It’s an email I sent, to pretty much everyone I know, a week before Deadweather came out in May 2012. As spam goes, it was wildly successful: in the 24 hours after I hit “send,” the book skyrocketed from #137,288 on Amazon all way up to #224.
The fact that it’s never been close to that number again makes me wonder if I shouldn’t be spending less time writing books and more time writing spam.
From: Geoff Rodkey
Subject: please buy my book
Date: May 23, 2012 4:12:01 PM EDT
Dear Friend/Relative/Person Whose Email Address I Have:
I’ll be blunt: I wrote a book, called Deadweather and Sunrise, and I’m hoping you’ll buy it.
I’ve come up with a lot of reasons why you should do this, but if you’re pressed for time and have $7.99 (plus tax and shipping) just lying around, feel free to simply click one of these links, buy the book, and ignore the rest of this email:
Still on the fence? I don’t blame you. If someone whose writing credits included Daddy Day Care told me they’d written a book and wanted me to pay money for it, I’d be skeptical. Or amused. Or maybe even horrified.
But here’s the thing: did I ever send you an email saying, “please go see Daddy Day Care?” I did not. If you’ve watched any of the movies on which my name appears, it wasn’t because I asked you to. And if we’ve seen each other in person since then, I’ve probably already apologized for the loss of your time and/or money and/or respect.
This book is different. I am very proud of it, and I sincerely believe that if you read it–even if you’re not the target audience–you’ll enjoy it.
That last sentence may have led you to wonder what the target audience is. And I’m going to be completely honest with you: it’s ten-year-olds.
Bear with a me a minute. Deadweather and Sunrise is, admittedly, a kid’s book. But not in the pejorative sense. It’s not the kind of kid’s book that you read aloud to your kid before bed, and your kid’s totally into it, and laughing out loud, and having a fine time, and you just want to shoot yourself in the head. It’s better than that.
It’s kind of like The Princess Bride. Is The Princess Bride appropriate for ten-year-olds? Absolutely. Do adults love it, too? They do unless they have hearts of stone.
(If you didn’t like The Princess Bride, please buy my book anyway, and then give it as a gift to someone whose heart is not made of stone.)
Still not convinced? Want to know more about what you’re getting into? Click on the link for an advance review from a prominent children’s literature blogger named Monica Edinger.
Nice, right? See how she makes a point of mentioning that she thought she was going to hate it, only to find herself “immediately and completely hooked?” And how about the part where she favorably compares the prose to Dickens? My publisher swears nobody paid her to say that.
There’s more. Rick Riordan, who wrote The Lightning Thief (you might not have heard of him, but your kids have), read an early copy as well, and says very nice things about it here.
If you’re sick of clicking, here’s the choicest passage in Rick’s review:
“The best way I can describe it is Lemony Snicket meets Pirates of the Caribbean, with a sprinkling of Tom Sawyer for good measure. That’s not really an accurate description, because this debut novel isn’t exactly like anything else I’ve read, but it gives you an idea of what awaits.”
Still not convinced? I give up. Willing to take a flyer? Here are those links again:
Also, not to be crass, but if you are planning to buy it, please do so ASAP. It comes out May 29th, and apparently, the book market is small enough that if everyone I cc’d on this email either pre-orders a copy or buys it in the first week, it’ll claw its way onto the bestseller lists.
If that happens, I might actually be able to make a career out of writing books like this, and I will be enormously and sincerely grateful to all of you for your support.
If not, I might be forced to write more movies like Daddy Day Care. And let’s be honest: nobody wants that.
Thanks for your time! (And your $7.99. Plus tax and shipping.)
P.S. — If you want to forward this email to people you know who might like the book (or, God forbid, post a link to the official book site, www.chroniclesofegg.com, on your Facebook page along with a glowing recommendation) I would be ALL THE MORE GRATEFUL.