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"That's not how it works. If you had a marketing person, they would have explained this to you."

I know several people in marketing. They're all dreadful. Somehow every discussion, regardless of topic, turns to results of their recent Facebook ad campaign for sandals made by the tribal women of Klokloklowok or Bedazzled iPhone covers.
A hundred years ago, they'd be selling pencils on a street corner. After clocking off they'd huddle in sad dirty groups and discuss the merits of using a smaller tin to make the pencils seem bigger.
While I'm sure many find worth in the services marketing people provide, given a choice between benefits gained from two hour meetings about Adwords campaign statistics or a bucket of warm spit, I'd take the bucket of warm spit. A direction, decision or point being reached in a marketing meeting is a far less likely scenario than finding myself in a position where I need to demonstrate centrifugal force to a group of young children


From: Pauline Olsen
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 10.12am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Book signing dates

Hello David,
It's been bought to my attention that a list of upcoming book signing events was recently posted on your website with B&N stores named as venues.
I was wondering if I could have the contact details of your agent or marketing person or if you could forward this email to them as a matter of urgency.
We have the ISBN in our system but no record of the listed events. I've spoken with two other stores and they have no record either.
Thank you, Pauline
From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 11.02am
To: Pauline Olsen
Subject: Re: Book signing dates

Hello Pauline,
Thank you for your email. I'm currently without an agent or marketing person. I blame their inability to take constructive criticism well.
I was signed with LA based agency ICM Partners regarding television rights but after receiving a draft script, penned apparently by throwing a keyboard into a box full of squirrels and running the results through a quick spell-check, I stopped responding to their Skype group video chat requests. What was originally a satirical expose of the design industry somehow turned into a story about a mechanic named Greg. It's possible that I may have missed an artistic and clever point, but just as possible that somewhere Greg is wondering how they could have fucked up his eight part transmission rebuild series so badly.
Penguin represent my first book but my marketing person there is a small angry Asian woman who yells a lot so I have her number blocked. One might suggest marketing consists of more than the author tweeting links to his book every fifteen minutes but one would be wrong. And ungrateful. And should tweet more. We haven't spoken since she accused me of stealing a three-foot cardboard cut-out penguin from her office the last time I was there.
Incidentally, Penguin employ a similar system to ICM in regards to calculating royalties - except instead of a keyboard and squirrels, they throw a calculator into an empty box and jiggle it a bit. This is after thirty-six meetings regarding what kind of box to use, three-hundred emails discussing who will do the jiggling, and a six month delay due to pigeons, or hats, or static electricity.
Regards, David.
From: Pauline Olsen
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 11.28am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Book signing dates

Hello David,
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly.
Who arranged the book signing dates and who at B&N did they speak with?
Pauline
From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 11.35am
To: Pauline Olsen
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

Hello Pauline,
There was no arrangement as such. I thought I'd just show up on the day. I have my own fold-up chair and table.
Regards, David.
From: Pauline Olsen
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 12.51pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

You posted several venues and dates without anyone at B&N knowing anything about it? You can't just show up. That's not how it works. There are procedures. You have to contact individual stores well in advance. If the store agrees to you doing a signing, copies need to be ordered, a date set, and arrangements made. If you had a marketing person, they would have explained all this to you.
Pauline
From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 1.19pm
To: Pauline Olsen
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

Hello Pauline,
Yes probably. They'd also explain cost per conversion statistics, demographic expansions and response rate ratios. They can't help themselves. It's like an involuntary tic or a really boring form of Tourette's.
I once attended a marketing meeting where people talked about Adwords campaign statistics for two hours. Which, in my opinion, is about one hour and fifty-six minutes too long to talk about anything. At around the forty minute mark, I honestly thought I was going to die.
In regards to procedures, I just figured it was better to be told off than told no. Seeking permission involves far more variables than pretending you didn't think there'd be an issue.
Besides, it's sitting on a chair. If it was possible to measure the difference between sitting on a chair and sitting on a chair by prior arrangement, nobody would. If someone did, everyone else would state, "That was a bit pointless. Don't you have anything better to do?" The end result of sitting on a chair is the same.
I don't require books ordered as I'm not expecting a crowd. I'll have a couple with me just in case but, to be honest, I'm only popping in for a bit so I can claim my holiday flights as a business expense.
If anyone asks, I'll just say I spoke to Pauline and she said it's fine.
Regards, David.
From: Pauline Olsen
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 1.43pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

