Adventures in Marketing — Week 401

Sold a “Most Outrageous” and received an advance payment on a “Bob on Bob.”
The book buyer was “Rick the Roofer” (not his real name or occupation or, for that matter, the identifying facts that follow). Rick has lived an exotic life, one with back-to-nature hippie/musicians in Mendocino County, a Peace Corps stint in Tanzania, and a graduate degree in Elizabethan poetry. There has also never been a conversation in the café within his hearing that he has not felt would benefit from his participation. (Often he is correct.)
This particular morning it had been Fran (See recent previous “Adventures”) telling me about Gertrude Stein. Fran has read her complete works and I only “Alice B. Toklas” and Rick’s contributions made Fran ask if he had read her at all, but we came out of it on good enough terms that Rick decided he should buy another of my books. He had already read “Cheesesteak” and “Lollipop,” one of which he had sent to a friend (a professor? a writer? I forget) in Massachusetts whose opinions Rick greatly respects and his friend had praised the book sufficiently to legitimate me in Rick’s eyes to risk his wife’s displeasure at his bringing this one home.

The pre-order was from a doctor-friend of a doctor-friend whom I know – the friend of my friend that is – primarily through a basketball/politics e-mail discussion group involving a loosely affiliated, half-dozen amateur experts. (I also heard from a neighbor of his with whom I have had no contact whatsoever that he wants a copy too. Word-of-mouth is working.)
In other news:

1.) The printer advises “Bob on Bob” has shipped ahead of schedule and will be here Thursday. If everyone is as good as their word, only 30 copies remain available, so secure yours now. Lay ten bucks on me in person or send $15 to Spruce Hill Press, POB 9492, Berkeley, CA 94709.
2.) Faithful readers may recall my being asked to write a feature article about a controversial figure I had never heard of, who had edited a controversial magazine I had never read, and who had taken his own life before he was thirty in a spectacular fashion which was also news to me. Moreover I could find no one in his family who would talk to me and prominent figures in his professional past also ignored my requests.
But things are looking up. I found all the comics he’d edited available on line, free. (WOW!) And with the input of the editor who gave me the assignment, I’ve had lengthy conversations with several men who worked with him, all of whom have been generous with their time and sharing of stories. Since I’d literally begun with nothing, it’s been thrilling to see the pages fill. My editor wanted five-to-ten thousand words, and though I think three-to-five are more likely, they will be good words, and it should be fine.