At that time, my publisher sent me several hundred colorful postcards with all the book details on it, which I then mailed to anyone and everyone whose address I could find.
I also found other uses for the card, which I wrote about on my blog, including this post from February 18, 2009. (Note: the Stories book publisher now sends me bookmarks--also colorful, also with all the book deets on it. I use them just as I used those postcards.)
Turning the Tables on Junk Mail
This is not a secret: I will seize any opportunity to promote my book. And I’m not—nor should I be—alone. As writer Brad Meltzer was quoted in a recent NYT Book Review, “Today, you can’t be a successful writer without having a little Barnum in your bones.” Amen I say to that, especially for all of us first-time authors.
Since the Stories book was launched last July, a mere seven months ago, my particular version of Barnum has been in overdrive, seeing marketing opportunities everywhere: on coffeehouse and grocery store bulletin boards; at book and literary events (my own and others’); at holiday and networking parties; and pretty much during any interaction that continues beyond “Hello.”
And just this past week, I discovered another marketing tool, one that by happy coincidence aids in the recycling process, both in paper and postage. I speak of the junk mail that appears regularly in my mailbox, and, more specifically, of the prepaid envelopes that accompany it.
Truth is, this should have occurred to me earlier. I should have seen the possibilities in using these envelopes to market the Stories book, but alas was too focused on the more stealth-like, Bondian strategies, like facing out my books at local bookstores or enlisting recruits to pin up book postcards all around the country. (Thanks, Lynn, for the Tucson strike!)
But no use crying over spilt postage. I’m on it now, which is to say, I’m stuffing these prepaid envelopes with the ever-dexterous Stories postcards, then mailing them back from whence they came—to all the junk mail perps that daily yank my chain.
Last week I mailed off postcards to the United Omaha Life Insurance Co. and The Art Institute of Chicago’s Membership Department. I’ve an “Urgent! Process Immediately” postage paid envelope sitting on my desk from one of my many credit card companies. That’ll go out today, postcard secured snugly within.
I’ve considered responding to junk mail that arrives sans prepaid envelope, like the recent one from a State Farm agent who operates in my neighborhood. But then I think, why waste my own stamps? Besides just mailing the postcard is not the same as sending it back with the perp’s own envelope.
Now, with this latest marketing strategy in full swing, I find myself in the peculiar position of actually looking forward to junk mail, disappointed when it doesn’t materialize in my mailbox.
But perhaps I can turn these occasional droughts to my own advantage. I mean, what about all that junk e-mail that litters my inbox? Surely I can figure out some profitable use for that.