Except I didn't say it's fine and the end result certainly won't be the same because you'll be asked to leave. I can't imagine anything more embarrassing.
Pauline
From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 2.26pm
To: Pauline Olsen
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

Hello Pauline,
That's understandable, the day to day stress of chair allocation and authorisation probably leaves little time for such things.
I was once escorted off a plane shortly after boarding due to an ex-girlfriend calling the airport and stating I had four-hundred ecstasy tablets hidden in my bottom. Refusing to leave my seat without an explanation, two large men in suits carried me out horizontally. I was traveling with coworkers and the regional manager of BHP Billington. A few feet from the exit, the men had to wait for someone to be seated. I was head height with other passengers and an elderly lady leaned forward and said, "It's going to be ok. You're going to get the help you need now. It's a good thing."
I was also asked to leave a restaurant once. Experiencing stomach problems and discovering the restroom toilet bowl bogged and overflowing with paper and faeces, I made an emergency decision to poo in the hand-towel disposal bin instead. With hindsight, I should have either used the ladies restroom or locked the door.
Also, when I was about twelve, my mother opened the bathroom door without knocking and caught me lying naked on the floor cracking an egg onto my penis. I have no idea why. I tried to flip over to hide my shame but the tiles were pretty slippery from several previously cracked eggs so I just kind of slapped and flailed for a bit. She didn't say anything, just closed the door, so I guess that story didn't really have anything to do with being asked to leave places.
Regardless, on an embarrassment scale of one to twenty (with one being a bit sunburnt and twenty owning a Nissan Cube), being told, "I'm sorry sir, B&N has a strict rule regarding people sitting in chairs, I'll have to ask you to leave," would probably only be a three. Maybe a four if there is jostling.
Regards, David.
From: Pauline Olsen
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 3.55pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

People are allowed to sit in chairs but they aren't allowed to set up desks or sign books inside the store without permission. You're going to have to cancel the dates you posted and go through the proper channels to set up new dates. Do you understand this?
Pauline
From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 4.02pm
To: Pauline Olsen
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

Hello Pauline,
Mostly. Would sitting on a chair, no desk, asking people walking past if they'd like to come outside and buy a book from the back of my rental car be acceptable? Am I allowed to hold a sign?
Regards, David.
From: Pauline Olsen
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 4.13pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

No it isn't acceptable. I'm not sure how to make this any clearer. You do not have permission to promote your book in B&N stores or interact with B&N customers in any way. If you do, you'll be asked to leave. If you refuse to leave, the police will be called to escort you from the premises
Pauline
From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 4.20pm
To: Pauline Olsen
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

Hello Pauline,
What if I stand quietly in an aisle, or a corner at the back of the store, looking at books on shelves and occasionally nodding to myself thoughtfully?
Regards, David.
From: Pauline Olsen
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 4.26pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

That would make you a customer. As long as you aren't communicating with other customers in any way, I can't see that being a problem.
Pauline
From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 27 April 2015 5.17pm
To: Pauline Olsen
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

Hello Pauline,
I'm glad a compromise could be reached. I have amended the previously posted book signing event page to reflect the agreed changes. I've also attached the promotional poster. I'll have some with me on the day but I thought you might want to print extra copies for the store windows or something.
Regards, David.

Attachment: b&n_promoposter.jpg
From: Pauline Olsen
Date: Tuesday 28 April 2015 9.32am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Book signing dates

You do not have permission to attend B&N stores on the dates you have indicated.



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