Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Book Marketing 101

How the marketing and publicity process for Apprentice Writer's books will look still remains in the realm of fantasy, rather than reality.

Apprentice Writer pictures a book signing in a prominent location of a flagship store, with flattering lighting , a complimentary Montblanc fountain pen, a private back room to mentally prepare (aided by chilled Perrier and grilled panini) and recuperate (aided by a pot of Darjeeling and fresh biscotti), and eager readers clutching their freshly purchased copies lined up around the block, waiting for their turn to heap praise upon her and gasp in admiration at the witty and unique dedications she will inscribe in their tomes before being whisked off in a limosine to a boutique hotel suite. (This fantasy can go on indefinitely, but the Gentle Reader gets the point.)

Imagine Apprentice Writer's dismay when she recently came across a notice about the upcoming local appearance of mega-author Diana Gabaldon. For the uninitiated, Ms. Gabaldon completed her Ph.D. on seabirds or some such before penning the wildly successful time-travel novel Outlander "....just for fun." This evolved into a lengthy, ongoing series and was then joined by an ongoing historical crime series, both with publication numbers to drive other writers insane with lust.

One might ask what kind of book promotion extravaganza would be fitting for such a publishing sensation. And the answer is:

A weekend appearance at the Ajax branch of Costco..

No doubt Ajax has its charms. Never having been to this suburb east of Toronto, Apprentice Writer only knows of its proximity to Lake Ontario and a nuclear reactor. But Costco? Really? This is the best pre-published writers can hope for? It just doesn't seem right.

Apprentice Writer cannot imagine the hordes of actors who recently descended upon downtown Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival tolerating an appearance venue where they are crowded into a corner between barrels of mustard and stacks of tampons, bathed in neon light, drowned out by elevator music, interrupted by public address system requests for aisle cleanup, and given a toothpick-speared fragment of sausage for refreshment. Even B-and C-list actors insist upon a red carpet, designer clothing, visits to the haute-goody-bag tent, and time spent at chic restaurants and stores in exchange for promoting their films.

Why can't writing superstars get such treatment? Are authors as a group too modest and self-effacing? Have repeated rejections on the road to publication scarred them for life? But then - don't actors experience equally fierce rejections at casting calls?

It is a mystery. What does seem clear is that Ms. Gabaldon will meet her public with her trademark grace, regardless of her surroundings. By means of strategically dangled bribes for the junior apprentice writers, Apprentice Writer hopes to attend and learn a little something of real professional conduct.


Christine d'Abo said...

You know, my first reaction to this was, "OMG really. That's sad!" But then I got thinking about how many books CostCo has probably sold for her. I think I'd do a book signing there no problem.

Hell, I'd do a book signing at a KoolAid stand at this point...

Amy Ruttan said...

Ya Costco sells alot of books. Being from Whitby Ajax kind of sucks, but I mean go where the fans buy the most. At least she gets the signing opportunity. EC Authors ... well mostly conventions as we're on the web.

So I have to say I would do the Kool Aid stand with Christine at this point.

Wylie Kinson said...

(This happens to a personal dream of mine, btw. A book signing at Costco *sigh*) But for D.G. that's outrageous!
I completely agree with your assessment of the B/C list actors getting way too much attention when people with REAL talent get shuffled to Ajax.
Where is the justice.

PS - Christine & Amy: if we move the Koolaid to one side, d'ya think there's room for one more at the table?

M. said...

heh. kool-aid stand. that's funny in and of itself, but i wonder : what sort of kool-aid would it be, for ellora's cave writers?

Christine d'Abo said...

Spiked...definitely spiked kool aid...