“Who would read a novel about Starbucks?” I asked the facilitator of my “Author Development” class. Her answer would be important to me. After all, I had just written one. She looked my way and made eye contact for a moment. She then looked out above my head towards the wall behind me in order to give herself a second to think.
I have been getting a bunch of good info and intel in this class. Just to clarify a bit, this wasn’t a class on developing oneself as an actual writer. This class was directed towards creating a brand and finding an audience for one’s work. The facilitator, Darice of www.thepowercollective.net , has been successful in building her own brand and business based upon a book she released some years ago. Granted, her title was non-fiction and Tripio is a work of fiction, set at a Starbucks in Chicago in the summer of 1992. However, the book market globally is worth $145 billion dollars. With that in mind I took this three class course hoping I could get something from her wisdom. And maybe even some of that money.
During the first two classes, I discovered that there are a lot of people out there who want to help get your book published. A quick click or two reveals zillions of podcasts, books on selling books, websites, seminars, and blogs offering a dizzying variety of solutions on how to get your book placed in the right genre, at the right time, in the right place at the right price with the right cover. I wrote Tripio with none of that in mind. I was also discovering that it would have been wiser to find a genre, a category, a searchable title, a clickable cover, a banner-ed headline for that cover and lots more before taking a book to market. Possibly before even writing said book. I felt like I had a lot of catching up to do.
Fortunately for me, Darice had spent considerable time and trouble navigating this 145 billion dollar ocean so I was all ears awaiting her response to my question. She returned her gaze from the wall to look me in the eyes to answer “Coffee drinkers.”
Eureka! Starbucks is a coffee company isn’t it? I had forgotten that even in my own book, the protagonist, Jay, responds to the want ad from Starbucks because.” About the only real qualification I have is that I’m a coffee lover.” During this course, I was beginning to feel that it would have been easier to write the novel everyone else was telling me I should be writing. Easier to market, to categorize, to sell. Darice’s response was a lifeline thrown to me treading water in a vast ocean of advice, websites and SEO.
In Tripio Jay does get the job at Starbucks partly because he loves coffee. I started Tripio partly because I love to write. Something worth reading must have come out of that combination, right? As I mentioned earlier, this was not a class on developing oneself as a writer. Darice knew her brand building. I did get lots out of the classes. However, In my case, I was relieved I did things backward. I have since come to think that once one starts chasing all this wonderful advice and data, before one sits down to write their novel, that vast, unpredictable ocean can take that work down to it’s depths- never to be seen again.
“May I help who’s next?”