When Business Depends on the Kindness of Strangers
In sports I am only comfortable with hard results: speed, distance, time, points (runs, touchdowns, goals) and money.
That’s revenue—cash money—not profits. Ask any screenwriter of a film that earned huge revenues—at United States and foreign box offices and DVD sales—if he was happy that his contract called for a percentage of the producer’s profit.
In the motion picture business, all revenues are spent—on stars’ salaries, production, marketing, private jets and cases of Dom Perignon. The term “producer’s profit” is an oxymoron, no matter how much money the film brings in.
Don’t Bet Your Marketing Efforts on the “Kindness of Strangers”—or Friends
The handwritten memoir of my great-grandfather, Alfrederic Smith Hatch, bounced around the Hatch family for 100 years before Peggy transcribed it using an old IBM Selectric typewriter. I was about to self-publish “Jack Corbett: Mariner”—the stunning saga of 20-year-old Alfrederic’s adventures before the mast on a Liverpool packet in 1849—when Jim Mairs, a senior editor at W.W. Norton agreed to bring it out. Mairs was launching his own imprint, The Quantuck Lane Press (he owned a house on Quantuck Lane in Quague on Eastern Long Island). Being a sailor, (he was the owner of General George S. Patton’s yacht, “When and If”) this book was to be on his inaugural list.
Mairs did a beautiful job of creating an elegant, little book and I did the promotion. I wrote and printed out more than 150 letters on Quantuck Lane Press letterhead for Mairs’s signature, wrote and printed a press release and created a review slip with all the essential information. I hand inserted these in Jiffy bags along with 150 sets of bound galleys and a photograph of the cover. I printed out labels for reviewers, carted them to the post office and paid for postage out of my own pocket.
- United States