Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Stinky Pants, Knock-0ff Spray, Smellin' Fine & Rose Cachet--Reb MacRath

Imagine that ebooks fall into four types, each of them with its own scent.

1) The first, of course, is the most common. And we may call it Stinky Pants:




Stinky is generally spotted about the same time that he's smelled. The insufferable odor is one of perversely proud despair: 'I'm not very good at this so there's no point up in cleaning up in any unmentionable places: cover design, book description, editing, proofing, etc.  Some day, with a little work, I may become an amateur. Till then, support me, please, while I try to find time to learn how to write. This book's my first--be gentle, please. Just bend over and...inhale.'

Moving onward, thank you!

2) The second, more tolerable scent could be labeled Knock-Off Spray.



Instyle Fragrances An Impression Spray Cologne for Men Polo

Like Walgreens' Instyle line of fragrances, these are knock-offs--or impressions--of authentic, best-selling colognes and perfumes. Just as the Walgreens versions smell, for several minutes, like the authentic brands, Discount Spray books smell like books by the authors that they're ripping off. And, like the Walgreens ripoffs, they have no staying power: you pay for an impression of an original product with soul. The books may be well-edited and carefully proofed, but at heart they're contented to clone. They look for proven successes, then spin. And so, on the Smell-ometer we must award them this:





And yet the air begins to clear as we move on to group three.

3) Some books put smiles on our faces because they really do smell fine. 



Here, at a glance and a breath, we can tell we've moved on to the sweet spot: a compelling book cover, some decent reviews, riveting opening pages, crackerjack story description, etc. The price is affordable but not dirt cheap: $2.99, compared to thrift store ebooks priced at $.99 and $1.99. The author's Amazon page is impressive and his/her writing credentials are solid. And, refreshingly, the author doesn't boast of ripping off a popular movie or novel.

Let's be clear. This smells soooo good, it really does! But though we turn our heads to admire the scent, do we leap from our seats, friends, to follow? Do we drop what we're doing to purchase and read when so many other fine scents fill the air?

Sad to say, maybe not. But no need to despair, for we've come to group four.

4)  Salvation depends on a fairly steep climb...over the hill...to the rich Rose Cachet.



There's no mistaking this cachet. Though you may have to search like hell, you'll know it when you find it. The scent's suffused with potential and power...confidence, boldness and faith. And when it's roaring through your veins, your own expression will mimic that of those who've been caught by the scent:




We need to continually study the difference between 3 and 4. And the more we think about it, the more firmly the Rose Cachet will take the lead: in our covers, our Author's page, our product descriptions, our promotional tacks and our pricing...also in the books we write. Readers will pay $3.99 or higher if the Rose Cachet is there.

Meanwhile, let today's mantra be:







11 comments:

Nick said...

I'd love to say something about this but since nobody else has, I think it may be safer to maintain a dignified silence.

Cherokee Blacke said...

I say the Heck with a dignified silence. Finally, someone has tackled a subject on everyone's mind but never on anyone's lips. Now that Karen's considered which writers we'd have for dinner, maybe we could ponder what certain writers smell like. Hemingway: booze, sweat, fried ego. Graham Greene: good tobacco, exquisite cologne, the best ink and leather that money could buy. Charles Bukowski: Mickey Rourke. Leonard Cohen: cigars, love juices, honey, Zen Cachet.

madwippitt said...

Publishers will no doubt soon be inserting a catnip clause into contracts ...

Dennis Hamley said...

There's definitely something in this, Reb. Madwippit's uploaded photos on AE Private this morning had one with the absorbing message that smelling farts prevents cancer. So don't dismiss category 1 too quickly. Such books could be good for you. FR Leavis, please note. Madwippit, one publisher already does. It's Catnip.

Ava Lord said...

I don't think someone's author page or book cover play a huge role in a book's attraction or caliber. Reviews (both positive and negative) actually go a long way in attracting me to an author's work. The 'formula' you cited can actually be a book-killer for readers. Sometimes when authors follow 'proven formulas' their books come off as generic and amateurish. A good author lets the writing and the characters lead him/her; They don't try to, say, emulate a formula that was successful for someone else. Compelling writing sells a book. If the writing's bad then a pretty cover, solid writing credentials, and a nice author page are like putting sweet-smelling perfume on a pig.

Reb MacRath said...

Ava, you've raised some good points. But good writing in itself does not guarantee success. When a hundred thousand new ebooks come out every year, achieving visibility requires strategy as well as talent. Far from offering a formula, I mentioned several ingredients that can help--but I also pointed out that the elusive Rose Cachet requires serious study and experimentation. Not gilding a plastic lily or perfuming a pig.

Cherokee Blacke said...

Where does the word 'formula' appear?

Catherine Czerkawska said...

It is an interesting truth that some very old but expensive scents (anything by Guerlain, Chanel, Lanvin etc) which may seem a bit over-the-hill on the first whiff, are actually fine if you give them a few minutes to 'dry down'. There are, in vintage perfumes, top notes, mid notes and base notes. The top notes go 'off' with time but in good scents, made with real essential oils, the mid and base notes stay true. What this has to say about writing, I'm not sure. But I've just finished an Anthony Trollope marathon and his mid notes and base notes are pretty fine! Plus, you should remember it the next time you're tempted to throw out your granny's scent collection.

Reb MacRath said...

Thanks for that, Catherine. I love the clarification re top, mid and base notes. Once I 'cheaped out' and tried a knock-off version of Armani Code. No reaction from anyone after 15 minutes. With the real Armani Code, the mid and base notes keep playing up to 10 hours later. Who knows, Armani may have added some bass notes as well.

Lydia Bennet said...

Vary synaesthetic Reb! the smell of success, or napalm in the morning - perhaps we need volume controls on scents to enable our books to announce themselves to the noses of readers, bearing in mind the vast numbers of whiffs competing for our attention. An intriguing new point of view. I like natural scents and find most commercial perfumes, even expensive designer ones far too 'loud' for me. some of them do have vanilla notes which coincides with one of my fave scents.

Reb MacRath said...

Thanks, Lydia. Funny you should say that about vanilla, one of my fave scents as well. The past few months I tried the new Armani Code cologne, Ultimate, which has a vanilla base note. Got no reaction from anyone--whereas I get lots of compliments when I wear regular Code or Code Sport. Maybe the Ultimate doesn't work for my skin...I'm with you on subtlety: the women's perfumes that excite me are invariably subtle enough to cause me to lean in.