Adventures in Marketing — Week 297

As I stepped from my car, a young woman in rainbow sneaks and a skateboard on her back complimented my boots. (The diamondback rattlers for those keeping up on my fashionista status.) I gave her my usual cowboy boots spiel and then she complimented my bracelets and I gave my usual bracelets spiel and then she complimented my total look. “Those boots will last a lifetime,” she said. “Don’t know how long that’ll be,” I said, “but I plan to enjoy every minute of it.”
When I had established myself in the café, the first visitor to my table was a small, shy India-accented fellow, whose thick black beard equaled in dimension his entire head. “What are your books?” he inquired. I gave him a brief rundown at which he nodded. “Do you write?” I said. “Books and poetry about the spiritual,” he said and scurried off, but not before saying over his shoulder, “Enjoy your writing.”
“Enjoy,” I had said. “Enjoy,” he had said. Something, I figured, was going on. (It took me until the next morning, after the small fellow’s repeated exits and entrances, having to be reminded each time by staff and customers alike to put on a mask, to wonder about cognitive diminishment. At least on his part.)
But before that happened I sold two books.

The first was to Yael, a cantankerous Israeli art therapist, whose Burmadoodle, Kasha, is the cutest dog at the café. She began by picking up Most Outrageous, which she looked at and looked at and looked at.
“$15,” I said, extending a hand.
“You have to give people an idea what it’s about,” she said.
“You’ve got an idea,” I said. “As the druggists used to tell us kids who’d sit on the floor reading the comics on the rack, ‘I’m not a fucking library.’”
“Why did you even write this?” she said. Which got us into a semi-heated discussion about transgressive art, child sexual abuse, recovered memories, and her conclusion that there was no way in the world she would read such a book.
By then though she had picked up Fully Armed and had jumped to Jimmy’s experiences in Vietnam. That, with its confirmation of her views about man’s inhumanity to man – especially American men – sold her. “My intuition told me this morning to come to the café,” she said. “I wasn’t intending to, but it said I should. And this is just what I need.”
I was tempted to say something about conclusion-jumping but I wanted to give nothing away.

The second sale was Best Ride to Irving. (See “Adventures” 275, 278 – and yesterdays post.)
“I haven’t read this one,” he said.
“You can have it for free,” I said.
“I want to pay.” He took out a $20.
“It’s definitely worth $15,” said the woman who had bought the two books for her son the cartoonist. (See “Adventures” 295-6.)
“I only ask $5,” I said. “I’ve got boxes full.”
“Okay,” Irving said.
“You drive a hard bargain,” I said.