Thursday, March 22, 2012
No, I don't have time for "cookie-cutter marketing"
I keep getting calls about marketing my books, and I saw, they are old books, and don’t “deserve” the attention that would draw time and resources away from new stuff.
We all call this “cookie-cutter marketing”. But one problem is that book publishers, even cooperative ones, see the world through the book industry only, and seem to be reinforcing the idea that a book shouldn’t get out there unless it can generate and maintain numbers on its own.
It is true that a memoir set in the past and with no pretensions of making policy for the future can maintain a certain timelessness. Someone who has accomplished a lot in a specific field and then writes a history of it could expect sales for a long time. Permanence can be achieved by certain period fiction, or fantasy (Harry Potter). Sci-fi is more likely to be influenced by rapid change in science.
But what I did back in 1997 was to take what started as a personal memoir and use a particular twist in it to influence the debate on a particular issue (gays in the military). This got to be expanded to a much broader concern about liberty interests, and the idea that we have to face the idea that there is a certain tension between personal autonomy (and policy heavily based on individualized personal responsibility) and building and maintaining the social capital needed for sustainability.
So my stuff is an ever-changing product. I got heavily into blogging in 2006, remained somewhat light on social media (keeping it “professional”), and now need to bring several media pieces together: fiction, screenwriting, music: all of these I have worked with in the past. But I can’t devote that much to “old stuff” that is always changing (online).
Of course, there is another wrinkle in the way we look at this. If someone doesn’t have to make an immediate profit from media he puts out, does he really have any responsibilities for others in life that would make him matter? Forming families, having children, and doing things that raise social capital mean taking sides an accepting a certain amount of hucksterism as normal. And, yes, with my particular circumstance and message, it seems I took myself out of that game a long time ago.