castellucci

conversation about rules and first shop dropping

In artists, mailings, Matthew Jensen, musings, process on March 26, 2011 at 11:11

I’m tucked away at an artist residency right now working on a new graphic novel, but one of the fantastic things about a place like this is that there are many other artists, writers, composers and filmmakers here.  And inevitably, over dinner, or over coffee in the morning, you get to talk about stuff.  I had the best morning coffee with the fantastic artist Matthew Jensen yesterday, where I was talking about the diaspora, because he did a piece for me while here, and I was forming my strategy for doing my first shop drop.

I was going to go into town later to mail my first cards out to the authors and to put my first postcards in their books at bookstores.  Also, I was sending a batch of ten postcards to a bookstore back home, hoping that they would slide the cards into the authors books for me.

“What if the book store doesn’t have the authors books.  Maybe I should tell them to put the cards into similar authors books, or my books, just so the cards are out there.”

“No,” Matthew said.  “You have to stick to your rules.  Because then when you get the cards back they really were from people who found the card in that author that you sent the cards to books.  It’s the engagement with them.  Stick to the rules. ”

And as hard as it might be to do that.  I think Matthew is totally right.  It will be so much more awesome to know that whatever cards come back from strangers are actually from people who found it in the book of the person that I sent it to.  So, I’m going to stick to the rules.

I went to town, mailed off my first cards and then went to the local indie bookstore and attempted my first shop drop.  Well, out of the ten authors in my first round , only three authors books were in the bookstore.   And I wonder if this is actually a reflection of the percentage of times you will find someones book in a store.  Like 3 out of 10 and each time different.

I wrote an email to two more people in bookstores to ask if I could recruit their help in shop dropping the cards, and in order to stick with the rules, I wrote them the names of the 10 authors and asked them to tell me which authors books they had and I will mail them only those postcards.  One wrote back already, she had 3 out of 10.  Interesting.  So, this is going to go slow.  But slowly, these cards from batch one will find their way around to bookstores in America.  And always, if you’re looking to try to find that needle in the haystack, here are some of my fave indie bookstores where there is a great chance a card will be shop dropped in.

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