Author · edited 2 months ago · 3 likes
I agree with Angela, I see too many newcomers’ books just sitting on the site and a lot of them are the start of really great literary works but the authors haven’t updated anything in six months to a year. Why? I don’t know their story but if newcomers feel they’ve no chance to win or becoming published many aren’t going to even try especially if the winner has already been declared. To facilitate anything other than that which Angela stated would make Inkshares just like traditional publishing companies who only accept those who are already semi- to well-known authors who are already published many times over. 
Zhv3b oq Philip Wesley · Author · added over 2 years ago
Potentially stupid question: I created a campaign through clicking the Submit button on the contest. Is it just a matter of waiting to be added (if I’m added) to the collection? Or am I missing a step? Thanks! 
13435475 1061961560541161 5686564091409873058 n Jordan M Tetley · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 2 likes
I think this is an amazing idea, and give us new buzzing writers a chance to am high!
The color L.V. · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 1 like
I was told to read the forums because of the uproar over the drowning out of smaller authors. I’m glad that that is what the competitions are being used for is to bring out newer authors (I’m talking like I’m a seasoned vet of the site when I’m not--at all). 

Hopefully the stars align and I can finally take over the world.
I mean. Get published.
Picture Amanda Orneck · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 4 likes
@Matthew Poat I want to clarify something about the Inkvengers group. No, it was not created solely because the people within it were already successful. Actually several of us had yet to be published at all, and some only at the Quill level (and me hitting that Quill level only through family assistance). The anthology happened organically, in conversation among friends -- no one was recruited because of their funding prowess.  We are just a bunch of gamers who wanted to write a book together. 
For inkshares Angela Melamud · Inksharesian · added over 2 years ago
@Philip Wesley We can only accept projects that started on August 1st or later. If you have a currently funding project, you’ll have to start again at zero pre-orders to enter this contest. 
Zhv3b oq Philip Wesley · Author · edited over 2 years ago
Is it possible to enter a story in the contest that has already had a campaign started for it? This contest came around after I’d started my campaign for a fantasy novel, so I was curious if I could submit an entry to this contest or not. 
Me glasses Alisa King · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 4 likes
That’s very respectable @Rick Heinz ! I pre-ordered a copy of Seventh Age: Dystopia and am looking forward to your campaign :D 

The advice @Rick Heinz gave is excellent so I will expand upon that a little bit by saying this: don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! As a participant in the previous contest, I had to reach out using  multiple platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, blogs, Reddit, etc) and pester coworkers, old teachers, friends, extended family members, and Inkshares members. From day one, I promoted my book, messaged people constantly, and updated my readers regularly. The contests are grueling, but if you set your mind to the task you’ll be surprised at the outcome. I started off with no fan base when I entered the contest, but I didn’t give up and kept fighting. In the end, I was about 8 orders behind 3rd and reached Quill by the end of the contest. If you’re passionate enough about your project, people will see that and support you :)
Picture Rick Heinz · Author · edited 2 months ago · 7 likes
And that’s exactly why I agreed to step aside @Alisa King . I understand the full point needing to get others in the contest. I’m just waiting for them to shift my page out of the contest at the moment. I’m not planning on ending my campaign, I’ve still got a sequel I would like to fund! :)

@Joey Angotti Don’t worry man, I had just taken off like a bat out of hell before I talked to Inkshares. Just, having my contest page shifted to outside the contest takes a little bit on their end from Thad the developer since I don’t want to undo my work so far.  

If you want my advice, start now, just... start running right now. The contest is going to cause a ton of stress and it’s super fun, I love them, so I jumped in, but it’s a race and it requires a lot of work. 

Here’s the thing: No author has a shot more or less than the others. You see, I took off out of the gates because my friends and family are already registered for the website and I didn’t have to explain it to them. Eventually, I’ll hit the same wall as everyone else.  Because you can only hit your local strangers up for crowd funding: once. (ask anyone whose tried two campaigns)

I gladly willing to coach and help any new author trying to hit the ground game on the best way to get crowd funding going. This contest is 90 days long sure, but don’t way so long. 

As for Seventh Age: Dystopia, I hope you enjoy the concept and I’ll pick up campaign mode on that later on outside of the contest. :)
Me Matthew Poat · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 4 likes
Another point to note is that the Inkvengers project was a collaboration of authors who had already experienced success via Inkshares on an individual basis first. That was why each participant was invited to be a part of it, since they had each already shown their ability to muster up pre-orders.

If they prove successful in this contest, it’s mainly because they already know how to hustle based on the experience they have already amassed prior to Inkvengers. 

That, after all, is what these contests is about, the hustle. Whether your idea/writing is any good isn’t as big a factor as maybe it should be. A great book written by someone who struggles to promote it properly will always struggle against a mediocre book written by a natural salesman with a big social network. At least in a crowdfunding/competition setting.

On a whim I entered SQUIDS IN into the last Nerdist contest after I had only been on Inkshares for about 6 weeks prior. The project had no build up, as the idea was conceived specifically for the contest, yet it ranked as high as second at one point and ended up sixth in the end with just shy of 100 orders. It was hard work and an eye opening experience (I don’t think I’ll be partaking in any Inkshares contests for a while as a result). It managed to get so high for a few of reasons:

1. I badgered people on Inkshares, in person and online for the duration of the contest to pre-order
2. I provided regular updates on both the book & related items
3.. I engaged directly with both followers and those who had ordered
4. I did all I could to ensure the book always appeared on the main Inkshares page.

