The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

December 09, 2006


I spent much of the previous weeks trying to get people interested in my new books, and I think I understand now why cocaine use is so widespread in the marketing and PR community. Basically, it seems that you either have to be part of some social network where you know lots of really important people, or you have to maintain a cocaine level that makes you feel so energised that you can talk everybody into the ground; otherwise the whole thing is totally futile.

And I'm not even trying to become rich with this. Basically, all I want is to try and sell just enough copies so that I get roughly the money back that I invested in it. I had hoped that by contacting people who know people I might get some sort of exposure, but apparently I'm not important and/or energetic enough, and the whole concept of Messages from the Lost Continent (a collaborative novel! written by webloggers! and it's about conspiracies and ancient artefacts!) is just not catchy enough. And I'd understand if people would think it's not catchy enough to buy the book, but no, the problem is that, with one two notable exceptions, they apparently think it's so not catchy that they're not even willing to spread the word. So far, nobody ordered one of the free review copies that I offered them.

It's understandable, I guess. We live in a world where everybody is trying to sell everything, and it doesn't really matter what you sell as long as you're out of touch with reality enough to talk people into whatever it is you're selling -- that is most likely how I lost the slot on the reading programme of a chain bookstore to a woman reading from How to Paint Your Own Garden Gnomes (a DIY guide on, yes, putting paint on garden gnomes). Unfortunately I am kind of queasy about the side effects of cocaine (addiction and personality changes come to mind), so I see myself in no position to bring up the energy and talk so much that the people who could give me exposure will eventually cave in, and hiring someone will definitely cost a lot more than the amount of money I'm trying to raise by selling my books.

I am so not made for the business world. If I were, I'd be contributing to the 1000 kilos of cocaine that end up in the Danube every year. I'd probably be slightly paranoid and/or prone to even more dramatic mood swings than I already am, but at least my bank account would look more reassuring. And Messages would already be a best seller.

Posted by Horst on December 9, 2006 11:20 PM to books & bookkeeping | Tell-a-friend
Lucid said on December 10, 2006 09:36 AM:

Hm, yes and no.
Yes, marketing costs a lot of a kind of energy I also never had or will ever have, and it seems to be something you are born with or not. Though I regularly find people with plenty of that energy also kind of dumb and pity them from time to time, I also envy them for being able to go for their goals no matter what others think about them:

"A rush and a push and the land that / We stand on is ours / It has been before / So it shall be again / And people who are uglier than you and I /
They take what they need, and just leave"

No, I don't think it's only talking and cocaine that will do the trick. You would need to downgrade your values. I wouldn't do that if I were you.

Josh Cogliati said on December 10, 2006 05:02 PM:

This might be a dumb suggestion, but a book written in English might sell somewhat better if it was available at a English online bookseller. Trying to navigate Amazon in German and get them to ship to the USA seems like a good way for me to waste money and time.

Horst said on December 10, 2006 05:54 PM:

I know. The problem is that

* nobody had the time to translate the 400 pages of it into German;
* most US/UK publishers that I contacted ignored me;
* the one US publisher who didn't ignore me wanted too much money;
* and refuse to deal with German publishers.

The only thing I could do is to set up a PayPal account and sell the book myself over the Internet. The problem with this is that, contrary to, my postage costs are exorbitant -- EUR 13 per book within Europe, EUR 20 outside Europe -- so that I seriously doubt that anybody outside Austria would order it from me.

Jann said on December 10, 2006 08:34 PM:

Josh: Even though my knowledge of German is limited, I had an easy time ordering these books from If you have an account with, then will already have your shipping address and credit card number. It's just a matter of remembering your password, and a few mouse clicks, and you're all set. The shipping costs are not too bad.

dieter said on December 12, 2006 09:54 AM:

I tried to interest my colleagues in your book, and I also posted on the internal "blackboard" of a big Austrian Bank. Let us see, if that is any good.
I must admit, however, that my marketing drive is decidedly smaller than yours. ;-)

Natalie said on December 13, 2006 12:52 AM:

Hi Horst, I got your book which looks terrific. Can you please email me as I've lost your email address and it doesn't seem to be shown here on your site.

I sympathise with your marketing problems- I've groaned through the same process in the past and will have to do so again shortly. Groannnnnnnnn.

The Cartoonist said on December 13, 2006 02:21 AM:

Why don't you publish it through For around $150 you get an ISBN and worldwide distribution without any other costs up front.

dieter said on December 13, 2006 10:28 AM:

I was also thinking that you should be able to use some blog-conference related channels for the Messages. After all, a blog project that finally goes paper seems somewhat catchy to me. If you manage to give it the right marketing spin, that is.

Horst said on December 13, 2006 12:13 PM:

Ralf: Basically, the problem with was that I got totally lost on their website and did not manage to find any of the information that I was looking for. Basically, I felt like an 80 year-old who's using a browser for the first time.

dieter: Not catchy enough for the newspaper editors of papers and magazines who write a lot about weblogs but did not react to the press sheet I sent them. And yes, it would have made a good paper at the last BlogTalk conference, but it looked nowhere near finished when the call for papers ended. However, currently I know of no blogging conference coming up that is geographically close...

Natalie: btw, you got the _other_ book, because you were kind of involved in it... but I'm so busy with marketing "Messages" that I decided to delay the marketing push for the "Happiest Guy" until next year.

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