A Philosophy of Marketing
So an author friend of mine has run into a spot of bother with her pregnancy (my wife did too, it's very distressing, though all was, and will be, well). Her book, her first, is publishing at the end of this month, and I've been helping her with promotion.
In so doing I got in a lovely email exchange with an librarian who remembered me from my Soft Skull days because of my rather vived marketing approach. I thanked her although I felt a wee twinge of weirdness. Is that what/who I am? I'm reminded of Bill Hicks's famous rant about marketers: "Anyone here in marketing? Kill yourself. Seriously, though. If you are, do. Really. There's no rationalization for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers."
Now, given that I helped market Bill Hick's book Love All The People, I feel like I can give myself a shot at rationalizing what I do.
The Industrial Revolution make the cultural nexus called "book" into a product to be sold in a supply chain like a shoe or a chair.
The supply chain is now dramatically shrunk even as more product is being pushed into it.
So the book is now something more of your self, something you exchange with others more like a talk, a conversation, a class, an event than like a lampshade or a hammer.
Which entails, quite fundamentally, that others do not really sell it for you; it is you, so you do the selling.
We've a tendency to see this as bad, but I think it is healthy and more integrated. To create a product for others to do all the selling involves an awful lot of good ole Marxist alienation. Of course, to do all the selling can be emotionally very taxing but that's true of many activities.
Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, I'd be despondent if I no longer had a role in helping writers and readers connect. (That might make me kill myself!) But I do realize that the only truly organic way to do it, the only honest and authentic way to do it, is for the writer to do it. So, writers, feel no shame in hustling. It may well be the Edenic state.