Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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The Secret to Great Artistic Marketing, Revealed here

I see that my self published book, Chess Poems for the Tournament Player, just sold on ebay for the remarkable sum of 3 dollars and 75 cents, roughly 3 dollars and 74 cents more than its intrinsic worth. Four bidders won their eternal place in my book of dreams by putting in bids for this work, creating a bidding frenzy which ran the price up spiralling (and, needless to say, wuthering) heights from its original "auction minimum" posting of one dollar.

I had been concerned, because in the previous four auctions it had generated only one successful auction. I had that long, dark night of the soul, like St. Augustine had, or pro football players when they pray during games on national TV, and then resolved to rediscover my hidden Sacred Marketability. I realized that my successful auction was when the book was listed in the category of "chess" while my unsuccessful auctions were when the book was listed in the category of "poetry". The "visits" counter registered far more visits in the poetry listing, of course, but, as anyone who writes knows, poets will not read other poets. I haven't looked up this type of data in years, but I'll bet that magazines like Poetry and American Poetry Review
still have submissions for publication that are a material multiplier greater than the actual circulation. You know, Great Artists need not support other "lesser artists", and all that jazz. As an old Black Oak Arkansas song posited: "Everybody wants to see Heaven, nobody wants to die".

Now chess players are a different breed. They like to buy quirky odd chess things because they are quirky and odd. It's just a matter of truth in advertising and some fun ad copy, and sales happen. So I titled this ebay ad "Really Cheap Chess Poems--Buy and Wince", and the bidding frenzy began. I'm grateful for readers, and for ebay, and I'd like to thank my mom, Office Depot's photocopy department, and the

I am deeply worried about how to market my next book, Gerbil Theology, as I do not believe that gerbil fanciers or theologians respond as well to absurdity as do chess players, and ebay is all about search terms. Maybe I'm a genre poet, and my next work should be about a a chess tournament. I have a half-finished work on one I tried to write in a single weekend some weeks ago.

It's okay to be a genre writer, after all. For every Bowie, there must be a number of Jethro Tulls.
I think maybe my next booklet should be mail art or book exchange, but who wants to burden a stranger with a book they didn't "bid on", particularly when chapbooks are not heavy enough to make good doorstops?
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