Selling One Another Hats

Plus, Todd goes to a party and Tony stays home for the Frostburg Indie Lit fest


This week we get a little derailed by talking about the "Best Of" promotions that drive us a little nuts. Plus, Todd goes to a party and Tony stays home for the Frostburg Indie Lit fest.

No matter how hard we try (and I think Todd made a better effort than I did this week) whenever the topic of “Best Of” issues of local magazines come up, there’s a little ranting that follows.

From my perspective, it’s mostly jealousy. I don’t have the courage to take people’s money to make them feel more important. As Todd points out, there’s a little more to in than that, but there are some clubs that don’t provide the return on investment that we think they do.

For example, while I’ve never paid to participate in a “Best Of” event, I did join the Nonfiction Author’s Association. I figured that, as an author of nonfiction it was a club I should be in.

They have benefits, such as reduced prices to submit your book for awards and discounts for attending different conferences and classes.

Almost immediately I discovered that, while nonfiction authors include everything from poetry to how-to manuals, the bulk of the membership were people who go on speaking tours. Self-Help, management, and how to change your life in 30 days aren’t not nonfiction, but I realized pretty quickly that the time and money it cost wasn’t fun or rewarding.

To put it in management speak, the ROI just isn’t there.

I didn’t even submit my book (on sale here!) to “win” an award, mostly because there wasn’t a true crime category (or a journalism category). When I pointed this out, they offered to add one, but I thought it would be more productive for sales to set my $200 on fire.

I mean, how proud could I be of an award that would have been the first in a category they created just to justify cashing my check?


Anyway, that’s what I wonder about companies who pay to appear in advertorial magazines and websites (although I have written for both). Beyond the advertising aspect (such as it is) there is also this clubby aspect, like being in the chamber of commerce. It’s a networking opportunity as much as a promotional one, but at what point is it just too much to justify?