Thursday, July 06, 2006

Name Dropping

I have access to what people search for when the stumble upon this blog. It's powerful, it's unsettling, even absurd. I've mentioned before that I feel intrusive knowing what people search for only to stumble upon AoaN. "Am I a narcissist?" or "how do I stop being narcissistic?" are common keywords that lead them here, and, I assume, to inevitable disappointment. I also know that by typing these keywords here again I am likely to hook a few more people contemplating themselves. But then, this is true of anything written here. Nirvana. Bush & Cheney. NASCAR. Fredericks of Hollywood. Jesus on vacation. By simply typing the words "Elvis Presley Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich," I know I'll draw in a few hungry hunters seeking the King's favorite recipe. And it's not too likely they'll find precisely what they are looking for.

The Key Is

That's not what I want. My hope is to draw people in who want precisely what is here; those who are seeking humorous fiction about narcissism or literary fiction, or new fiction about a man who is proudly obsessed with his penis. Admittedly, that's a small target. Much smaller than, say, the target sought by Courtney Love were she to be seeking searchers, or for that matter, Molly Hughes whose blog Save Courtney Love keeps us all less-than-updated on CL's rehab status. My target is much smaller than that of Arianna Huffington, who has has one of the most popular blogs out there, and much much smaller than 老徐 徐静蕾 新浪BLOG, which, according to Technorati, is the most popular blog in the blogosphere.

My trouble is obvious. Though this has grown into a forum for pushing ideas around, it originated as a marketing ploy for my book, and there aren't too many "end users" searching for literary fiction, humorous fiction or Napa authors. Bump it up to San Francisco authors or San Francisco literary fiction and my hits might grow. Those searching for City Lights Books - an alternative-cultural landmark in the heart of San Francisco, co-founded by Beat poet and painter Lawrence Ferlinghetti, where this fall they will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems, and where this month they will recognize Neruda's birthday with readings by San Francisco Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman - might be a little more interested in what they find written here.

In The Words

I drop this name because City Lights is the only brick-and-mortar bookstore in the world that is currently selling The Autobiography of a Narcissist. There is, today, one copy of it sitting somewhere in their labyrinth of bookshelves, hopefully visible, certainly searchable. It's a consignment deal, and one that I glady accept. And should it sell, I will not only break even financially and profit emotionally, but I'm told they will take on another few copies. So in the words of a great president, I have a proposition.

Should you live in the San Francisco area and buy from City Lights a copy of The Autobiography of a Narcissist, I will gladly make the drive to the city and sign it for you, if a signed copy is attractive to you. Know, too, that such an exchange will be a meaningful for me. It was in a small coffee shop in the city where, after hearing a friend-of-a-friend's story of her megalomaniacal writing workshop partners, I first entertained the idea of a narcissist's autobiography. Please email me if this proposition interests you.

By the way, here's that recipe:

Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwiches
Authentic Recipe from Elvis' cook, Mary Jenkins
(from an official postcard endorsed by Graceland)

2 large bananas
6 slices white bread
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup peanut butter

Peel and mash bananas. Mix peanut butter with bananas thoroughly. Toast bread lightly and spread mix on bread. Melt butter in skillet and brown sandwiches on each side slowly until golden brown.

6 Comments:

Blogger Steven LaRose said...

So. . .
Did it work? Are you getting interesting searchers?

July 14, 2006 9:32 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Foster said...

Well...not exactly. I received an email from someone in San Francisco about 4 hours after my post, and then no one else. I loved his email, however, and it made the entire post worth it. He wrote:

"I would like to meet a guy who spends $15-20 in gas to make $5 on a book...this is an idea embraced by a lot of internet companies where they plan to make it up in volume. I'll call City Lights and if its not already sold, reserve the copy."

I truly appreciated his effort and the fact that a perfectly anonomous stranger was able to make me laugh so hard aloud. I haven't heard back whether he purchased the book, but I'll let you know.

Meanwhile, here is a summary of the most popular searches I've gotten over the last few weeks:

"narcissist" - 13 searches
"am i a narcissist" - 5 searches

The weblog review of May 11th keeps bringing people in consistently - 8 click thrus

And then, my favorite from this week: "how does a narcissist feel when they see an old flame". This could have easily been an old girlfriend of mine curious about my response.

Also noteworthy is how many of the "am i a narcissist" came out of Canada, which I would have assumed to be a cultural impossibility.

July 16, 2006 12:58 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Foster said...

More: I emailed the interested party in San Francisco who then told that he was told that City Lights had sold the one copy they had! He was informed that they would "special order" a copy for him (which they can do though the Ingrams Directory - just like Amazon or anyone else). This encouraged me and I emailed my contact at City Lights, who confirmed the message. "The one copy sold, send along 3 more." They are being mailed today.

Seeing as how I achieved my objective of landing three books on their shelves, I now must set my goal higher: 4 books.

July 17, 2006 9:18 AM  
Blogger Steven LaRose said...

You sold a book from City Lights? Hey! I know this guy. Oh yeah. . . we go waaaay back.

May 11th? The Mole Hill? Interesting. Have you been following HighLow's posts this week? I'm printing them all out.

Check out my new avatar. I'm muggin'.

July 17, 2006 11:24 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Foster said...

Thanks for two things: one, the redirect to HighLow, because I've been unable to log on to any blog lately and look forward to diving in; and two, the new avatar. It's hillarious!

July 18, 2006 8:41 AM  
Blogger R2K said...

Elvis sandwitch!

August 07, 2006 3:39 PM  

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