Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Big Sell


You know a wag might say an unlikely place for me to sell one of my books would be a chain bookstore but I say that with tongue firmly in cheek. As to the five most off-kilter venues, here goes:

Number One with a bullet would be going on the O’Reilly Factor to promote my book. I would just love to be on his show and have a knockdown, drag out shouting match with O’Reilly. He’s taller than me but we’d be sitting down and my voice is deeper that his so I’m prepared to go mano-y-mano with the King of the Blowhards. I have some experience shouting my point of view when, er, motivated. What I hope is not that his audience would be interested in my book but that he’d denounce me and my work as “A dark, disturbed tale of corrupt individuals advancing an anti-capitalist agenda, and anybody buying this book is a fool.” Then I’d run banner ads on Lefty sites proclaiming Bill O’Reilly Doesn’t Want You to Buy This Book. Ha. The book would be a hit.

Number Two would be the PTA national convention. Of course officially there’s no way the PTA could endorse my books such as Bangers, about bent cops and ambitious pols or say the Cocaine Chronicles, the recently re-issued anthology of jaw grinding, cautionary tales about that devil powder. But I know if I got to give a presentation on how reading Dickens and Twain in high school kept me interested in school beyond sports. Surely this would resonate and I’d sell some books at the signing afterward…books they’d keep hidden in their nightstand drawer.

Number Three place to hawk my book would be a Klitschko boxing match – either one. For those who might not know, these two Ukrainian brothers between them are the title holders of any and all heavyweight belts. They’re big men, like 6-6, 6-7, and unlike other tall men who box, are coordinated and reasonably fast. Now me and a few other boxing enthusiasts have long suspected that Vitaly, the older one at 40 (his brother Vladimir is 35) has a glass jaw but since very few have been able to penetrate his defense, given his long arms with them fists on the end of it keep you out, this may never be proven. Anyway, I think their fans are the hard-boiled gritty kind. So all I would need is Dr. Ironfist -- did I mention that Vitaly is the only Ph.D. to hold a heavyweight title? Anyway, I know he reads so at the weigh in and stare down, he introduces me at my table off to the side. Then a ring honey clad in a bikini holds up a sign with my name and current book cover on it, and I bet I could move a few units.

Number Four is a cat lovers meeting. I have not killed nor harmed any cats in any of my books or short stories. Right there that ought to set me in solid.

Number Five would be a Trappist monks’ monastery. Okay, I guess they really don’t take a vow of silence but pretty much speak only when spoken to and do like their quiet time for contemplation and what have you. Given that and citing my Number One venue approach, I’m thinking they’d gladly buy a book for me to shut up.

Lastly you might be wondering about this graphic on the right. It doesn’t have anything to do with my answers – though I did consider a neo-Nazi gathering as a particularly tough crowd for me to sell to as one of my choices. But the illustration is by the great comics artist Joe Kubert, co-creator of Sgt. Rock. It’s for the upcoming film about the all-black Tuskegee airmen who flew fighter planes in World War II. My mother’s brother, Oscar D. Hutton, Jr. was a Tuskegee pilot killed in combat over Memmingen, Germany in June 1944. He was the uncle I never knew. I just dug this poster done as an old school comic book cover that Kubert issued recently, and wanted to give him and these heroes some props.

4 comments:

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Meredith Cole said...

From O'Reilly... to a cat convention--sure is a range of marketing ideas! I like them, Gary. Especially the PTA.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

My favorites are #1 and #3. I never watch O'Reilly, but certainly would if you were on it. And I'd love to see a "ring honey" holding up a sign with your name! I'd take a photo and spread it all over the net for ya. But if you ever go to a neo-Nazi gathering, I want to be a fly on the wall.

Gary Phillips said...

Ha, thanks, y'all.