Again I stand on the verge of a familiar milestone with an unfamiliar wisdom. Feverishly I type away the midnight oil with the sounds of tapping on laptop keys. “The End” will bless the final page of my second novel and I cannot help but to dwell on the journey before this one. I cannot help but to think about the insightful dialogue I’ve had with www.selfpublishing.com a year earlier. I cannot help but dwell on what I could possibly do better this year. Since my first novel, I’ve paid a lot of attention to the psyche of the consumer. I discovered quickly that in the business of selling books, music or anything else, there is a common thread that makes a product hot enough to fly off of the shelves. It is the illusion of success, and it is the appearance of stability, consistency and quality.
SelfPublishing.com had already laid all of the tools on the garage floor for me to fine tune my art; however I could not coin the phrase until now. I call the key that opens to the lock to the sale of a book a blessing that is “The Corporate Kiss.” Just like an observed kiss from a sexy admirer increases your value to those that bare witness to it, a corporate kiss makes your product more interesting.
Think about it. Nobody wants what nobody wants. The perception of a so-called “endorsement” by a major player in your field of art is crucial to the sales of your work. Interestingly enough, if you ask any savvy consumer they may agree that the abundance of talent is underground, and not recognized by the masses. They may even know geniuses in literature, music and other arts to which the artist is independent on a personal level. Yet still, as talented as they are, they don’t seem to move much product.
However, if you touch that same talent with the lips of the corporate face something magical happens. We let Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and critics from the newspaper decide for us what we should invest in. Yet they don’t know it all now do they? We have all gone to a critically acclaimed movie that we thought sucked. Fact is, we don’t listen to them because we are mindless zombies. (Debatable.) We listen because we assume that they are experts on the job. In our minds, there is no way that a Hollywood studio would invest money in something they thought wasn’t great. Or there is no way that a book would be on a shelf if the publishing company thought the story wasn’t compelling. Don’t be fooled, ladies and gentleman. We all know what happens to those who ass-u-me. It is all a numbers game to some companies. Some are counting on the consumer to put style over substance.
So what do they do? They not only give it a corporate kiss, but they leave lipstick on the collar of the product. They will pay a star a lot of money to put a popular face on the package. Or they will bombard you with advertising and product placement. Fortunately, SelfPublishing.com is not such a company. Everyone I consulted with encouraged me to take my time and do it right. “There is never a bad time, to come out with a good book” is what they would say to me at more anxious times, in spite of my deadlines.
So then, what do we do differently? What do we do to make your book an event instead of a coaster on a glass table? That is entirely up to you. You must take the time not only to study your craft as an author but also your craft of salesmanship. You must study the website, emails and newsletters from SelfPublishing.com to master your craft on both sides of the game. Now saying all of that, corporate doesn’t know everything. They told George Lucas a space movie would never work. They told Russell Simmons that Hip-Hop was a passing fad, and many other things they predicted to be dead wrong. However, the quality of the corporate kiss is what we should learn from.
Regardless of what we thought of a terrible book or a rotten movie, we have to agree that something reeled us in. Perhaps it was the original cover or the clever synopsis? Perhaps it was the exciting preview or your favorite actor? They all have the kiss in common. In short, it is not that we got “bamboozled” or “tricked.” They are just using the tools called knowledge and wisdom. Just imagine if you mastered that art but put quality above all else? Your success would be as inevitable as the kiss that comes with it. Take care of yourselves, my fellow artists. SelfPublishing.com is behind my next finest work to date. I will see you on top.