Here in the wilds of Andalucia, one tends to feel cut off from the vibrant life of a published author. I've posted before about how much the author does in terms of marketing and promotion. Authors with massive sales have to do it too. Some (a very successful few, and only if they stamp their feet) receive actual remuneration for appearances at festivals and the opening of a book shop or even an envelope. Others (not so very many more) wangle expenses so at least they are a little less out of pocket when they attend the Cricklewood Literary Festival and Village Fête. However, I suspect the bill at the bar more than ravages the contents of their purses and wallets.
Naturally, my marketing efforts are concentrated on-line. In the main, I endeavour to do it in a semi-serious fashion. Unfortunately, cynicism and an inappropriate sense of humour often intervene. Please Allow Me is a marketing alter-ego created to post "promotional material" on Facebook on his page . Some of the same posts find themselves on twitter, but I tweet them as myself with a moderated accompanying text. How well this works, no-one actually knows, certainly not me. Please Allow Me - often referred to (by me) as PAM - is the inventor of Fakevertising, with which he claims to exploit the talent of The Cricklewood Lookalike Agency to promote the novel by "The Gibbous House Man". The results are often just silly, but they make me laugh and - perhaps not in quarters where irony is not easily understood - they sell the odd book, if my interpretation of the vagaries of Amazon's Bestseller Rating is correct.
"Donny Fart, of the Cricklewood Lookalike Agency, channels the real POTUS a little too well"
Which brings me to algorithms. Amazon has tried to sell me my own book several times, buying them myself seems like cheating though, so I don't. Anyway, here is a short piece about... Well, you decide.
‘So there isn’t a box?’
‘Not as such, no.’
‘Are there books?’
‘And you can’t keep those in a box?’
‘You don’t NEED a box, that’s the beauty of it.’
‘Well, where will they be?’
‘On your e-reader. Slim, portable, it can contain up to 6,000 books.’
‘6,000? Let me see... If I read a book a day, that’ll be what? 18 years?’
‘You read your books? All of them?’
‘That’s what they’re for, isn’t it?’
‘Well, no. Here at Steganor*, we see books as life-style indicators.’
‘So what? I’ve got Nabakov, Bulgakov and Chekhov on my shelves. What does that “indicate” about me and my life-style – and why do you care?’
‘We’re not in the business of selling books, Mr Mustermann. We want to sell you everything.’
‘Everything there is to buy.’
‘Well, I like to buy books. And you didn’t answer my question.’
‘Ah… what was it? Bulgakov, Nabakov and Chekhov? Let me just check the algorithm...’
‘They used to be in books too, oh no, that was logarithms. I think I preferred those.’
‘Got it. You need a set of Matrushka dolls, a renewable VPN for privacy in your on-line browsing and a ceramic seagull ornament for your bathroom.’
‘Do I? Do I really? What if I told you I don’t?’
‘The algorithm says...’
‘Algorithms don’t “say” anything. I don’t need those things, I will never need those things. Maybe nobody needs those things, did you think of that?’
‘Moving on, Mr Mustermann, would you like to buy a Shaker Knife Sharpener?’
‘No, and I don’t want anything mentioned in the outro of “What Do You Want From Life?” either.’
‘Ah wait, that’s music isn’t it? Yes, The Tubes. I have that in a variety of digital formats...’
‘I have a limited edition transparent vinyl pressing of “What Do You Want From Live” and some memories that cannot be digitised. I don’t need what you’re selling.’
Some bleeps. A little whirring.
‘Good Morning Mr Mustermann. We at Steganor have an offer on e-book box-sets...’
* Look it up
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