A fellow author and I have become friendly and are in the process of doing an ARC swap, which means that we’re sending each other the pre-publication version of our books that are handed out to reviewers and booksellers. Mine (The Android’s Dream) is on its way; his arrived yesterday, and it’s all I can do not to ignore everything else and read it, because I think the author is that good, and I’ve been lusting to read this book since I heard about it. I made the mistake of reading the first page and then nearly had to chew off my own arm because the hand would not let go of the book. But I have The Last Colony to finish first. Now I have a prod to get that thing done.
Yes, I’m taunting you by not telling you the name of the book and author right now. Never fear, I have no doubt I will discuss this book in the future. But right now the reason I’m not telling you the name of the author is because I’m going to engage in a moment of total shamefulness, and I don’t want his good name sullied by association: Dude, I’m so totally jealous of my friend’s book marketing campaign.
Not jealous of my pal, who is a great guy and who I wish to have the immense success that I think his writing deserves. I’m a sad, petty little man in many ways, but this way is not one of them. I like it when people I know do well. But jealous of his marketing campaign? Oh, my, yes. His marketing campaign, as detailed on the back of his ARC, has the sort of rich buttery promotional goodness that makes other authors want to reach for it, yearningly yet hesitatingly, in order to pet its silky perfection, coo in its precious ear, and whisper to it they wish it were theirs.
So what does this marketing campaign have that’s so damn special? Well, and you should by no means think this is a complete accounting:
* Interactive website, with audio and video
* Floor display with special riser
* Soundtrack (?!!?!?) on iPod Shuffles
* Streaming video trailer on YouTube
* National advertising campaign including the New York Times
* Print, radio and TV interviews
* Confirmed author appearance on Good Morning America
Good Morning America! Damn it, I want to be on Good Morning America. I want to sit there, bleary-eyed from a 5:30 makeup call, the taste of corporate television green room pastry still in my mouth as I explain to Diane Sawyer what it was that possessed me to open Android’s Dream with a chapter-long fart joke, while Diane sits there with that pleasant, unreadble anchorperson smile on her face, only the glint of her eyes to signal her internal monologue, which begins, I’m seated with a madman. It’s not too much to ask.
Yes, I was on Oprah once. But that was ten years ago. I didn’t have any books to hawk then. And I sort of doubt Android’s Dream is a good fit for that book club thing she has going. Although I think it would be amusing to have millions of Oprah viewers flood the stores to buy my book, take it home, crack it open, read the first page, and think Oh, Oprah, honey. You’ve clean lost your mind. These are the fantasies that keep you up nights, giggling.
My marketing campaign as listed on the back of the Android’s Dream ARC: Trade show appearances and SF media advertising. No iPod Shuffles.
Which is not actually a complaint. Tor has done a fine job selling me and my books. Indeed, in two days I board a plane to Denver to attempt to charm and delight booksellers into taking more copies of my work. And I adore my publicist at Tor, who is smart and motivated and when I think of great promotional ideas and send them to her, sends back e-mails that says “yeah, we’re already doing that,” but says it in a nice way that doesn’t have the words you damn meddling fool of an author subtextually appended to the end of that previous statement. And the books, well, they’re doing just fine, thanks.
(Note to self: Send Tor marketing department a really large fruit basket.)
So this is not me complaining about my marketing. It’s just me coveting someone else’s marketing. Sort of how I can really like my minivan (and I do), yet covet someone else’s Bugatti Veyron 16.4. Yes. Just like that.
I’m very excited for my pal. He writes so well, but as any author will tell you, writing well isn’t nearly enough. It makes a difference when your publisher has your back on the marketing. His publisher not only has his back, they’ve strapped a rocket pack on it and are standing there to the side, holding a box with a big red button on it that says “LAUNCH” and asking him, so, are you ready? Damn it, that’s just cool. Yes, I covet his marketing campaign. That doesn’t mean I don’t want him to have it.
Which I suppose, technically, means I don’t actually covet it.
Man, I can’t even do pettiness right. No wonder I don’t have those iPod Shuffles. Oh, well, at least I can still cop to envy.