I'm going to take a major karma hit here, I know. The only thing I can say to defend myself is that I am being careful not to show anything that can identify either the book or the author. Plus, I'm not using any words that the author is likely to google and find my blog entry.
I really don't want to hurt his feelings. I know his life and identity are poured into this book, and from the looks of the marketing materials, his fortune as well.
But, my friends, I present to you a textbook example of how NOT to market your book to a bunch of jaded booksellers. We get dozens of advance reader copies a month. We read what immediately appeals to us. And believe me this is not appealing.
Exhibit One: The packaging. A Tiffany blue box with a white silk ribbon and a card warning me that this book was going to break my heart. Excuse me, please. It takes a heck of a lot more than a tear-jerker story to break my heart. Besides, what is wrong with a nice simple bubble padded manila envelope with a short and direct cover letter of introduction?
Exhibit Two: The contents.
1- A sappy letter about the epiphany that led him to write the book. Including a glaring typo in the first sentence of the third paragraph.
2- A package of tissue, for Pete's sake! With the line "Cry me a river? You will." printed on it.
3- A 4x6 color photo of the author in his best GQ pose. Not a bookmark, mind you, a professional photograph suitable for framing. What is this supposed to be? Something I stick on my vanity mirror to moon over while I put my makeup on? Ugh.
4- The book. Oh, yeah. Don't forget this is supposed to be about promoting a book.
I could probably forgive the silly Tiffany box. Even the typo in the cover letter. Lord knows I'm about the worst speller I know. But the tissues for my dainty tears and the come hither egotistical photograph are over the top.
Still, I'm not into censorship. We sell all kinds of crap in our store. And this might actually be a really great book. So, on the employee's breakroom table it went. Anyone who wanted to could grab it and take it home to read. And maybe fall in love with a beautifully crafted novel.
It's been there a week. People come in and say "What's that?" or "You've got to be kidding!" Or they simply laugh.
The next "To Kill a Mockingbird" may be languishing in our back room without a single one of our booksellers cracking the cover. That means none of us will be out on the bookfloor handselling the great new book we just read.
All because some marketing genius decided schmaltz sells.