[The clever watch-dogs among you are already working calculators with one hand as you draft a "rant" with the other. After all: even publishers have to admit that 5≠13...right?]
No, there haven't been 13 reports. Despite the fact that I've used the contents of those surveys numerous times in one way or another, most didn't lend themselves to a sustained narrative. But I went back through the material one last time, and found a few gems that every writer will want to post in a prominent place.
"The only dependable maxim I know of in publishing is 'Drunks buy books.' Thus, I always set aside some cash in the marketing budget for booze at readings."
"I've had some success marketing to libraries. Always be nice to librarians."
"Bookstore signings are about as effective as standing in an alley and sellling books from beneath an overcoat."
"Always carry a couple of copies of your book in your backpack or briefcase. I once made a sale in a parking lot to a Fed Ex driver."
"Beware publishers who boast of their marketing capabilities, and use it as a justification of their meager advances."
Survey Question #9: Based on your own experience, what one or two things have had the most impact on the succeses you've achieved so far?
"My ability to hang on to a day job."
"My own dogged determination & thick skin. Also a sense of humor."
"Big hats." [From an author who dresses in period costume for book signings]
"The fine-tuning of my own bullshit detector."
#12: Final Comments?
"My heart remains set on making the most beautiful, potent stories I can create, not on 'being an author.' "
"For me, it's always been about the writing, and that's what has saved me in the end."
"Do it because you love it.... Write because you can't imagine not writing.... What matters most is writing a really good book, a book that can't be ignored."
"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy."
PRACTICAL MARKETING [Courtesy Zornhau, 2005]
"They should put the 1st couple of pages up in subway adverts. Having read them several times, you'd feel compelled to try the book - if it was any good."
PLATE OF SHRIMP [Courtesy Alex Cox’s REPO MAN, circa 1984]
"A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like "plate" or "shrimp" or "plate of shrimp" out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness."
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- ▼ May (10)