Adventures in Marketing: Week 73 (a)

My distributer asked for “comparatives.” That is, books written in the last three years similar to mine, which had been published by small independent presses, like mine.

“This is bullshit!” I patiently explained. “”Basically I don’t read books written in the last three years, and I don’t know any like mine, and if I did, I probably wouldn’t’ve written them.”

Milo explained that the distributor wanted its sales reps to be able to walk into a book store and say “The Schiz” and “Cheesesteak” were just like such-and-such so the store would know how many to order. And all the books he and I were comparing mine to had been written before the clerks and sales reps had been born. I said, “Okay.”

I looked on-line. I found nothing. I went to a downtown bookstore. The clerk was thirtyish, casually dressed, an untrimmed beard. I explained what I wanted.

He thought black comedies were “plays,” like, I guess, “The Jeffersons.”

“Day of the Locust,” I said.

He thought that was a satire. “What about Terry Southern,” he said after some reflection.

“Good enough,” I said. “But not the last three years.”

He looked on his computer. “It says Salmon Rushdie’s new book is a satire.”

“But hardly a small, independent publisher,” I suggested. “Let’s try something easier. What about a memoir. Preferable episodic. And…” I narrowed the window. “…by a white male, heterosexual, with no criminal past or substance abuse problems.”

He made a bee-line for the New Arrivals shelf and pulled out something by Mindy Kaling.

I told Milo I hoped the distributor would be happy to know my books have their markets to themselves.