…Was universally agreed last night as the answer to the question ‘What’s the worst chat-up line you’ve ever received?’
The relevancy of which is that the lady in question had also tried to order The Melting Pot via Waterstones, but had subsequently been refunded after they were unable to source it…all despite my having gone to great lengths to get a wholesale agreement in place with a company called Gardners. I checked on the website and it seems that the agreement has been cancelled without my knowledge!
This kind of occurrence is the biggest obstacle to a self-publisher – the bulk buying view – where a company will say that’s it’s not in their interests to buy (or even take on sale or return) from a single seller due to it being inefficient time-wise. I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes approach a bookshop in or around Reading (where I live), agree a sale, but then have to post the books via a warehouse hundred’s of miles away rather than just take them in myself!
A guy from the Isle of Man ordered the book on Amazon a few days ago and was kind enough to write and say he liked what I was trying to do. I always massively appreciate strangers taking the time to do this, and it more than counters any frustrations I feel at the logistical constraints of fulfilling orders. This particular reader also relates back to the Waterstones rant and goes a long way to explaining a bizarre phone-call I received from a bookseller a few weeks ago – which went like this:
‘Hi, I’m on the Isle of Man.’
[PAUSE] ‘I’m happy for you.’
‘Oh…sorry…One of my customers would like a copy of your book. Can I buy one?’
‘Of course you can.’
‘Wait – how were you planning on ordering it?’
‘I thought you could send it to me.’
‘I can, but I don’t know who you are or where you live.’
‘I’m on the Isle of Man…’
It’s amazing how often the London underground catches fire! Following general gridlock / alarms several thousand people were kicked out of Paddington yesterday morning; thwarting the efforts of the sneaky soul who kindly fly-postered the Bakerloo line the night before.
To date my exploits have brought me into close proximity with such acolytes as The Henry Kelly of Going for gold fame, and Oscar-winning-Turkish-assassin Kevin Spacey.
Staying on the famous people theme a lady in the office says that she knows Nurse #3 from BBC’s ‘Casualty,’ (or ‘Spot the impending tragedy,’ as it’s known in the Cororan house-hold). We’ve conceived an idea based on the exploits of Sid James from the ‘Carry On’ films. He famously used to supplement his meagre actors salary by surreptitiously placing bottles of whisky in shot and collecting advertising royalties. In similar fashion we hope to get the book into view on the set. The current thoughts are along the lines of ‘man and book impaled on spike,’ or ‘traffic warden-book-anus incident.’
…Following this through to its natural conclusion I think I’ll try and get The Melting Pot on the set of ER where it can be used to deflect a bullet fired by a lesbian heroin addict before being shredded by an exploding helicopter…
If this blog were a graph, then every six weeks or so a whiney, ranty, high-pitched spike would emerge – today would be one such moment…
Why is getting noticed so hard?
The impetus for this mood-swing came from approaching several libraries earlier in the week and asking if I could put up a poster. One of them made me fill in a two page form detailing what I hoped to get out of the experience, and said that someone would call to let me know if my request had been successful.
‘Surely you jest?’ I reasoned. ‘There’s a space on the wall. Here’s my poster. I could’ve put it up while you were explaining all that.’
‘SSSHHHH,’ her colleague interjected!
Annoyingly, every time I think about jacking it in (almost to the second), someone gets in touch and tells me that they enjoyed the book. I then feel suitable reinvigorated to throw myself once again on the merciless bureaucracy of the literary world.
If any of you reading this have any ideas – they would be gratefully received. A work-colleague suggested going up to Camden and setting up a market stall – not a bad idea at all. I’m also toying with the concept of Bus-tagging (i.e. running up behind moving billboards and eliciting sneers from old-age pensioners).
Finally – following legal advice I should point out that I’ve been burgled, that my posters have all been stolen, and that all future campaigns will (may) be perpetrated by an unknown third party…
I received a shock this week when I enquired as to how much it would cost to advertise in the London Underground. (Proper) marketing is phenomenally expensive. A TV program a few days ago said that the average Hollywood blockbuster spends around £36 million pounds on advertising. By contrast I’ve just spent about a ton on some high-resolution posters. This represents my entire marketing budget:
I wrote a list of all the best places to put posters in order to gain the maximum effect. Most of them appear to be illegal (which is a shame). Working on the assumption that it’s better to apologise after the fact than to ask permission I set about spreading my message of literary joy.
Initially I’ve started fairly tame and flyered a few phone-boxes…more daring schemes to follow in the next few days…
Leicester square – Pretending to make a call whilst prit-sticking a poster to the inside glass whilst being heckled by McDonalds pikeys.
The throbbing night-life metropolis that is Reading high-street.