It’s time for me to face the facts. Instead of aging with grace and panache as I had planned, I seem to be simply disappearing. Invisible. Out of site. Past tense.
Not that anyone would call me quiet or easy to miss. To the contrary, I’m tall and rarely wear beige. Plus, my children would say, “She’s long on opinions, even when one might not be in the mood to hear them.” Nonetheless, I’ve become so undetectable that I could walk past a TSA agent while carrying a pipe bomb, and he wouldn’t bother asking me to remove my shoes.
The friendly cashier chirped, “Thank you sir.”
This all began about a year ago when I returned a couple of bath towels to Costco. The friendly cashier handed me the receipt and chirped, “Thank you sir.” Her eyes must never have made it past my Carhartt coveralls.
Then there was the hostess at Amy Lou’s House of Pancakes. Anyone could see that I was next in line to be seated. Yet she tossed the Italian suit behind me a radiant smile and hauled him off to a sunny table with a view of Lake Minnetonka.
This business of my vanishing personhood recently became a bigger problem. It happened when I arrived home from my friend Nettie’s farm with a carload of Cowsmo Compost and a pile of landscaping rocks. After parking the Subaru in the driveway, I pulled on a pair of gloves and started removing 40 pound bags of Cowsmo. Next came the rocks. A couple of them required two of us to load, but I managed to wrangle them into the garden by myself. It did come to my attention, however, that a half dozen neighbor guys who had been mowing, grilling, and polishing their cars suddenly disappeared. Maybe they went in for a lemonade. Then, just as I dropped the last rock in the garden, they all reappeared and resumed their mowing, grilling and polishing their cars. Our eyes never met.
So, I’ve been noodling this dilemma: How does an invisible woman with a new book to launch promote sales beyond her Aunt Louise and cousin Merrill? What kind of marketing hook would create a real splash without causing personal injury or jail time?
Well, that’s when I picked up the local paper and read that a guy from Saint Paul just got arrested for driving with a chicken on his lap. Nobody got hurt, the chicken is fine, and the guy avoided landing in the slammer. What’s more he got plenty of attention. His story made headlines in the Star Tribune and across the news wires. I’ll bet it also would have produced an excellent return on investment had he just released a new book on poultry.
Anyhoo, this whole experience has been a real eye opener. Best of all it has prompted me to start thinking differently about marketing books. You might call it “thinking outside the coop.”