not VAMPIRE: ALIEN
by Ren Garcia
It’s all about marketing, people. I always try to stay keen on what’s attracting people at the various shows; on what pulls folks in, what causes them to stop and foster up a conversation.
I often go to shows with my friend, fellow author Denise Verrico (Cara Mia). It’s better to go in pairs, as you’ve got a wingman to watch your back and keep your chin up. Denise writes urban horror/ vampire books. She has a furry little pillow that she brings with her that says “I Love Vampires.” I noticed that her little pillow was reasonably successful in making people stop and talk. “Oh, I just love vampires,” folks often said, bouncing up and down.
I just loooooove vampires …
And the wheels in my fiendish little Chipotle-soaked brain began to turn.
I do not write about vampires. I write about loose sci-fi fantasy and romance, lots of people fighting and wearing odd clothes in space, or wearing nothing at all as the case may be. It occurred to me that I needed to capitalize on the popularity of vampires to help attract attention–not on vampires themselves, but the word: Vampire. If I could tack up some big, proud marketing with the word VAMPIRE blasted out in lurid print, then maybe, just maybe, I could snag some of those Vampire-lovers to my table. And, then, using all the charm at my disposal, I could seduce the buggers and send them away with a League of Elder book tucked under their arm before they knew what the heck was going on. It just had to work. I just needed to figure out how to do it without libeling myself in the process.
My favorite heroine of the Temple of the Exploding Head trilogy, Lady Sammidoran of Monama, came to my rescue. Sam, all chalk white and matte black, has a rather Night-Stalking look to her. Sure, she looks an awful lot like a vampire. Of course, Sam isn’t a vampire, she’s an alien and ….
Ah … mindwave.
I had this painting done up for me by Eve Ventrue, that Teutonic Titan from Germany, of Sam and her man, Lord Kabyl. It was perfect. All I needed was a slogan. So, Sam looks lie a vampire, but she’s not. She’s an alien. So, how about using a play on words: not vampire, alien. Yes, I liked that, and, I’d strumpet it out there in gigantic, all caps text: not VAMPIRE: no, no: ALIEN.
I had Eve paint me up a second Sam/Kay pic, this time donning Sam in a pair of steampunk goggles. And, it works. People stop all the time and look at it. Getting people to stop and talk is the key to success. I had shirts made of it as well, and I sold out of them at a recent show.
So, when in doubt and you need a marketing angle, use pop culture and twist its ear a little to suit your needs. Works every time.
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