One Year In

Publishing

Today seems to be the day that the recent WordPress and Drupal vulnerability really kicks in. I’m busy crawling the web for bookstores, and one out of three sites I hit are offline with the now familiar Drupal logo. Ah, the Internets. Never stop reminding us that you are still a young technology in the grand scheme of things.

Speaking of young technology, I just renewed the business license for Resurrection House. It seems a good a time as any to pause and take note. We’re now the third return on Google if you just google the two words of our name, which makes me very happy because, well, you can go look at the competition yourself and see why. Chimpanzee is leaving the warehouse, and we’ve just initiated our first street team game with Sticker Your Chimps. We’ve also gotten ourselves on Edelweiss, and I’ve been pleased to see how many booksellers and librarians are well acquainted with how the digital ARC service works. Heraclix and Pomp went to press last week, and we’re putting three more books in the print pipeline by the end of the month. And that’s our first season. It’s taken us a year and a not insignificant amount of money to get here.

In many ways, that was the easy part. Rather, that was the part I knew something about. This next part? Kind of uncharted territory for me. One of the charming aspects of being a writer/entrepreneur is that you get to work out of the house. One of the debilitating aspects of being an entrepreneur who needs to engage his customers is that I get to work out of the house. We can make the sexiest books in the world, but they don’t do us any good if they’re sitting in the warehouse (or in my garage). As much as I appreciate all my friends’ continued enthusiasm, there is a threshold beyond which they’d like me to have something else to talk about. Friends, in the end, aren’t really your customers, and at some point, you need to go find customers.

There’s no silver bullet in marketing, as much as we’d all like to dream otherwise. Memes are accidents that you can’t actively create or curate (in fact, doing either—in my opinion—is the sort of hyper-vigilant oppressive parenting that will kill a meme dead before it even leaves the nest). You can spend an inordinate amount of money on advertising, and get completely undone by a meme or some other bit of news entirely unrelated to your project. Marketing is awareness, and awareness comes over time. You have to build something that slips into people’s consciousness in an understated way. I want long-term customers, and the way to get—and keep—them is to do good work, over and over again. And never stop politely reminding them that you’re doing so.

So, yes, we’re a year in. Books are going to be on the shelves of bookstores near you any time now. If you see one of our books in the wild, pick it up and show it to someone else in the store. Maybe even buy it if it feels right in your hand. But tell people: “Yes, this is new and it is a good thing.” Because, years from now, we’re all going to get together and tell stories about how and where we first encountered Resurrection House.

And that will be a good thing too.