Adventures in Marketing: Week 149

Sold one “Schiz.”
The buyer was an 80-something woman, in town from the Upper West Side (“near Lincoln Center”) for a grandson’s bar mitzvah. The book was for her son, a physicist at UCB. She had me sign it, with maternal pride, for “Dr. D____ R____.” She was at the next table in the café and explained that she believed “in omens,” but what omen had led her to select this book from my others was kept to herself.

All other news was about “I Will Keep You Alive.”
Even though it is not officially for sale, we decided it would be kosher to sell copies to people who hadn’t come to the launch but would have bought it there if they had. So we moved another half-dozen – and gave one to the fellow who designed our invitation. (The one exception was the sale Adele made in the health club locker room to a woman from out of town, who overheard her discussing it and found the topic irresistible since she had been born with a heart defect left undiagnosed until she was 25.)
Responses have ranged from raves to people who found the subject too anxiety producing. One woman flagged us down in a parking lot to thank us for our “contribution.” An e-mailer called the story “terrifying and deeply moving.” Then there was the woman who said, while passing my table, “I started your book” – and kept moving.
“And…?” I called after her.
“And then I started having chest pains.”

One couple has thought enough of the book to recommend it to several book stores, all of whom then ordered multiple copies. Which made me wonder what the distributor’s sales representatives had been up to. It also embarrassed me enough to raise the subject with the Berkeley Public Library.
“Are you giving us this copy?” the clerk said.
“No. I want you to order it.”
She showed me a form to fill out.