Adventures in Marketing — Week 309

Sold one “Lollipop.”
The buyer was “Marcel,” my café pal with the fuel-injected hatchback and the Christian Scientist mother. (See “Adventure” 306.) Three people have said they intend to buy it but have not as yet, and the fellow who said he’d send me $10 has not as yet.

Here are some reactions: Adele loved it. So did a close friend. Another friend praised my writing and “sensibility,” but, word has reached me, disapproved of my political thinking. The first friend and another person have said they hope to review it. One of the two places from which I had solicited reviews has noted I am not a subscriber and suggested, while this would not influence its decision, I might wish to become one. I explained that my policy (unexpressed), when I used to submit stories to quarterlies who hit me up for subscriptions, was that I would subscribe if they published my story and that if they didn’t, I wouldn’t. I offered that, even if the review was a hit job, I would buy a subscription, which I thought was more than fair.

I also had several visitors to my table.
“An-ti-GO-knee” (See a previous “Adventure”) looked over both “Lollipop” and IWKYA and said she hoped to talk more but had a BART train to catch. (She had a question in reference to the latter though: “How long have you been married?”)
A tall, thin fellow with long dreadlocks and wearing a white plastic Targer bag on his head asked how much my books cost. When I told him, he said, “Mmmm” an asked the barista how much a refill was. When the barista told him, he said, “Mmmm” and left.
I had a longer conversation with a young man of Indian descent who managed one his family’s hotel (rooms for $100-150) in downtown Oakland. He had developed an entire philosophy of hotel management (“Your rest is our reward”), which he intended to develop into a book and was interested in my thoughts on and experiences with self-publishing.
Then I had an even longer conversation with the husband of a colleague of Adele’s who had died several years ago. He had moved to NYC a year ago and was back in Berkeley tying up loose ends. (When I saw him enter the café, I shifted my book arrangement to what I thought would most engage him.) We covered the usual grounds: children (his); grandchildren (his); health (everyone’s); work; exercise; politics. Then I said, “Good seeing you, but I’ve got to get back to work.”

When I told Adele the closest I had come to a sale was the guy wearing the plastic bag, she said, “What you are getting out of this is more valuable than anything you got from Harper & Row. These are jewels you are polishing and polishing.”