Insert Chassis Albuquerque: You Gonna Make It...?

6 July 2017

You Gonna Make It...?

I'm sitting on a rain, sorry, that should read “I’m sitting on a train,” obviously a major plot difference. So, I’m sitting on a train heading for an interview with the BBC about up and coming writers, Indie writers in particular. They'd heard I was writing a 2nd book and were interested in how I was going to try sell it, even who was going to buy it.

Marketing an Indie book’s a pretty sophisticated deal, it's a struggle, and marketing’s fundamental for an Indie writer in gaining traction - traction is what sells books, the momentum of people buying and reading your work builds a platform for you that leads to credibility as a writer.
And that’s the one thing I got a real lot of, no credibility.
But luckily I was going to be on the BBC and figured I'd probably pick up a ton of sales from the interview once it aired. In fact I estimated maybe 1.5 - 2.5 million downloads?
Conservatively.
On the first day.
All legit and payed for.
Another important thing about marketing is a basic grasp of maths so I should probably explain those figures and how I’d arrived at them: Statistically lot of people must watch the BBC (this was a program called The Vibe & Other Stuff), they have good content and therefore a platform. Based on that info we could extract some facts - for instance at least more than 5 people would watch and it stood to reason at least 4 of those 5 viewers would download my work. Extrapolate further and you have in excess of a million downloads.
And that's how I came to be here on a train en route to the BBC headquarters and a literary success overnight almost 30 years in the making.
Yeah, how'd I get the interview? I just phoned them up.  I just phoned them up (because you can do that in a nation where there's accountability) and said, “Hey man, its Chassis Albuquerque here, you know, the Indie writer?”
"A chassis?" The person asked like I was the body of a car. “I’m afraid you have the wrong number, you may wish to try an auto-mechanic.”
They were very polite. I played along and then delivered my wing-dinger.  "I have the right number, this is the BBC, right?
"Just BBC will do, thank you," they said.
"Well, I'm an Indie author, you know what that is?"
"Actually yes, we're to do a short bio about the Indie publishing world, why don't you come in for a sit-down?
"A sit down, eh? I'll need to check my schedule, Indie writers are very busy you know. "
“Yes, as are we – Indie writers are not our only interest. Well, we'll leave you to have a little think until tomorrow,” they said.
“Just a little think?” I said, being coy, but they’d hung up.
I'd also taken the time to phone Amazon headquarters to let them know so they could get in on the action and start the "promotion" machine.
"We're all in it his together, let’s get this beast rolling and make us some money, baby!" I said (I had to leave a message) and left my number, just in case, but then I remembered they‘d all my contact details already – had I just made a professional blunder?
At the BBC headquarters (oh, and initially there was some confusion on my part, they were not the British Broadcasting Corporation after all, which is what I’d incorrectly assumed, this was Books By Category – a company selling fiction, literary fiction, Sci fi. Detective and so on.  I was under the "U" category, “U” for UNKNOWN;
“You didn’t know that?” the interviewer asked, surprised.
“I don’t know a lot of things – you know polar bears are left-handed?” I asked him.
“That’s untrue.”
“Prove it,” I said.
"What keeps you motivated, some delusional belief you're somebody?"
I didn’t say anything.
"You had much luck with any actual book sales?"
"Let me see, I sold one yesterday or the day before, I think..."
He seemed shocked.
"One book...?" He was incredulous and looked at the producer (who was also the cameraman and lighting and sound guy). "This is supposed to be a serious piece, man..."
"This is serious, but this piece in the overall piece is reference to Indie writers like this guy who are much lower in the rankings, people who aren't making it - you know, not so serious writers, failures?"
This seemed to placate the interviewer.
“Look, Albuquerque, I used to work for the actual BBC, not this nickel-and-dime Books By Category shit. My point is we all need to take a knock on the chin sometime, you know, sit a peg down. A book a day you think? Well, that  don’t make you a writer.”
I tried not be offended but I was. The interviewer looked at the camera  guy.
"You getting this...?" and he nodded enthusiastically, balancing his boom-mike. "You know I read your stuff? Real good, too, but you not going to make it, people aren't interested in who makes it, they want to see you fall from a place so high - you know why? They want to see one of their own fall to remind them why there’s no point trying to make it. Because no one makes it, Albuquerque, and if they do no one’s interested in them because they made it.”
I thought of something smart to say, something to knock him back a peg or two – the snide prick. I said, “When you airing this – which social media channel did you say it's on...? I’ll probably need to subscribe...”
They both laughed to themselves, feeling vindicated.  I said, “You wonder what keeps me motivated? People like you, interviewers who once worked for the BBC  – man, I don't have to make a million bucks, I just have to make it.”
Well, they laughed some more, even did a few retakes of both of them falling over each other with laughter.
On the way back, on the ride on the train, I checked my chart position – number 1.203 million, which beat number 1.204 million.