Large Numbers

So my editor sent me the marketing department’s plan to market Dragonbreath 3, and let’s all just stop a minute here while I go "Holy crap, how did I come to a point in my life where there is a marketing department somewhere that actually cares about me as something other than a consumer?" 

I realize I should probably be acting cool and laid back and dripping ennui about this whole affair…yes, of course I have a marketing department, don’t we all, it’s no big deal, so tiresome–but let’s be honest, the whole notion makes me giggle like a deranged monkey because dude, there is so no way that this could possibly be my life. I mean, I drive a used Vibe and live off $10 print sales. My boyfriend is, at this exact moment, out checking live traps for feral cats to take to the vet for neutering. We had hot dogs for dinner and I use a shipping box to blockade my door against intruding pets because you have to leave the studio door open or the air doesn’t circulate and it gets to be a hundred degrees in here. My mouse scroll button is breaking but I haven’t gotten a new one because you can only get cordless mouses these days and I hate those and there’s a tick bite on my left thigh that itches like death on a stick.

This is the…y’know…actual world that I inhabit.

There cannot possibly be a bunch of people in a New York office somewhere contemplating how to get my books in front of eyeballs. How does that even make sense?

I can’t post the plan, since I assume it’s proprietary and all, but…there are big numbers in it. The sorts of numbers that make me want to crawl into a corner and hyperventilate, and also I don’t know what some of the words mean in this context, although I assume "impressions" when referring to an advertising campaign means "people who get the banner ad and probably ignore it," in which case that’s a really, really, large number of people who don’t care, but if even a smidge of those people actually did register the name of the book on some level and then a fractional smidge of those buy it….


It probably won’t be giving too much away to say that the number appended to that bit about impressions had "millions" in it, and there were some websites listed there that are…like…big. Big-big. Mammoth. Elephantine. Possibly non-Euclidean and eldritch, too.

And was that one big number at the top–the one that came after "target"–meant to be eyeballs reached, or books sold? (I need a cheat sheet!) That’s a big number, although not an inconceivable number. It’d be twice as many as have been printed of Book 1, and should they inform me that they have printed that many books, I fully expect to lose my bladder control on the spot, and will spend the next six months huddled in the corner going "They’ll never sell that many and it’ll be a huge flop and they won’t market the next one at all and they’ll print two copies of it so they don’t lose money and they’ll never buy any more books and I will have to go work at Wal-Mart."

Neurosis. I haz them.

(The downside of all this is that even if the book is just as successful as they hope, it’ll be nearly a year before I see a dime of that–they figure the royalties twice a year, and it’s rare to earn out in the first period. But that’s publishing for you.)

Don’t get me wrong–it is inconceivably wonderful to have a marketing team that believes in my books. I want to send them all bunnies and vodka and art. (Well…maybe not bunnies.) It’s just…so….baffling. I mean…really? Seriously? I want to go find someone and go "No…really?"

I don’t know, maybe in a few years I’ll get used to it, that’ll be my life, and maybe I’ll make enough to pay off my used Vibe early. But…really?

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