“Um, hi,” I said and cleared my throat. I clasped my hands in my lap to steady them. “Thank you guys for coming.” I took a deep breath. “I’ve asked you all here today because – ”
“Hold up,” Floyd interjected. He was typing away on his laptop. “Every good meeting needs a soundtrack. Okay…okay,” He continued clicking. “And…BAM.” He hit a key definitively and looked up at me. “Now, we can start.” The room filled with House music.
“Okay,” I said slowly. “Thank you. Anyway…,” I started and looked over the group. I realized then how incredibly nervous I was.
It was August 9th, 2013. Our company was much smaller then and on a different floor so I’d gathered them into our only conference room – a cramped space with no windows which we called ‘The Cave’. There was a plate of cookies in the center of the table, a bribe I’d used to get them there. Everyone had grabbed one and set it in front of them on a napkin I’d supplied. They were quiet as they looked over at me expectantly.
The Fun Committee was there: Anna, Emily and Tara – who was still an intern at that time, as well as Archie, Lux and Floyd. I’d picked them because, although everyone in my company is incredibly smart, this group had the advantage of also being young. The median age was about 25. And, because of that, they were the ones who had their fingers on the pulse of everything new in Social Media, web trends, marketing. And this was why, I was asking for their help.
“So,” I started again. “I’ve asked you guys here because, um, I wrote a novel and it’s ready to be published. I mean,” I said quickly. “I’m just publishing it myself online, you know, Amazon and whatever, but I thought you guys might be able to give me some ideas how to market it? Like on Social Media and stuff?” I stopped myself and swallowed.
So far there was no reaction.
I bit my lip. None of them knew I’d ever done any writing. They just knew me as an assistant. I was nervous they’d laugh at me or say, “YOU? Wrote a book?? Come on, be serious.”
But no one said that. Instead, Tara said, as she took a bite of cookie. “Well, what’s it about?”
I took another deep breath. “Well, it’s called ‘Secrets of an Ex-Sorority Sister’ and it takes place in the U.C.L.A. Greek system in 1992 and it’s about a girl who’s in a Top House,” I could feel myself speaking more quickly as I always get excited when I talk about this book, I love it so very much. “She’s Social Chair of her house and she’s got it all, a Beverly Hills pedigree and a popular pre-med boyfriend and then – ” and then I told them the rest of the story.
There was a moment when no one said anything, and I felt my heart sink.
Oh no, they really did think I was an idiot.
Archie then started to type furiously on his laptop. “I’m going to pull together a list of websites that are aligned with the subject. We’ll see if we can’t get some sort of review or mention from them.”
“Our first step should be to come up with how we want to brand you,” Lux said, as she took sip of her large Starbucks.
“Brand me?” I asked.
“Yes, brand you as a writer, how we want to present you. We should set up a photoshoot.” She began typing on her laptop as well. “How’s next Tuesday at 2pm?”
“Are you on Instagram?” Anna asked.
I shook my head.
“Twitter?” asked Tara.
“No,” I replied. “I don’t really understand any of that.”
“Well, we can get you up to speed,” Anna said. “That’s how all things marketing are done these days.”
“Have you thought about having a launch party for the book?” Tara asked.
“Yes, my friend Thalia – ”
“That’s a great idea!” Emily interjected. “Once we get the Social Media set up we can start cross-promoting and building up potential readers that way.”
“I think we should create a website before that. Then we can link it to all the Social Media and then advertise the publication there,” Lux said.
“Maybe you guys should do the photoshoot first so we can know what sort of tone we want to project,” Emily said.
“Good point,” Lux said nodding. “Tracey, I’m sending you some articles right now on how to brand yourself. Look them over tonight.”
“I’m going to send you some websites on Facebook marketing,” Archie followed. “You should also get familiar with what brands do well on Social Media and why. I sent you the list of the Top Ten.”
I nodded mutely. This was so much more than I’d ever expected. Of course, I barely understood anything they were talking about.
They went back and forth on their views of my branded image, sent me helpful articles and argued over what my Twitter handle should be.
And then Floyd, not even looking up from his laptop said, “You know what you should do? You should start a blog.”