Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Point of Purchase

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Okay, I admit it. I’m in a grumpy mood today.

Perhaps it is just from looking in the bathroom mirror too early in the morning or nearly stepping in that raccoon mess in the garden. Whatever the reason, grumpy is not a good state to be in, especially when I have a book to flog (okay, I just did).

Considering the current sorry state of Canadian publishing and the endless funding cuts to the arts, I should be out aggressively promoting and marketing my new tome. I need to be radiating good vibrations so that I can attract the legions of eager bibliophiles dying to purchase a first-time author. Instead, I sit here thinking about the legions of first-time authors competing for those same readers. However, what really makes me dyspeptic is acknowledging that everybody on this over-crowded planet is busy running around hawking, vending, selling, trading, tweeting, peddling or purveying something.

Selling is what life seems to be all about, even if we call it by other gentler names. To survive, we humans have mastered ingenious ways to sell just about anything: products, services, ideas, privacy, sex, even our own eggs and sperm. We sell our corporate brands to clients and our personal labels to family, friends and lovers. We sell to the faithful, the foolish and the gullible and even barter self-respect when we are desperate. We humans sell to anyone, anytime, anywhere. We’re genetically programmed to do it. It’s in our DNA. We’ve been doing it since caveman days, even if our selling tools were blunter back then. Today, if Faustus was around, he wouldn’t need the devil. He could sell his soul directly on eBay.

Back in the Sixties, we worried about subliminal advertising and loss of privacy. The unfettered computer would subjugate us, robbing us of our jobs and our identity. Now we conjure virtual identity on Facebook or share once-upon-a-time Kodak moments with millions of our closest friends. We update, modify and post intimate secrets, continually reinventing, in the hope of increasing our market share. Branding and tweaking and twittering away, we struggle to cut through the existential din, paddling against the electric online current, clinging to the hope that someone, somewhere, will buy what we are selling.

Well, I did warn you I was in a grumpy mood. Don’t worry, this too shall pass. Tomorrow I’ll have something more positive to sell—er—say. Incidentally, have you read my new book yet? My publisher says it’s terrific...

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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David Tucker

David Tucker is an award-winning television writer, producer and director. His short story collection, One Way Ticket, is published by BookLand Press.

Go to David Tucker’s Author Page