There’s a popular saying among the publishing elite: Books don’t sell themselves. You have to be your own best asset. For the gang here at Vertigo Alley Publishing, some days are better than others. Some weeks you sell 15 books, others you sell 5, and most you sell none. Likewise, sometimes your audience gets it, and oftentimes they don’t. That said, it’s been a tough quarter.
Take this recent flyer / e-card for The Reformed Citizen:
Everyone at the office thought it was a riot. Well, everyone except Nate:
(But he’s always been lethargic—we think he’s been diagnosed with narcolepsy.)
Anyhow, we thought gnomes would be a cute little gimmick to move some books, but instead we discovered that while garden gnome sales across southern California had quadrupled, sales of The Reformed Citizen remained unaffected.
Then there were our packaging issues. Take the original cover for “Babe,” which was banned from MySpace due to its graphic nudity and blatant sexual content:
The solution, we thought? MySpace stickers, 400 for a dollar at your local Big Lots:
The result: In late August, MySpace had its 1 billionth member sign up for an account.
In early September, a memo reading, “A babe in the buff holds a copy of The Reformed Citizen” accidentally got interpreted as, “A buff babe holds up a copy of The Reformed Citizen.”
Once we recalled all the posters and billboard panels, we thought it would be a good idea to leave the provocative packaging / advertising at the side of the road for a while and try something more subtle:
Alas, this approach led to a bitter political dispute resulting in Massachusetts democrat Jesse Gordon being awarded ownership of the jessegordon.com domain.
The dingleberry on the shit sundae was the Toronto release of Stories from the Steel Garden:
The book store was snowed in, which may have been understandable—had not this picture been taken in July.
But I’m not discouraged, and I don’t think any of the Vertigo Alley staff are either. Gnomes, politicians, freak snowstorms, and female bodybuilders aside, the Christmas season is fast approaching, and we have a plethora of ideas up our collective sleeves, including (but not limited to) our new sales manager, Mr. R. Santa—
—and less-offensive uniforms for our couriers:
We’re confident that the above ideas, along with the introduction of an 18-hour workday, will bring our sales back up out of the red. Let the aggressive marketing blitz begin!