For months I kept an eye on a new hot dog and ice cream parlor. This new business tried just about everything to draw customers to it—new items gaily written on the menu board, wi-fi now available!, bright colors shouting out, huge signs proclaiming their awesomeness, and a woman dressed as a hot dog with a hot dog hat who stood outside and waved exuberantly while rubbing her tummy and beckoning everyone to “Come on in!”
Did it work? If the parking lot was any indication, not so much. However, just a few miles from this little hotdog stand is a hamburger and ice cream joint that always has a full parking lot. One could say it’s the difference between hot dog love and hamburger love. Still, I wondered: just what makes the customer choose one place over another?
It isn’t always about the quality and taste of the food or the spiffy look of the establishment. Maybe the food isn’t as good, or isn’t any better, in the crowded
restaurant, but the atmosphere brings in the customers, or how long it’s been around, or people talk about it and spread the word, or or or . . . .
There are the places that are always full, seats hard to find, and while the food may be consistently good, or even hit or miss, there’s just something about the restaurant that pulls in a good loyal crowd.
There are the iconic restaurants, and the ones who garner five-stars who employ chefs with a pedigree. The food is good, the atmosphere stunning, the prices astronomical.
Well, isn’t there good food and wonderful atmosphere in the little tiny diners across America? —why yes, and they’ve only to find that One Thing, or Some Thing to call the customer to them, and once that happens, off they’ll go! Right? Right? Well. Maybe. Maybe not.
I’ve tried to study the whys of how some restaurants are packed and popular and others, though they have good quality food and sincere staff/owners, are barely hanging on. I have come to the conclusion that sometimes there simply isn’t a why. Sometimes there is only a How It Is. Sometimes it’s just luck. Timing. And luck. And Lots of Luck. And some Something that can’t be defined no matter how much we try, no matter how many blogs and updates and twitter feeds we read about “How To.” Sometimes it just is.
So. Our books. Yeah. Our readers. Our love. Our Life.
We can try to call people to us with contests or give aways or pointing out the good reviews
we have or wear a funny book suit with a book hat on our heads while exuberantly rubbing our bellies—et cetera et cetera et cetera—but, in the end, sometimes our books may never become iconic or popular—we may never make a million bucks, and be lucky to make some thousands of bucks, or some may be lucky to sell but a few books at all.
While there are those savvy people who know how to market effectively, most of us are standing around with deer in the headlights eyes, flinging out sticky shit one side to the other in the hopes something sticks.
See, I’m thinking — I have to wake up with myself every day. I have to look in
the mirror and like what I see. I have to feel comfortable with myself. I have to write the best book I know how and then hope a lot of hope. It is not in my nature to stand outside in a funny suit, rubbing my stomach, and wildly beckoning y’all to come inside. It’s in my nature to give you my words with love and hard work and sincerity and do the best I know how while remaining the person I am. To try my best without being a big pain in the ass to the social networking airwaves.
Would I love to see my books back in the Number 1 spot at Kindle? Hells to the yeahs, but will I hop on my head while reciting the complete works of Shakespeare to get your attention? Nope! Because what would you think of me? What would I think of myself? Lawd!
Readers: what you can do to help your favorite author is to pass along the word – tell others about the author/book(s), and further if you are so inclined, review it on Amazon, B&N, etc., or talk about it on your blog/facebook/twitter: give us your love for it will be appreciated. Writers, what you can do is support other writers – someone else’s success does not take away from our own potential or real successes! We also can be more appreciative of what we have and where we are, for there is always someone else who’d love to be in our position. We should write the best books we can, and present them as beautifully and as “perfectly” as possible (note: in other words, don’t be in such a hurry to throw out your words just to say “I’m published”).
By the way: that hotdog stand went out of business. Just sayin.
Tell me: what’s up with y’all? My laptop is still in the laptop hospital and this little mini-netbook is terrible. lawd. I hope this post turns out presentable. Lawdy be in a bucket of worms.