Who is that woman that thousands of you get to read about, day after day? Does she really exist? And is her name really Robin?
Yes, and yes.
Robin answers the phone at PublishAmerica. And she does negotiate those super deals for authors who call to stock up on their books on hand. She's real, she's the sweetest person you'll ever meet and, first things first, everyone at PublishAmerica adores her. Why? It's the candy bowl on her desk. She brings chocolate for the entire crew day in and day out. Her treat.
She's a mother of grown kids, her husband is a doctor. The other day I asked her, "Robin, what does he think about all that candy? Is that good for a person?" Her answer: a big laugh.
No one laughs like Robin.
It's contagious, it's irresistable. You can't help but laugh right back with her.
The real Robin all but invited the invention of the fictional Robin. She's the first salesperson we have ever had on our staff who actually goes to bat for an author. One day she kept pleading and pleading for some off-the-wall discount. She usually comes to me for that. "This author is really having a bad time, Willem. Husband in the hospital. Son died last year. She's out of a job too. They barely have any money. Please? Please?"
Thing is, I almost always say yes. But when I hesitate, she throws in one or more bags of candy. "I'll have two bags of coconut cream eggs for you tomorrow if you say yes." And sure enough, the next day..
It's a true story. She actually pays me out of her own pocket, with candy, to give an author a break. It's a bribe, but one that's so unusual that it begged to be exploited somehow.
Enter fictional Robin.
Fictional Robin does the same thing that real Robin does: candy, excessive discounts, being popular. But 180-degrees contrary to real Robin, fictional Robin is calculating, elbowing, obsessed, dangerous. Fictional Robin is over-the-top needy. She craves approval. She'll stop at nothing to reach her goal: to win the Miss Popularity contest.
Fictional Robin is a prop. An incentive for authors to call and talk to the real Robin, and buy books. Everybody wants to talk to a celebrity. Fictional Robin is turning real Robin into a superstar. It's fun to watch her pick up the phone and hear her explain yet again that, yes, she's really Robin and that, no, she doesn't write those emails. Not about herself, are you kidding?
There are others who also answer the phones at PublishAmerica. But often the caller doesn't want to talk to them. "Keep me on hold until Robin is available. I want to talk to Robin." When Robin is taking a lunch break, callers say they'll call back. They want to hear the real Robin voice. They want to be put on hold by Robin. While she negotiates internally for a better discount.
So we have made a lovely, bright-blonde, bright-lipsticked, bright-eyed, always cheerful, infectiously laughing co-worker famous. Accidentally. We thought it'd be cool to drop her name a few times, but nothing more. Now people are looking forward to reading the next installment of the Robin Report. And they're calling for book orders, in droves. She now is our most popular employee. And she does sell the most books, by far.
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I'm telling you this because I have good news for those who are not particularly fond of PublishAmerica's daily barrage of promotional emails. We're going to cut back sharply on them. It'll be a process, over the next few days and weeks. Our intention is to send you only one email per day with sales and promotion information (and the Robin Report, obviously), at most. Probably less than that. And that's it.
Instead, we're going to talk to you. On the phone. Not all of you, and not every day, of course. But now and then. It's part of our policy, started a year ago, to initiate a conversation between real people. That's why we host authors conventions, it's why I'm writing you letters on a regular basis, and it is why we introduced Robin and other staff to you. Calling you and discussing marketing and promotion with you, instead of raining emails on you, is part of that conversation.
If you never liked those PublishAmerica emails, I can't blame you.
If you enjoyed seeing them, because they came with helpful opportunities, I'm glad we could be of service.
Either way, I take full responsibility for the effect they had. Because I'm the one who has written 90 percent of all those promotional messages that we started in late 2007 when the economy began its downward trend. Over those five-plus years I have given you more than three thousand different sales, marketing, and promotion options to choose from, or to ignore, at your own discretion. Seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, regardless of where I was.
I have written those promo messages to you from Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Iceland, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Frankfurt, Munich and a hundred places in between, including 20 different states and twelve different countries. I have written them on planes, in airports, on trains, in restaurants, in cars, in bed, at breakfast, after dinner, at a hundred different desks, in hotels, at conferences and conventions, at all hours of the day, from eight different timezones, during vacations, and also during one honeymoon.
And now it's enough. We're going to use two-way traffic. Real people, real voices, a real conversation.
Expect to hear from Suzette. Or Samantha. Or Tina, Bryan, Zack, Jackie, Becky, Gail, Emily.
And stay tuned for more reports about Robin. She won't call you though. You'll have to call her.
That's how it goes with superstars.
I invite you to talk back to me. I don't guarantee a response, but I do guarantee that we listen. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org -
If you want to rent space in one of Willem's Letters-from-the-CEO, go to - www.publishamerica.net/service/CEOFace.html. Have your book portrayed for tens of thousands of people to see in Willem's letter AND on Facebook. You can read this letter also online here: www.publishamerica.net/ceo022513.html - Willem's CEO letter archive is here: - http://www.publishamerica.net/ceoarchives.html