The World of Marketing: Selling Your Daisy Chain

Two models: one to do with owning property and selling it; the other to do with sharing viewpoints.

The quest to ‘make it’ as a writer means that we inhabit both: as writers, we strive to create worlds which appeal to readers because large parts of them are already shared — we use images, ideas, language which the reader recognises and understands, and add value to them by giving them the freshness of our own point of view and other insights — but then we claim ownership to the degree that we expect the reader to have to ‘buy’ these things from us.

In a world in which we were all floating telepaths, unencumbered by the need to enclose our work in any kind of physical ‘copy’, we would not need to seek the exchange of money for what we do: we could simply create to our heart’s content and share what we had made with others. Our concern would not be with getting anything back from them — except acknowledgement and admiration. We would still consider that we had failed if, on sending our work out into the void, it garnered no response, or very little response, or a negative response. But our own survival would not depend on such feedback.

In a sense, this is exactly what we do as writers, but with the added burdens of having to transcribe our work into some form of hard copy and then having to cajole readers into parting with some cash before they get a chance to read it. It’s like a kind of ‘trick telepathy’: ‘Here’s some of the creative work I’ve done, but you have to pay for it before you can see it,’ we say to our potential audiences. The emphasis becomes how we present our work outwardly, and to whom.

Since we don’t live as floating telepaths, and have bills pay in an altogether less forgiving universe, we had better quickly learn the art of presentation.

If you had painted a picture and had to keep it in a locked room and charge entry, how would you successfully go about that? Firstly, you would have to narrow your expectations. You could not expect all passers-by to be interested in your locked room; you could not expect even the interested ones to simply pay the fee without knowing any more. So what would you do?

The second thing you would do, if you wanted to succeed in attracting business, would be to thoroughly understand the appeal of your painting to a particular set of potential viewers. What would it be about your painting that would draw admiration from anyone? Distill those elements down to some core themes or images or symbols.

Then take that distillation and mock up cards