I’ve just come up for air.
From total immersion in a book.
A real, honest-to-megatroyd, hardback book of short stories by Stephen King: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.
The stories are mostly superb, but I’m totally buried in one particular story — longer than most — called Ur. It’s about the Kindle, written when the Kindle was brand new and shiny. I’m envious of the idea, because it’s such a great idea…
But I’m not gonig to spoil it for you, and that’s not what I’m really here to write about today.
What I really love about The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is that before each short story, there’s a little commentary from King. About what sparked the idea, why he wrote this story, and a little of the history surrounding it.
I love these insights into his singular mind.
And I love that it sparks off a whole bunch of ideas in my own mind.
Before the story of Ur, King explained the background. He’d been asked to write a story to help Amazon publicise the new Kindle. He refused… but then an idea presented itself, he wrote the story — Ur — and sent it off to them anyway, saying they were welcome to use it. They did, and even produced a limited edition Kindle in his honour.
And he took some flak for it. As he said:
“I took a certain amount of shit about that from portions of the literary community that saw it as selling out to the business side, but, in the words of John Lee Hooker, ‘That don’t confront me none.’ As far as I was concerned, Amazon was just another market, and one of the few that would publish a story of this length. There was no advance, but there were — and still are — royalties on each sale (or download, if you prefer). I was happy to bank those checks; there’s an old saying that the workman is worthy of his hire, and I think it’s a true saying. I write for love, but love doesn’t pay the bills.”
If you’re in the arty business, or the vocational business, or any kind of business where marketing is frowned upon or looked down on, or otherwise maligned, read that little passage over and over again.
Thinking that your product or service is good enough to sell itself is a death knell for the vast majority of people. Oh, once in a while someone’ll win the business lottery, but for most of us? Nobody is gonna beat a path to your door.
You have to light a fucking beacon and draw them in.
Are you willing to do that?
If not: bye, Felicia!
If you are: a great place to start is with my 49 Ideas. It’s no Stephen King, but I’m proud of this email series. It’s what I would have read if it’d been around when I was struggling. That’s why I wrote it.
You can get access here:
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.