Friday, October 14, 2011

Investments in business...

I've just been thinking about the whole rationale for why you invest in marketing and publicity and...well, anything related to your business. Hypothetically, you pay for things because they're SUPPOSED to strengthen your business, right?

Of course, this is no exact science, and that is PRECISELY what marketers and publicists and people who sell you advertising count on to keep their own businesses afloat.

For instance, years ago, when I published two children's picture books through Snowbound Press, I invested $12,000 on a publicist. He came highly recommended. He was very, very nice. And my good friend Lydia also spent a similar amount on him to promote HER children's book.

Unfortunately, publicists are not typically paid for productivity. They are paid up front, for their hypothetical connections (which may often be imaginary or inferior to your own connections, to be honest with you).

Nice and highly recommended though Adam was (and I don't think I'm letting the cat too far out of the bag with just a first name there), he GOT FEWER PRESS REVIEWS FOR MY BROTHER'S BOOK THAN I DID FOR MY BOOK WHEN I WAS HANDLING PUBLICITY OUT OF MY DUSTY, SPIDER-INFESTED BASEMENT ON AN UNPAID BASIS.

AND THIS WAS AT A TIME WHEN MY BROTHER WAS HEAD OF STORY ON A MAJOR DREAMWORKS ANIMATION RELEASE. Really. His name on the credits actually showed up BEFORE the movie. And they were in letters LARGE ENOUGH TO READ when you freeze the DVD. It was a big deal!

Whereas, when my book came out, I was famous for NOTHING other than a doctoral dissertation that was so esoteric even I have trouble remembering what it was about, and a bunch of research reports on standardized test validity and assessment systems that nobody bothered to read (OBVIOUSLY, or this No Child Left Behind garbage would not have been such a complete and utter flustercuck).

And I still got loads more press, awards, and sales for my book than the $12,000 guy did for my famous brother's book.


Not a good business investment, that.

Of course, times change. Businesses change. And so what you invest in will change as well.

Now, with my new business, I am VERY happy, because I found something that really works.

The photo is representative of part of my job--getting good reference photos for the portraits. To a large extent, the quality of an animal's portrait is dependent on the quality of the photograph I base it on.

And I have been plagued with photography situations this past week involving squinty cats, bad light, an unfamiliar camera, dogs who WILL NOT PERK THEIR EARS UP, NO MATTER WHAT, and all sorts of twitchy animals who WILL JUST NOT LOOK AT ME BECAUSE I HAVE A CAMERA IN MY HAND.


Squeaky rubber chicken.


Happy Friday!


  1. Congrats. Interestingly, when I bought a squeaky rubber chicken, it didn't improve sales of Calculus for Cats at all. Perhaps I did not operate it correctly. Maybe I'll try it again on the new book about cyanobacteria. Maybe it's not always the tool you buy, but how you use it. Must ponder.

  2. HA! Well, I don't know, Kenn--I suppose squeaky rubber chickens may be a business secret for an extremely LIMITED set of businesses! It was just when I did the whole cost-benefit analysis of rubber chicken vs. book publicist, the chicken came out WAAAAAY ahead. Although maybe there are some problems with the design of my comparison study!