Many of you may (or may not) know that I signed a three year deal to sponsor the local arena football team. It has been a unique experience to say the least. Recently, on the team's Wastebook page, when they show a zombified version of one of the players, there has been a surprisingly nasty backlash from fans of the team asking what the hell zombies have to do with football...the short answer is not a thing.
However, the longer version is that I am a local author who happens to be a fan of the Portland Thunder. I bought a pair of season tickets the first season and see myself continuing to renew them for the duration. When one of the front office personnel members--who happened to be a fan of my work--gave me a call and asked me if I would like to become a corporate sponsor of the team, I was thrilled...and scared to death. After all, I know enough about sponsorships to understand that they are not cheap. I am just an indie author with a moderately successful series that has a loyal following. I am not Stephen King, and I certainly don't have the "big bucks".
After a long meeting over coffee with the representative from the Portland Thunder, I agreed to become a sponsor for the next three seasons. As I said, I am a fan. I love football, and I thought that it would be fun to show my support for this young team where it counts...money. I pay what I consider to be a pretty hefty amount of my hard earned income to call myself a sponsor of Portland's arena football franchise. I am not a company or an office...just an author. I don't make a dime if people don't buy my books. I hoped to get some local exposure. Honestly, at my last book signing here in Portland...not one person showed up. That is like throwing a party and having nobody come.
Imagine my surprise the first time I saw comments basically ridiculing me and my product. I don't see anybody asking how tires or golf relate to football. I seem to be the only actual sponsor coming under fire for supporting the team. If people want to vent some righteous anger, why not start a campaign to get the local television news teams to start giving the team some coverage? They talk about everything BUT the Portland Thunder (with the exception of a possible score mention right before the smirk and oddly long silence just before the sign off of the KGW sportscaster).
If you simply hate zombies...hey, that's cool. It's not for everybody. And, no, zombies don't have anything to do with football. My book, DEAD: Snapshot--Portland, Oregon is simply the spin off from my 12 book zombie series that begins with DEAD: The Ugly Beginning. It uses the world I created in that series, but is simply the story of how Portland falls in the zombie apocalypse. I have future installments planned and one near release (taking place in Leeds, England). It seemed like the right book to promote in my first year as a sponsor.
Next year, I will be featuring a book from my That Ghoul Ava series (set in Portland also by the way). That will actually feature Ava dealing with an ogre who is out to hurt the local quarterback of an unnamed franchise (rights to names can be expensive, so...). But the bottom line is that I am just a sponsor. I really thought that the "Keep Portland Weird" vibe would make people want to check out my books. After all, the reason you pay to be a sponsor is that you hope fans of the team will support the sponsors by purchasing their goods and services.
Does that cover it? I hope so. And if you DO like zombies, I hope you will give my books a try.