So you’ve written your book, you’ve edited it a bazillion times, you have the whole thing memorized. You’ve designed/approved the cover and then the galleys. Then what?
Today we started talking about marketing opportunities, what’s coming up, all of that. My book will be at a few book shows, which is great. There’s the press release, the advance copies to the reviewers, trying to set me up with local radio, etc. You know, the selling part. As my day job is in advertising/marketing, I have a lot of opinions and a lot of things I’m going to do myself. Because of the nature of the book and the content, I don’t really envision it being on a bestseller list or anything. I mean, sure. We all hope, but… I think I have it in me to do that, but I think it’ll take a lot more writing and books to really get there. That’s fair. I’m ready for the work.
However today I’m on the phone with a rep and we’re talking about shelf placement of my books and he’s obviously giving me this canned speech. He’s talking about “when I see a new book, I want to feel it, I want to touch it, I want to smell it, and then I want to buy it.”
And I said, “Really? You smell books before you buy them?”
Let me preface this with saying that I do love the smell of books. I love libraries. But I can’t think of a time I’ve sniff tested a book at a bookstore. Sure, I’ve looked at the cover, that’ll catch my attention. Then I’ll read the back, see if the summary catches me. If we’re a go on those, I’m buying it. No smelling required.
He said, “…I like how books smell.”
To which I asked, “What if the book doesn’t smell like what you expect but you like the story?”
“…books smell good.”
I dropped it, but I was already thinking “this ain’t good.”
So he starts talking about big book buyers and asks if I’d like to see my book in Walmart.
Okay, who WANTS to see their book in Walmart? Like, great if it’s selling so well that it should be mass-marketed that broadly, but I just don’t see that happening with a pulpy smut book about buttsex. Maybe I underestimate the market, but last I checked, Walmart was getting special editions of rap cds without the scary words in. I cannot imagine that they’d be down with my kinky little story.
Not to mention that the last time I worked with Walmart on anything, it was on branding their baby formula “Mother’s Choice” which is an offshoot of “Sam’s Choice” their generic label. They didn’t want “Sam’s Choice” on the titmilk substitute because that was a little creepy. Sensible. That doesn’t really prove anything, I just wanted to say titmilk, really.
Anyway, I’m sticking with channel marketing. If they want to pitch to the bigger chains, whatever. But my goal isn’t to be sold at Walmart. If that’s really what I wanted, I would’ve written about vampires not having sex.