Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Ups and Downs of USPS

I go to the United States Post Office (our nation's fourth largest armed force) a lot.

This morning I have 18 packages to send out. I average about 30 a month.

Today I'm mailing:

30 signed bookplates to a store in PA that request them
2 copies of BLOODY MARY for reviewers
3 handouts from Dark and Stormy Conference for folks who missed my classes
4 copies of Ellery Queen for folks who won a website contest
1 magazine to a guy who won a newsletter contest
1 BLOODY MARY for a woman who won a newsletter contest
3 copies of WHISKEY SOUR for people who ordered them from my website (I break even on the deal)
1 free copy of WHISKEY SOUR for an ailing fan
1 copy of BLOODY MARY for a radio interviewer
1 copy each of WHISKEY and BLOODY for a mystery conference chairperson

No submissions to magazines or anthologies this week, because I haven't written any new short stories lately. But I did mail out five in May (two rejections so far, need to send those back out.)

Last year, I mailed out over 500 free things: chapbooks, books, magazines, signed coasters, bookplates, flyers, etc. The mail is yet another weapon in my marketing arsenol.

I don't do postcards, because people throw away postcards, and I never bought a book because I received a postcard.

Everything I send out is signed, which I do because I'm hoping that peole won't throw away something autographed.

Does it work? Does giving folks signed stuff and running ten contests a year make them rush out and buy my books? Or do the same three people keep entering over and over because they want something free?

I dunno. But I keep doing it anyway.

I do have some proof that my ongoing association with the United States Postal Service is working. Last week, my mailman came to my booklaunch party.

See? I'm a marketing genius.

Gotta start working on the garbage man next...