Mail Empowerment

With ABADDON's release looming, I'm building my plan for world bookstore domination. Recognizing the need for a mass independent appeal for the book, as one can no longer count on Borders and Amazon to save us, I have been compiling a database of all the appropriate brick-and-mortar independent booksellers in the country.

This is what keeps me busy while I'm watching DOCTOR WHO. I'm up to Michigan in the American Booksellers Association and I've already got 314 bookstores.

If life were fair, I'd send them each a pitch kit: my bio sheet, a rack card and bookmark, ordering information on ABADDON and my backlist, Nocturnal Urges matchbooks and a cover letter.... all nicely packaged in a shiny black folder with flames marking the front.

On the other hand, I'd like to actually turn a profit.

So I figured I'd get it down to a cover letter and an ABADDON pitch sheet, maybe with a bookmark. Then I calculated the cost of sending 600 9x12 envelopes under the new postage rates.

Downsize again. What's a postcard cost?

I am clueless on direct mail. I know emailing them all is possible but very spammy. Direct mail ain't much better, but somebody's got to tell all those bookstores I exist. So I started doing some reading on direct mail - what works?

Get this:

How do you get people to act on your mailings? In his book, On the Art of Copywriting, direct marketing guru Herschell Gordon Lewis says you should tie your benefits to one or more the “Five Great Motivators” --


Wow. All I want is for somebody to buy my book. Um, in my business fear is a good thing, yes? *blink blink* I want them afraid. Score one for me, yanno?

This is why big-time authors hire marketing consultants and other people in suits who do this thinking for them. My fan base is small but mighty, and while I know they'll go to their bookstores and harangue them into carrying the book, in order to achieve a wider appeal, I really have to push them myself. And yet I am clueless.

Greed? "Um, I need airfare to next year's cons, buy my book." I don't know if that counts.
Guilt? A picture of my son wearing the T-shirt that says, "Buy my mom's books or I'll starve." He's cute. It could work.
Exclusivity? "Sure, I'm haranguing 600 independent stores, but YOU'LL be the only one in Pahrump, Nevada to carry my book!"
Need for approval?


Um, are we talking about MY need for approval? Because that's pretty deep, psychologically speaking, for a buy-my-book pitch. Also, I'm not sure we can fit all this shit on a postcard. They're gonna charge me extra.

Maybe I should go on the world's biggest road trip. Physically visit every bookstore in the country that isn't owned by Borders or Barnes & Noble. That could be fun, you know. San Francisco alone would take a week.

On the other hand, gas is still $4.19 a gallon.

Now we're back to fear.