Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Doing the Marketing

I routinely do the marketing for our family. Every Saturday morning I can be found in Giant; once or twice a month in Costco; and almost every week (in season) at Spicknall’s farm market. I enjoy it. Makes me feel connected to the most important facet of home life—eating—since the Beloved Spouse does the heavy lifting when it comes to cooking. (I “cook,” if you take a liberal definition of the term, one that includes “shuttling dishes into and out of the microwave.”)

Combine that with the onanistic stream of self-congratulatory boosterism that emanates from this blog on a regular basis and one would think going out in public to get others to promote Grind Joint (available at Amazon) would be a breeze.

One would be wrong.

The initial issue is, I’m a writer, and, like many writers, an introvert by nature. It’s difficult for me to approach people I don’t know well. (This may explain how I managed to spend four years at college in the 70s and graduate a virgin.) I’m fine if my presence is expected, such as when giving a presentation, teaching a class, or appearing on a panel. I didn’t have to gather the crowd; they came because they expected something from me, and I’m happy to deliver. Cold calls, as they say in Monty Python, are right out.

The second issue is also on me to some extent. (Of course it is. I’m an American male. It’s all about me.) Give me a definite task, especially one that can be broken into component parts, turn my OCD loose, and I can get some shit done. Give me an amorphous assignment with little idea of how to go about it, and I’ll drift. That’s a problem with writing, and I’ve found ways to overcome it. (Outlining, clearly defined daily goals, etc.) Marketing is even less well-defined. “Get in with as many booksellers as you can.” “Get some interviews.” Great. How? Make contact via email first? Cold call them? (See above.)

The problem with almost all marketing is, no one can tell you what works, except anecdotally. (“I tried this and sales went up.”) Even then the claims were full of caveats. (“It’s possible this was coincidental.”) Much like publishers reading submissions, lots of people can tell what won’t sell; none can tell you what will. Saying “An attractive person with a good personality” sells books is hardly a prescription, because

A) Both of those are out of our control to a large extent, and

2) If we had either of those qualities, we probably wouldn’t have become writers in the first place; we’d have been out getting laid.

I’ll muddle through. The good news is, once I get a signing set up, I’ll be fine; I’m one of those three-eyed, six-fingered people who enjoys public speaking. Till then, send positive energy. Not to me; to the Beloved Spouse. I am not the easiest person to live with for the time being.

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