Sticky Notes - How I've sold $35,000 worth of poetry.


I've written three books of poetry & prose:

1. One Minute, Please? 
2. After her
3. Guillotine

I could tell you they contain some of the best writing I've ever done and that I poured my heart out in-between each one of their covers but... well... let's cut the shit. 

You don't give a flying fuck about my poetry. You just care about how I've managed to sell my poetry.

While for most of my career I've been denying this truth harder than a conservative Baptist Preacher denies the possibility of his college-aged kids not saving themselves for marriage, sooner or later both myself and Father John must recognize that denial isn't just a river in Egypt. 

So, this is me giving you what you want. 

Moving $35,000 worth of poetry & prose as an independent writer is harder than moving $3.5 million worth of software at a start-up.

Mark my words, if you can figure out a way to break even (and maybe even earn some beer money along the way) as an independent artist, you can out-market 90% of all those greasy marketing "thought-leaders" who'd push their wives into a woodchipper if it meant they could achieve some level of LinkedIn fame. 

The sharpest CMO I know doesn't even post on Linkedin. He's too busy marketing his goddamn company. It's a fella named Dave Peterson over at Celonis. Look him up. They're valued at about $11 Billion (and that's Billion with a "B"). 

Several months ago Dave and I were having dinner at a steakhouse in New York called Keens. I asked him what his secret was. He pointed at Max Pepe across the table –– Max serves as the VP of Marketing & Content at Celonis –– and he said "I hire pirates".

While Max kind of resembles a pirate, Dave was hinting at the fact that Max wasn't born a marketer nor did he go to school to become a marketer nor did he constantly post about being a marketer on Linkedin; that Max is a musician and an artist that later fell in love with marketing and, because of this, he had something the vast majority of marketers don't have: Original Fucking Thinking

All that to say, if I were building out a marketing A-team, I would ask every candidate that walked through the door the following question: "What's the most creative thing you've ever done to pay the bills?"

Then, I'd shut up and listen. 

If I were ever asked this question, I'd explain how I've managed to move a few thousand copies of my poetry books. 

I'd tell the hiring manager that I marketed
One Minute, Please? by writing it in public, sharing every single piece on Instagram and then turned around and dedicated it to the hundred or so people who rooted me on by tattooing their names to the inside of the cover. 

I'd tell them that I marketed
After Her by remembering Don Draper's "It's Toasted" advertisement for Lucky Strikes; that I took matches to the cover of After Her to "toast" my own literature, and then downed four or five shots of bourbon and filmed a 3-minute-long spoken word poem

I'd tell them that I marketed
Guillotine with a tub of red paint, a flailing paintbrush and a miniature film documenting this entire process of "bleeding" on my covers from start to finish. 

All that to say, advertising is dancing with the devil and if you're going to sell off part of your soul to dance with the sonofabitch, don't waste the sale on pay-per-click ads, Linkedin Broety, performance marketing and inside-the-box thinking. 

If you're going to dance with the devil, be creative and have some goddamn fun while the two of you tango.

But, I digress. 



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