Thursday, December 6, 2018

How I became junk mail (and announcement of Tin Lizzy Christmas book signing)!

I’m forever confused whenever I hear people complain about postal surliness. Maybe it’s because I conduct the majority of my postal business at the Youngstown post office just up the street from the Tin Lizzy.

Sue and Lexi are so fun, sweet and cheerful it’s like they were hired by postal party boy Benjamin Franklin. 

So I enjoy going in there, as I often do to mail books, buy stamps, etc. And I’m naturally open-minded to their ideas on how the storied USPS can help me make money. 

That’s the Cliff Notes version of how I dove into the exciting world of Every Door Direct postal promotions.

Yes, I am now junk mail!

I’m having a Christmas book signing Dec. 13 from 5 to 9 p.m. at The Tin Lizzy. I’ll be back in Flappers, the cozy second floor bar, signing copies of “The Last Baby Boomer,” “Use All The Crayons!” and my bestselling Arnold Palmer book.

And by “bestselling,” I’m not talking like it’s crashed the lists published in places like the New York Times. I mean it outsells my other two books. And I’m very proud of those two books, especially the “Baby Boomer” ghoul pool novel.

But it should be a lot of fun. Bartenders Zach and Aaron will be serving Arnold Palmer drink specials and the food keeps earning raves. I recommend the Chicken Parmesan Milanese.

I was telling Sue and Lexi all about it when Sue mentioned how Every Door Direct Mail might be beneficial. The service involves targeting specific postal routes with mailers intended to excite a specific demographic. 

After much consideration, the neighborhood I chose to inflict my nuisance upon is …

Lawson Heights!

It’s blue collar with deep local roots. It’s a proud family neighborhood of good people who work hard and play hard. 

Palmer people.

Next step was stopping by Unity Printing — a landmark business that just happens to reside in Lawson Heights. My friends there, I think, outdid themselves with the mailer.

I had them print 650, but only 649 are eligible for delivery duty. I’m keeping one to hang in my office. It’s to me a work of art disguised as junk mail.

A key line is right at the top:

“Meet Chris Rodell, author of the book Jim Nantz says is ‘the best book anyone’s ever written about Arnold Palmer.’”

Zach says I missed an opportunity to apply some creative editing so it reads, “… Jim Nantz says it’s the best book anyone’s ever written!”

I threw in a wildcard beneath my picture that reads, “Can’t make it? I’ll deliver signed books right to your front door! Call me, 724-961-2558.”

If just 10 people out of the 600 or so buy 20 books, that’ll take care of most of my investment (my cheapskate publisher is picking up half the total cost, about $400). 

Speaking of cost, that was the only item of the mailer that caused me to waver. I originally was going to charge $20 per book, a not unreasonable sum, I think.

But I couldn’t put $20. Latrobe has been too good for me to attempt anything that might be perceived as a gouge. I’ve sold all on my own to mostly my neighbors more than 2,000 copies of the Palmer book.

I say everyone in town has bought five copies; they read one and use the other four to stabilize wobbly furniture — and I’m fine with that! Once you pay for it, I don’t care what you do with it.

I’m kidding. I hope my books become something you treasure. The reaction I get from readers is what I truly treasure.

So I hope you’ll stop by the Tin Lizzy next Thursday. Ideally, you’ll have a drink or two with Jessie in the main bar and lavishly overtip her. Then you’ll enjoy dinner in the dining room and duplicate the generous procedure with your waitress.

Then, once you’re in fine spirits — and maybe just a wee bit tipsy — you’ll climb the steps to Flappers, order a spiked Arnold Palmer, and stop by my table to say hello.

I find, you see, that people are more disposed to buying my books once they’ve consumed at least the equivalent of five shots of alcohol.

You’ll be supporting the local post office, Unity Printing and a host of friendly waiters, waitresses and bartenders.

You see, I like seeing small local businesses succeed. 

I hope on Dec. 13 you’ll stop by the Tin Lizzy and help me become one.

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