In short, don’t be put off entering the contest based on who or what you are up against. Provided you put as much effort as is possible into promoting your book, you shouldn’t end up too disappointed at the end. I was very chuffed that SQUIDS IN finished top 6. I was beaten by those who had done a better job all round then me. And that’s OK. 

P.S. SQUIDS IN is still funding. It needs about 100 orders within the next month to reach quill. If anyone is interested in seeing my crazy book about a video game playing octopus get printed, go check it out.


Me glasses Alisa King · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 6 likes
I have to wholeheartedly agree with @Joey Angotti here. I think he has brought up a valid point which should not be overlooked. 

I’m also not trying to rain on anybody’s parade but as a whole, I would like to see a more diversified Inkshares community where blossoming writers aren’t turned away by contests because favorites are already declared. 
18278952 10105531439962004 7699412381249820269 o Evan Graham · Author · edited 2 months ago · 10 likes
People with established support bases are always going to have an easier time of it than people who are just getting started. That’s kind of inevitable for a contest like this. But don’t let yourself believe it’s a forgone conclusion that someone will win a competition just because they have a large readerbase, or because they’ve won them in the past. When I entered the hard sci-fi competition with Tantalus Depths, I had no existing support base whatsoever and hadn’t been on this site before, AND I entered almost a month into the contest. Sure I didn’t win, but I worked my way up to within a dozen pre-orders of taking fourth place, and now I’m only 90 pre-orders from hitting full publishing. In the end, it all comes down to how much work you put into your campaign. You can be a complete beginner and still run laps around veterans if you’re willing to work harder than they are.
For inkshares Angela Melamud · Inksharesian · edited over 2 years ago · 5 likes
Hi @Joey Angotti. A fair concern to have, and thank you for sharing it! First, I’d like to mention that Rick Heinz’s project isn’t eligible and he is gracefully bowing out of the contest. Regarding Inkvengers, the anthology is atypical to the books we publish, and we have precluded books with more than two authors from joining further contests, as it does make it harder for single-author book entries to have the same level of self-promotion. It’s important to us that we make sure the system is open to new entrants. Our community is expansive, and separate from just this one contest (which has only just begun!). It can feel daunting to see books with lots of orders out the gate, but so much can happen in the span of three months!
Ty0a6epntatahkjz4zl2 Joey Angotti · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 8 likes
I understand that this should have been noted before the contest began. But by giving those authors that contributed to the Nerdist contest with Too Many Controllers and won a contest already a free pass this go around to enter this one - it kinda feels like this contest is already over and somewhat pointless to enter lol.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to enter, but Rick Heinz(First place) already has almost 40 preorders and people are already declaring him the hands-down favorite.

Andre Bun(2nd place) already has 24 preorders - also part of the Inkvengers squad and going strong.

The same can be said about Thomas J. Arnold in third place with Exile, Magus - also was a part of that collaboration.

That means the only qualifying spots are already being dominated to the point of practically being run-aways and the contest is only a day old. It’s a bit daunting for new writers trying to get their fantasy book published to already be that far behind on day 2 due to their(obviously potent) following from the last contest.

I wish nothing but the best and a lot of success for all of the Inkvengers - but with the following they seem to have on this site alone, I’m not sure these contests are something these writers really need. They’re already getting published in Too Many Controllers and have already built quite the following.

This post doesn’t necessarily apply to me as I’ve already self-published a book myself(though a win in this contest would be a huge turning point for me), I’m more concerned about the newer writers wanting to contribute to these contests and the overall future of the Inkshares site in general.

Just my 2 cents, not trying to step on any toes, just trying to add to the ideas/conversation and look out for the little people.

For inkshares Angela Melamud · Inksharesian · edited over 2 years ago · 3 likes
@Evan Graham Great question. If you’re an Inkvenger and don’t have another book (except for Too Many Controllers) in production, we’ll give you a one-time exception to enter the contest if you’re interested.
15230176 Joni Dee · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 2 likes
I think this is very wise @Angela Melamud .... when is there a THRILLER/MYSTERY/CRIME contest ?? I promise not to compete ;-)
18278952 10105531439962004 7699412381249820269 o Evan Graham · Author · edited over 2 years ago · 2 likes
I’m curious: does that mean none of the 15 Inkvengers can enter another contest until Too Many Controllers comes out, or just that there can’t be another "Inkvengers" collaborative entry?
For inkshares Angela Melamud · Inksharesian · edited 2 months ago · 7 likes
Dear All,

I know that many previous authors are considering entering the new Geek & Sundry Contest.  

First, I’m very excited that G&S is meaningful to you as a Collection—and don’t worry, this won’t be their last contest on the platform.

But second, I want to make clear that we view contests at Inkshares as a broad opportunity for current and new authors alike. The trick is balancing out "fresh blood" with established members of the community. It would be unfortunate if an "established few" dominated contests over and over. This also carries the problem of people continually running campaigns rather than focusing on their in-progress funded books.

Accordingly, we’re implementing the following rule:

If you’ve been published via a contest (either selected or finished in the qualifying top spots) then you cannot enter another contest until your book is published.

Angela Melamud
Community/Marketing Manager