R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson) wrote,
R.J. Anderson

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Marketing Harry

I'm helping out a bit with the marketing for Convention Alley, in the form of doing up a flyer to be posted at bookshops and such, advertising the event and directing people to the website. So today I headed downtown with an armful of flyers to see if my local bookstores would be willing to post them.

Now this is going to sound stupid, especially to those on my flist who have actually met me, but I can be really shy and nervous sometimes, and this was one of those times. Going up to the person at the counter in a bookstore and asking them to post a flyer about a book-related event shouldn't be an intimidating prospect -- I mean, the worst thing that could happen is that they say no, right? However, I am prone to overthinking things (gee, no wonder Hamlet is my favorite Shakespearean tragedy) and when I walked in the door of the local children's bookstore (which seemed to me the most likely to be interested in the flyer, since their store is full of Potter stuff and it was where I'd bought my own copy of OotP at midnight) my thoughts were running something like this:

I don't want to just walk in the door, barge right up to the counter and ask, because maybe that'll put them off. I should browse a bit first... which isn't hard, because I do like books, and oh, it's been so long since I had the chance to really enjoy shopping in a bookstore... except I'm not really looking for anything specific, and I just want to get this flyer thing over with... and now I feel like I'm being deceitful, pretending to browse when I'm not really here to browse, and as soon as I tell them about the flyer they're going to know that my browsing wasn't real, and maybe that will put them off...

Anyway, I did finally work myself up to this Herculean task (snert) and approached the lady behind the counter. "Um, hello... would you be willing to post this flyer somewhere in your store? It's about a literary conference... for grown-up fans of Harry Potter."

And she gave me this look, not exactly an unfriendly look, but more an "Are you serious?" look. Then she laughed, as if to say, "What won't they think of next?" and took the flyer. But I was left with the impression that she thought the idea of adults being seriously interested in HP, and holding an actual conference about it, was really bizarre.

That threw me into a bit of a tizzy, and when I got to the next store (an eclectic little shop that sells Great Literature at one end, and comic books and RPG stuff at the other) I spent a whole ten minutes faux-browsing before I worked myself up to talking to the girl behind the counter. As soon as she heard the words "grown-up fans of Harry Potter", however, her face brightened. "Cool!" she said. "What a great idea! I'll put it up right away."

That made me feel better, and I walked on to the third store with renewed enthusiasm. However, this was the Very Important Bookstore, where they sell a lot of classic literature and theatre criticism and it always seems to be staffed by men who look like retired English professors, so I waffled around some more before I could find the courage to tell the tweedy, silver-haired man at the counter what I'd really come for. "It's a flyer, for a literary convention," I squeaked, "for adults who like Harry Potter--"

-- and all my fears vanished as his face cracked into a broad, genuinely delighted grin. "Gosh!" he said. "Who could resist?" And I could tell he really meant it. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he showed up himself.

And the lady at the fourth bookshop was also very nice about it -- not perhaps so personally enthused as the second and third people I talked to had been, but not in the least supercilious. As I was leaving, she said, "Are you planning to go?"

"Um, yes," I said, blushing, "I'm one of the presenters."

"Oh, really!" she said. "I'll bet you're looking forward to it. Well, I'll put this up on the board. And good luck to you!"

So, all in all, I'd say the response in my hometown was quite positive. Still, I'm glad that I only have one bookshop left to visit!
Tags: cons, hp, shyness
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